Dan Harmon’s “” was beloved for its non-stop pop culture references, film parodies and genre homages like its “Die Hard”-inspired paintball episode. However, the upcoming film, written by Harmon and Andrew Guest, had to scrap some of the show’s most popular concepts, such as action-packed paintball battles.
On Friday’s episode of “Six Seasons and a Podcast,” Harmon Peacock pulled back the curtain on what to expect in the “Community” movie.
“It’s a lot easier for me to cancel things than to say what we’re doing,” he told the hosts. “For example, we go, ‘Do we really think it would be a good idea to have a paintball episode?’ It’s one of the first things to dismiss because it’s the first thing over your head, and that’s a problem with the idea of a ‘community’ movie. We’ve done a lot of episodes where you’re happily stuck in a structure that’s not a traditional sitcom narrative, but a David Fincher or Through the lens of Martin Scorsese. There were a lot of special episodes that were homages to the genre. The paintball thing was one of them. We tried to do a bunch of other paintballs, and they were all completely wonderful things, but could anything ever capture the joy of an original paintball episode?”
Multiple episodes throughout six seasons of “Community” were devoted entirely to school-wide paintball battles across the Greendale Community College campus. Departing from the show’s usual formula, they parodied everything from “Die Hard” to “Star Wars” to “A Fistful of Dollars,” resulting in some of the most cherished episodes by fans.
Harmon added that school shootings would also make it difficult to bring back paintball fights, and he canceled the popular Dungeons and Dragons episodes that were highlights during “Community’s” lifetime.
“You’re running into a school with a gun, which wasn’t a good idea on TV back then,” he said. “How can we do this in a way that is acceptable? You sit down to write the movie and you’re like, ‘So, we’re going to fix this?’ Because it’s symbolic of what makes our show special and the wins we’ve had, the things we’ve contributed as a show. Or we’ll play Dungeons & Dragons for 90 minutes. I’d like to leave it out – perhaps a good writer wouldn’t.”
Also on the podcast, Harmon revealed that the movie “Community” will not return to Greendale, which has been closed since Season 6 ended in 2015. Nor will it be during a one-night reunion between the characters.
“You’re not going to do something terribly clever using the death or resurrection of the school as a device because you don’t want too much of your movie to be spent unrecognizable,” he said. “Having spent enough time in ‘Community’ it wouldn’t be outlandish to suggest that the world, and not these characters, has changed so significantly that there’s a lot to deal with. They haven’t been together for a long time, but it’s not because they’re off each other…there’s a reason they got together and there’s a reason they’re together.”
Listen to Harmon’s full interview on the “Six Seasons and a Podcast” here.