The series finale of The Office just wouldn't have been the same without one last appearance from Dunder Mifflin's former Scranton branch manager Michael Scott. However, in the months prior to the final episode, Steve Carell swore up and down that he wouldn't be returning to the popular NBC comedy, disappointing and enraging legions of loyal viewers who felt he owed much of his success to this breakout role.
Those who didn't believe Carell was telling the truth were rewarded with a "told ya so" moment when the bumbling former boss popped up as part of Jim's "best prank ever" and served as Dwight's best man. For many, Michael's unexpected cameo brought a tear to the eye and was arguably the most memorable moment in the episode.
Speaking exclusively to TVLine, Carell discussed the obfuscation perpetrated by himself and others associated with the show. "I lied," he finally admits. "I lied for months to the press, to almost everyone, really. And I felt terribly for the cast and for [executive producer] Greg Daniels, because they all lied, too."
Although he knew "several months" in advance that he would be reprising his role as Michael Scott one last time, Carell managed to keep the secret hidden "because we just figured it would be a fun surprise if people weren't expecting it."
During a conference call with reporters prior to the finale, Daniels explained that Carell was satisfied with the sendoff his character had received in the Season 7 episode "Goodbye, Michael" and would not be returning. According to Carell, this sentiment was partially true.
"I didn't want it to be a big thing. I did it out of respect for the show and for the actors," he says. "My only hope with it was I didn't want it to be about Michael coming back. I didn't want the story to be about him in any way. I wanted it to be more of a tip of the hat to the show."
There ain't no party like a Scranton party 'cause a Scranton party don't stop, and it's hard to imagine one without Michael Scott. Are you glad they tried their best to keep it a secret?