Sasquatch shakes hands with "Community" star Joel McHale earlier… (Frazer Harrison/Getty…)
The new show runners of "Community" had barely taken their seats on the show's Comic-Con panel on Friday morning before trying to calm the nerves of the show's dedicated fan base.
"It’s all going to be OK," new co-show runner David Guarascio told the assembled crowd in Ballroom 20. "A couple of months ago we were a lot like you, fans of the show. Now we’re here helping to keep it going. We want to keep it the weird, wonderful gem that it is. And that’s not going to change."
The show's fourth season hasn't begun shooting yet, but it'll sure be looked at with more than a little skepticism since the show's creator and previous show runner, Dan Harmon, was abruptly fired earlier this summer. After a protracted campaign to get the beloved but low-rated "Community" to come back for a fourth season, Harmon made headlines over an ugly feud with series star Chevy Chase.
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Doing their best to ingratiate themselves to the show's fan base, Guarascio and partner Moses Port did everything they could to make things better, from praising the cast to pointing out that most of the writing staff was returning.
"What I’m trying to say is that we’re not going to screw it up,” Port finally conceded.
Joining Guarascio and Port on the panel were cast members Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, executive producer Russ Krasnoff, and writers Megan Ganz and Andy Bobrow.
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As for what people could expect for the 13 episodes of the show’s fourth season, the cast had just that morning learned their first tidbits about the new season. For one, McHale revealed that Jeff’s father would finally make an appearance.
As for the actor playing him? "Eddie Murphy," McHale deadpanned.
Speaking before the panel, McHale admitted that they didn’t know who would be playing Jeff’s father. “People have talked about Bill Murray because of the Winger connection... but there are so many names being tossed around. From John Cleese to John Larroquette.”
Guarascio also said the new season would take viewers into Pierce Hawthorne’s (Chevy Chase) mansion. "The waterbed he sleeps in is only the beginning of the disturbing images you will see," Guarascio teased.
They will also be going to an Inspector Spacetime convention (the Doctor Who-like character who is Abed’s favorite science fiction icon).
That last tidbit sparked huge fan cheers.
“We’re going to go twice after that reaction,” Ganz said.
Guarascio also alluded to another animated episode and some development on the relationship front between Jeff and Dean Pelton.
Though none of the cast has seen scripts from the fourth season (they don’t start again until August), they all got their first hints of the new season that morning, before the panel. And that's all the actors get, hints.
“It's less than a sentence," Jacobs said in an interview before the panel. "It's like: 'Imagine a world where Britta and Danny and a pet coexist.'"
Ganz revealed that though the writers didn’t hear from Dick Wolf after the “Law & Order”-style episode, they had his blessing to use the “Chung Chung” sound. They speculated about doing another "Law & Order" episode. "SVU?" Ganz said.
“That's what they want to see: sex crimes,” McHale said.
More than anything, the cast thanked the fans over and over again. But McHale also revealed a darker underside to that gratitude. “If we get canceled after 13 episodes, I blame you.”