“I felt like Michael’s story had definitely ended,” the actor revealed on fellow “Office” star Brian Baumgartner’s Spotify podcast, “An Oral History of The Office,” this week.
The storyline for Carell’s character had wrapped in 2011 when Michael Scott moved to Colorado to be with his fiancée, Holly Flax. Though Carell’s departure caused some to debate if the show should end, it continued until 2013.
“I was reticent about coming back because you guys had two more, really valuable seasons and that was everyone else’s ending. Michael had already had his,” Carell added. “But at the same time, I felt like I should out of respect for all of you guys and out of my love for everybody, to acknowledge the ending of this thing.”
Creator and showrunner Greg Daniels was also able to come up with the perfect storyline to persuade Carell to come back.
“He really liked the idea of coming back for Dwight’s wedding,” Daniels told Baumgartner. “Like he thought the character learned something, so he didn’t need self-promotion. At this point, he didn’t need to come back to be on the documentary. He came back for his friend Dwight.”
Still, Daniels said that Carell was “really anxious that it not be all about him” when he returned and that he “didn’t want to do too much” in the finale.
The other cast members ― who were kept in the dark about Carell’s return until the day he filmed ― were clearly happy he came back.
“That morning, I was walking into the hair and makeup trailer and they said Steve’s here right now,” Angela Kinsey ― who played Angela Martin, Dwight Schrute’s bride-to-be ― told the podcast.
“I was like, you’re kidding me,” she added. “I mean, he was there a few hours and then he was gone. And listen, thank you, Steve Carell, ’cause you definitely gave my storyline a nice ending.”
Kinsey spoke with HuffPost last month and offered her thoughts on what some of the “Office” characters would be doing in 2020, if they were quarantining and working from home like many of us.
“It would be very different from house to house,” the actor said. “I think Angela Martin would be very efficient, and I think she would probably enjoy the extra time with her cats. She has so many.”
“I think Kevin [played by Baumgartner] would be a hot mess,” she added. “It would be like me trying to keep all three kids focused on school all day ― just getting Kevin to do any work from home would be very difficult.”
To listen to what Baumgartner’s actually been up to during the pandemic ― and for more on the “Office” finale ― check out the latest episode of his podcast below: