Dan Harmon says nailing down what the film’s plot can be a decade after the present ended has been a mixture of nervousness, avoidance and a tough problem in handle the passage of time.
The author and showrunner appeared on the most recent episode of the Six Seasons and a Film podcast and mentioned the challenges round producing the long-awaited subsequent chapter. Through the hour-long dialog, Harmon shared how he and co-writer Andrew Visitor have been grappling with returning to the present’s characters in a brand new decade, the place audiences have grown together with their stances on comedy and topical points like (paintball) weapons in colleges.
“Andrew and I simply began asking ourselves what would this factor be?” he mentioned. “The years since stopping Group have been transformative for me. So it’s not as straightforward as simply placing my head proper again up my butt and having every part be precisely the place I left it. Not to mention wouldn’t it be as straightforward as that to please followers who’ve grown for 10 years for the reason that present went off the air.”
The conclusion, Harmon says, was that point was not their enemy. “The candy spot that we ended up going via philosophically was, ‘Aha! You realize what everyone likes to see is that point has modified, and so have the lives of the characters and the world that all of us share with them,” he mentioned. “The character has tailored — they reacted to a altering world the identical as all of us have — however they’re unmistakeably themselves.”
However earlier than they reached that time, they contended with answering what, and extra importantly what not, to do for the plot line — particularly when it got here to having the film’s story resemble episodes from the sequence that have been “style homages,” like “Epidemiology” and “A Fistful of Paintballs.”
“Do we actually assume that it might be a good suggestion for the Group film to be a paintball episode? I feel it’s one of many first issues to rule out as a result of it’s the very first thing off the highest of your head and that’s a problem with the Group film idea. We did lots of episodes the place, from web page one to web page 30, you’re joyfully locked in as a assemble that isn’t a conventional sitcom narrative however is, actually, fairly via the lens of David Fincher or [Martin] Scorsese or extra importantly, via the lens of one of many character’s perceptions,” he mentioned. “I obtained to sort of rule that out. Possibly a greater author wouldn’t.
The author and producer famous that there was even deliberation about whether or not the movie may try a narrative extra tied to the literal actuality of what occurred to the present — like Greendale Group School closing down for 10 years. However doing so, he mentioned, felt prefer it may make an excessive amount of of the film “unrecognizable” to Group‘s longtime followers.
“That’d be a simple, pure factor as a result of write what you already know. The campus is the present, the present’s been off the air. OK, however now, are you going to spend your film portray and fixing home windows and in deserted hallways with out college students going backward and forward?” he contemplated. “I feel that an enormous a part of returning to Group that the common lover of Group would need to really feel is that Greendale is a spot and that features daylight, class schedules, lockers, backpacks, background actors and school functioning as an establishment. So that you’re not going to do something terribly intelligent with the varsity.”
Regardless of taking issues off the desk, Harmon says their strategy Group‘s return was a cautious dance of not being reductive or repetitive, whereas nonetheless being acquainted.
“I feel it’s straightforward sufficient to say we got here round to the wholesome knowledge, which is now we have to be sure that this film — that it’s premise alone — doesn’t prohibit a fairly lengthy checklist of issues that you just may need to get out of a Group film,” Harmon added. “It’s lots simpler for me to rule stuff out than to let you know what we’re pursuing as a result of I would like folks to be a part of that dialog [and] possibly as a result of I’ve nervousness about folks considering that I’m not considering exhausting sufficient about one thing.”
He famous that a few of these anxieties have “seized me,” with the producer going right into a “tailspin” over whether or not he’s over or underthinking the plot, notably via the lens of answering, “What do folks need?” And Harmon acknowledges that he’s not the one one which’s been on the rollercoaster round making an attempt to get this film made “daily for the reason that present stopped just about.” He pointed to how “tomorrow” in Hollywood communicate isn’t a literal or constant unit of measurement, which has sophisticated the lengthy journey to the display screen for followers.
“That’s what makes the film the exhausting factor to speak about. It’s not a lot about betraying secrets and techniques or something like that. It’s that there’s a lot there that you would be able to’t management, definitely together with timescale,” he mentioned. “What I discovered over time was you might get slightly dopamine spike from sharing some excellent news with folks, however then if a yr and a half goes by, that seems like … you’ll be able to passively traumatize any person. You’re gonna challenge onto that like, ‘He doesn’t care,’ or ‘No one cares,” and ‘I used to be silly to care.’”