Did anyone ever really think that Community would survive long enough to make the vaunted "six seasons and a movie" fan meme a reality? Even some of the most hardcore Community fans that have been watching since day one would probably answer no to that question. For the last several years, Dan Harmon's little deconstructive comedy that could has been a popular choice when TV pundits make their predictions for which shows will get the axe at the end of the season.
Based on ratings alone, Community probably should have been canceled by now. The currently airing season 5 has been averaging a quite low 1.1 in the 18-49 demographic, and season 4 did little better, averaging a 1.2. Even season 3, the show's last full 22-episode season, averaged only a 1.5. Those are hardly numbers that demand a renewal, yet it keeps happening year after year. And if a recent report is to be believed, Community is about to be picked up yet again, and then some.
According to TV Guide, NBC Universal is not only leaning toward granting Community a 13-episode sixth and final season, but producers are also actively considering directors to helm the long demanded follow-up movie. On the top of the list is Justin Lin, director of Fast and the Furious parts 3, 4, 5, and 6, as well as the upcoming sequel to The Bourne Legacy. Lin has previous experience in the halls of Greendale, having helmed three season 1 episodes of Community, including the fan-favorite original paintball episode Modern Warfare.
Of course, if Lin doesn't work out, Community also has close ties to other feature directors like the duo of Joe & Anthony Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and Broken Lizard founder Jay Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers, Club Dread). While no formal talks are said to have taken place with anyone yet, Lin is definitely the preferred pick of studio executives, which isn't surprising when you consider the gargantuan amount of money Lin's Fast and the Furious films have made.
One of the most intriguing aspects of a possible Community movie is just how varied the show itself tends to be. Harmon (along with the rest of the Community writing staff) has never held back from lovingly lampooning every possible area of pop culture, all the way from Die Hard-style action flicks to musical shows like Glee to police procedurals to even zombie outbreak movies. Community's writers could go absolutely anywhere they wanted to with a movie - creatively-speaking - and still probably please the show's extremely loyal fanbase.
Whichever genre(s) Community's screenplay ends up residing in, the movie really does need to take place at Greendale. It might be tempting for Harmon and co. to take a (presumably larger than normal) film budget and go crazy, sending the cast off to Europe or Disney World or something, but Community began at Greendale, and it needs to end there, too. Now would not be the time to fix what isn't broken.
Another thing a Community film needs is participation from the entire cast, and preferably as many of the series' notable guest stars as the budget will allow. Troy needs to reunite with Abed. John Oliver's Professor Duncan needs to be involved. Pierce needs to have secretly videotaped a final message to the study group, or have faked his death, whatever gets him in the mix. Jonathan Banks' wonderful criminology professor needs to return. Star Burns,
Fat Fabulous Neil, and Magnitude (POP POP) all need to be present and accounted for.
A modestly rated-show like Community getting a movie is a thing to be celebrated by fans of cult comedies everywhere. Let's all hope it lives up to the hype.
Community season 5 airs Thursdays @8pm on NBC. Neither a sixth season nor a movie has officially been confirmed.