As many of you already know, Steve Carell will not return as Michael Scott in The Office after this season. His original contract was set for seven seasons, which he will honor before gracefully leaving the throne of Dunder-Mifflin's Scranton branch. But who will fill the void, if anybody at all?
Most fans of the show are calling for its end once Steve Carell signs off. While his unique character has shaped the show into a truly hilarious study of moronic behavior, he just doesn't make or break the show. There are so many other brilliantly constructed characters on The Office that calling him the most important element is almost disrespectful.
The Office would be nothing without Dwight, Jim, Pam and everybody else. But the regional manager is the glue that holds those supporting characters together. The right replacement can maintain what the show has worked so hard to establish in six seasons.
We've come up with a handful of potential replacements that can keep the show running smoothly, while also bringing a new brand of humor to the most beloved management position in television.
No replacement - end the show:
Let's get the obvious out of the way first. To most of the world, Dunder-Mifflin is Michael Scott. Without Michael Scott, there is no Dunder-Mifflin and you just have another paper company. His idiocy knows no bounds and keeps the show unpredictable.
Nobody would raise a pitchfork in the air if the show ended after the upcoming seventh season. It would be a great disappointment for many, but the writers can take advantage of an opportunity. By incorporating the end into the season's recurring plot, the show can end in a heartwarming and manageable fashion.
The unrecognized star of HBO's Flight of the Conchords is the perfect choice if a replacement must be hired from outside the show. No episode of Conchords is complete without the appearance of the band manager who just can't seem to do anything right.
Darby's Murray Hewitt is a character all but inspired by Michael Scott. His blend of relaxed stupidity and minimal intelligence would be a seamless transition for the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin. The Australian accent has to stay, as does the blazing red hair.
Darby's only downfall is that he would be too similar to Michael Scott. Just like in movie remakes and reboots, a character too similar to the original feels like a copy, and it almost never keeps up. But if that brand of humor is the reason people watch The Office, Darby is undoubtedly the best person for the job.
Gervais is the natural replacement for Steve Carell. As the creator and star of the original British version of The Office, Gervais' appearance would be an easy fit with its own story arc. If NBC has the stones, they could even bring the British co-stars into the fray. While Gervais' manager was a bit more heartless than Scott, it would keep the show going and carry over a fan base still stuck on the British version.
Gervais has been an executive producer and writer for the U.S. version, so his involvement makes this an internal hire for NBC. It is already understood his British character will make an appearance on the show this season. Could this be a preemptive strike to the upcoming loss of Carell?
One of Lost's most respected actors would bring a level of creepiness to the head position at Dunder-Mifflin. Emerson, who portrayed Ben Linus on Lost, has already experienced the leadership role on television. Just imagine those frightening eyes bearing down on Pam Beesley Halpert as she counts her jelly beans.
Emerson's soft voice and small stature would add that little bit of innocence to a character who could scare the Kitten Mittons off any cat. The humor wouldn't come from awkward situations or misunderstood sayings - a la Michael Scott - but rather the hilarity of fear that comes with the actor.
Hire from within:
John Krasinski or Rainn Wilson would be great fit if NBC decides to hire from within the show. Some have called for Pam to take the reigns, but frankly, that would be a boring show - she has long been the "straight man" of the show.
Krasinski has been groomed for the role for some time now, but I'm not sure he can hold down an entire season on his own. Rainn Wilson has the attitude and the persistence to bring Dwight Schrute to the top of the food chain in the paper industry. The character's ambition is fitting for such a rise and he would relish in the limelight. But the season would still rely on supporting characters and guest stars to egg on Schrute's madness.
I'm not sure NBC is ready to dive back into Conan O'Brien's pool just yet, but Richter deserves an opportunity to shine. Whether he still cares about an opportunity as a leading man or not, this role screams his name. The brand of humor that Richter brings would be a great blend of sarcasm and mindlessness.
Few people have anything against Richter, but there's just no way NBC goes this direction. He would most likely keep his game close to Conan O'Brien as the latter heads to TBS for his new late-night special. Loyalty goes a long way with Richter, but then again, that is Michael Scott's strong suit - or so he claims.
Who else would you like to see in the Regional Manager position at Dunder-Mifflin's Scranton branch? The Office needs a strong personality if it hopes to continue for multiple seasons without Steve Carell's Michael Scott.