Banks will appear in 11 episodes as Pat Nichols, “an intense criminology professor with a mysterious background in military and police work” according to EW.com.
Season 5 will be one of significant change for Community. Last month, series regular Donald Glover announced he wouldn’t be returning full-time to the cult favorite, while costar Chevy Chase exited toward the end of last season. What’s more, creator Dan Harmon will be back in the mix after parting ways for the duration of Season 4.
Community Season 5 Scoop: Dan Harmon Talks Donald Glover’s ‘Devastating’ Exit, the Return of Jeff, New Characters and… an Animated Episode!
NBC has gone and done the unexpected and renewed cult fave Community for a fifth season. The beloved comedy was barely hanging onto the bubble as the Upfronts approached, but its chances continued to improve throughout this week as NBC slowly axed nearly all of its other comedies.
The decision comes the day after Community‘s Season 4 finale jumped up in ratings, all the way to a 1.3 rating. Yeah, that’s not good by any means, but it’s a positive sign that NBC was hoping for from one of its veteran comedies. Community joins Parks and Recreation on NBC’s extremely short list of returning comedies.
Community executive producers David Guarascio, Moses Port, Russ Krasnoff and Tristram Shapeero joined several cast members of the NBC comedy at PaleyFest on Tuesday to make an announcement: A puppet episode is coming later this season!
The story finds the study group taking a wild balloon ride that crash lands in the woods and forces them to spend a little time with a friendly mountain man (played by Seinfeld‘s Jason Alexander). The gang gets immortalized as puppets when Dean Pelton encourages them to talk about their adventures.
Also on tap for this season: More paintball fun, a Freaky Friday tribute and, in this Thursday’s ep, the introduction of James Brolin as Jeff’s dad and Adam DeVine (Pitch Perfect) as his brother.
“It is quite intense between Jeff and his dad,” previewed Joel McHale. “Thank God for Gillian [Jacobs] and Adam, who knock it out of the park. It gets pretty heavy.”
As for whether the identity of Jeff’s dad makes him half-brothers with Castle‘s titular writer, whose dad is also played by Brolin, McHale joked, “Let’s just say, if there is a Season 5, we end up on Serenity.”
Other topics touched on during the PaleyFest Q&A:
SWITCHING PLACES | The Oscar-winning writer who brings Dean Pelton to life, Jim Rash, penned “an episode with Troy and Abed that I think is one of the best we’ve ever done,” raved McHale. Added Rash: “It was an awesome and stressful process. … It’s sort of a Freaky Friday homage with a little body switching, and it’s very important” to the boys’ friendship.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN | An upcoming origins episode will reveal how the superhero-like study group “really came to be,” teased Guarascio.
UNLIKELY LOVE | What does the future hold for the odd pairing of Britta and Troy? The romance is “not doomed,” said Guarascio. “A lot of the year is the resurrection of Britta. … Who knows, maybe that will lead to something we’re not quite expecting.”
CRAZY SHIRLEY | “We’re going to see her house in the Thanksgiving episode,” previewed Yvette Nicole Brown. “Shirley likes really weird wallpaper.” Viewers will also “find out why Shirley’s the way she is,” and it has something to do with her in-laws. The actress also offered up this cryptic tease: “There’s something bigger coming than Malcolm-Jamal Warner playing my husband.”
GRADUATION DAY LOOMS | Will the Greendale gang be leaving school behind at the end of this year? Unlikely. “Everyone’s on their own pace as is often the case in community college,” said Guarascio. “So stay tuned.”
MORE COMMUNITY TALES? | Will the beloved, but ratings-challenged comedy be back for a fifth season? “It’s one of things where no one ever lets you know those things in advance,” replied McHale. “Believe me, I hope so.” As for stepping in as showrunners this season following creator Dan Harmon’s exit, Guarascio admitted that it was “hard” for him and Port. But “the cast is just so fantastic and the heart and soul of the show becomes the people who are performing it,” he continued. “We really need to listen to them because they’ve been doing the show the past three years and they know it inside and out.”