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‘Community’ Movie to Begin Filming This Year: Everything We Know

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Six seasons and a movie — it’s finally coming true!

Five months after ET last received an update from Joel McHale about the highly-anticipated Community film, the Animal Control star, 52, spilled the details on whether or not the cast members will be returning to the fictional Greendale Community College later this year as previously reported. 

“It is hopeful, yes,” McHale told ET on Monday from the FOX upfronts in New York City. “We have the money so that’s more than half the battle. Now, it’s just we’re getting schedules together and there is a full-on script and so it’s all — we are at the — we’re at the finish line.”

As for what he could tease from the film, the actor shared that fans are in a showstopping movie that goes all out and packs a punch in what is expected to be a final sendoff for the Spanish study group. 

“Lot of pyrotechnics, bigger explosions than the last episode,” he joked. “There’s a 50 minute assault on the beach, yeah, it’s crazy.”

Both McHale and Donald Glover have previously opened up to ET about the film, sharing that they’ve read the script and are excited to get to work.

Fans of the comedy, which gained a devoted following during its six-season run — five on NBC, one on Yahoo! Screen — have been clamoring for a wrap-up movie for years, especially given the show’s meta “six seasons and a movie!” catchphrase.

Here’s a look at where things left off for our favorite study group — and what we know so far about the upcoming movie.

THE CAST

Joel McHale as Jeff Winger

A disgraced lawyer who is forced to return to community college to get the degree he lied about, Jeff is the centerpiece of the study group — in fact, he’s the one who forms it, albeit with ulterior motives to seduce Britta.

However, throughout the series, Jeff is seen evolving emotionally, becoming attached to his new friends, despite his best efforts. He goes from shamelessly hitting on Britta to wanting a domestic life with Annie — and while neither romance ultimately pans out (at least, not yet), it’s indicative of the man Jeff has become.


Gillian Jacobs as Britta Perry

Frequently ridiculed as “the worst,” Britta is an outspoken, passionate activist with very little follow-through — oh, and she once lived in New York.

But while she might be the butt of many jokes — and will never pronounce “bagel” correctly — Britta has proven time and time again to be a caring friend to the members of the study group.


Danny Pudi as Abed Nadir

Perhaps the mastermind behind the madness, Abed is obsessed with pop culture and his hyper-fixations tend to end up impacting the group in one way or another — whether that means turning them into claymation characters or staging a pillow fight that becomes the subject of a Ken Burns-style documentary.


 Alison Brie as Annie Edison

A perfectionist and former straight-A student, Annie ends up at Greendale because she became addicted to Adderall in her desperate attempts to be a successful student. While now sober, her studious, type-A personality is a regular source of conflict with the study group, particularly with Jeff — though that tension ultimately leads somewhere else.


 Donald Glover as Troy Barnes 

A former high school football star and popular jock, Troy threw away scholarships, future success — and pressure — when he deliberately injured himself at a keg party after graduation, which is how he finds himself at Greendale.

Originally still attached to his cool guy persona, Troy gets goofier throughout the series, and his best friendship with Abed leads to some wild adventures. Glover departed the show in season 5, which showed Troy inheriting Pierce’s boat, with plans to sail around the world with LeVar Burton.


Yvette Nicole Brown as Shirley Bennett

A divorced mother of two, Shirley is often the group’s emotional support — and sometimes its only source of kindness and (Christian) morality. However, she’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Shirley shows her sharper side when it’s called for — like in a foosball game or a Christmas brawl.


Jim Rash as Craig Pelton 

Dean’s baaaack! We can only hope that the Community movie will feature more of Dean Pelton’s iconic entrances — no doubt there will be plenty more of his lust for Jeff.


Ken Jeong as Ben Chang

The absolutely unhinged character that is Ben Chang is hard to describe. He claims to have “Changnesia,” impersonates the dean and lives in the air ducts at the college. After taking off to find fame in Los Angeles, Chang returns to the study group at the end of season 6, claiming that’s where he belongs… We’ll see.


Chevy Chase as Pierce Hawthorne 

The only member of the original cast who will not be returning for the Community movie, Chase’s character — a bawdy and rude millionaire — was killed off in season 4 after reported conflicts with Glover and others on set.

A 2018 profile in The New Yorker reported that, on the Community set, Chase “often tried to disrupt (Glover’s) scenes and made racial cracks between takes.”

“Chevy was the first to realize how immensely gifted Donald was, and the way he expressed his jealousy was to try to throw Donald off,” creator Dan Harmon said in the exposé. “I remember apologizing to Donald after a particularly rough night of Chevy’s non-P.C. verbiage, and Donald said, ‘I don’t even worry about it.'”

In response to the remarks, Chase told the magazine at the time, “I am saddened to hear that Donald perceived me in that light.” 


WHERE WE LEFT OFF

True to the show’s meta tendencies, the season 6 finale, titled “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television,” wrapped things up by having all the characters pitch their ideas for a possible seventh season. As some of his counterparts start to plan for bigger and better changes in their lives, Jeff panics as he imagines being left behind in Greendale.

Ultimately, only two more of the group members depart — Annie to Washington, D.C., for a summer internship with the FBI, and Abed to Los Angeles to become a production assistant. And it’s Abed’s path that gives fans the biggest hint about where the upcoming movie might be headed.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Glover hinted that the film will center on a college reunion, as well as Abed’s Hollywood career. Apparently, in the years since college, Abed has become “this big director,” and the Peacock film will be “his magnum opus.”

PRODUCTION DETAILS

McHale confirmed to ET at the 2023 Emmys that he had officially seen the script for the Community movie — after Glover hinted that it was “done” in a previous ET interview.

“It’s happening, we got the money!” McHale told ET. “That was 90 percent of it.”

In an interview with Deadline, the actor reiterated that production was ready to go, it’s just been a matter of assembling the in-demand ensemble cast. 

“But I really do think it’s happening this year,” he shared. “It’s basically working around Donald’s schedule.”

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