Community movie cast news and everything we know so far

(L to R): Danny Pudi as Abed, Yvette Nicole Brown as Shirley, Donald Glover as Troy Barnes, Alison Brie as Annie Edison, Joel McHale as Jeff Winger and Gillian Jacobs as Britta Perry in a scene from Community
(Image credit: NBC.com)

The Community movie is actually happening, folks, so grab your bandolier of paintball ammo, shout "pop, pop!" and (at some point) turn on Peacock. That's because the beloved NBC (later on Yahoo!Screen) sitcom Community is coming back. And, not to get your hopes up, but Dan Harmon just gave us a reason to be very excited about the movie's cast (see below).

And, thankfully, the Community movie is bringing more than a fistful of familiar faces. That said, some original cast names are glaring by their omission. And, well, then there's Pierce. We don't expect Community to raise the dead (or fix the ties with Chevy Chase).

But, yes, Community, creator Dan Harmon's biggest success story before we met Rick and Morty, is finally getting the film that many have clamored for for years. It's no shock, as we're in the age of streaming, where all of the best streaming services keep needing new content.

So, let's break down everything we know about the Community movie, and what we hope it offers.

Community movie cast and actors: Which Greendale alum are coming back?

Clockwise: Donald Glover as Troy Barnes, Chevy Chase as Pierce Hawthorne, Alison Brie as Annie Edison, Joel McHale as Jeff Winger, Gillian Jacobs as Britta Perry, Yvette Nicole Brown as Shirley, Danny Pudi as Abed and Ken Jeong as Ben Chang in a press photo for Community that's in the study room.

(Image credit: NBC.com)

Variety (opens in new tab), which broke the news of the Community movie, answered some wishes (and created some new ones) for the movie. It said the following cast members are returning for the movie:

  • Joel McHale as Jeff Winger, the disbarred lawyer who matriculated at Greendale to get a degree and wound up getting friends too
  • Danny Pudi as Abed Nadir, aspiring film-maker
  • Alison Brie as Annie Edison, the dedicated student trying to shed her high school nickname of "Little Annie Adderall"
  • Gillian Jacobs as Britta Perry, who's always ready to protest, even if she just found out about the cause
  • Jim Rash as Dean Craig Pelton, who had more costume changes than Britney Spears at the VMAs
  • Ken Jeong as Ben Chang, who tried to make 'Changesia' happen

On social media, Joel McHale (opens in new tab) and other stars celebrated the announcement, and he tagged unannounced cast members Donald Glover and Yvette Nicole Brown, whose returns are not confirmed or even hinted at. Cameos, at this stage, seem more likely. Glover, who barely uses his Twitter account, did not respond. 

Speaking to Variety (opens in new tab), Dan Harmon gave reason to hope for Troy and Abed in a mooovie, saying "I think that Donald is coming, based on word of mouth, but it’s just the deal isn’t official or wasn’t official. It would be difficult to really commit to doing this thing without Donald... So I believe he is coming back. I think if there’s names missing from a list, it’s because the names that are on the list, their deals are agreed upon enough that it’s OK to say they are on the list, and anybody that’s not on a list, it’s just not the case yet. So there is nothing official about anybody being out."

Brown (opens in new tab), on the other hand, quote-tweeted Joel McHale post, writing "It’s happening! Congrats, #Community fans! You guys did this! ❤️ #SixSeasonAndAMovie"

Joel McHale seemingly accidentally cast Gillian Anderson in the film, with a tweet where he tagged the X-Files star instead of Gillian Jacobs. Anderson (opens in new tab) tweeted "Gillian Jacobs who? I’m in @joelmchale 😉," so now we need her as one of Britta's relatives.

Chevy Chase will probably not come back as Pierce Hawthorne, as the character is dead and Chase's very public ousting from the series is still fresh in all of our heads. 

But speaking of Pierce we have two other dream casting wishes. First of all, we need Giancarlo Esposito back as Gilbert Lawson, Pierce's half-brother. Our second ask? It would be fantastic if Esposito and fellow Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul alum Jonathan Banks reunited in the Community movie. We'll explain why in the section below.

Community movie crew: Who else is returning

Dan Harmon, of course, is also coming back. The show's creator will serve as executive producer and writer, with writing support from Andrew Guest (30 Rock, Community). Executive producers include McHale, and returning Community EP's Russ Krasnoff and Gary Foster. 

Community movie release window

Alison Brie as Annie Edison, pointing a pen, while Yvette Nicole Brown as Shirley is concerned in Community

(Image credit: Neil Jacobs/NBC)

Unfortunately, this is where things get even weirder. While we want to tell you a Community movie could hit Peacock next year, or in 2024 or 2025, there is no evidence to that. All there is, in fact, is one quote from Dan Harmon, from August, before the movie was confirmed.

"I will now say, [about the Community movie], it's a matter of when." Harmon told Newsweek (opens in new tab), "It may be between one and eight years from now, which is how the industry works, especially when you factor in pandemics and whatnot."

But since Community ended in 2015, seven years ago, what's another eight years?

Community movie: What does "six seasons and a movie" refer to?

Back in season 2 episode 21, "Paradigms of Human Memory," a clip show made up of new clips, Abed kept telling Jeff he believed in the success of NBC series The Cape. And that it would get "six seasons and a movie." Jeff didn't believe him.

And ever since then, "six seasons and a movie" became the rallying cry of Human Beings (Greendale's mascot) everywhere. Not only because Community slowly lurched its way to that sixth season on Yahoo!Screen, but because the film was still on everyone's wish list.

Community movie plot: What we want to see

Dean Pelton summoning the study group back to Greendale — either for a 10 year reunion or something else — makes the most sense. That's why we don't think Harmon and Co. will do something that straightforward. Instead, we have a far-fetched idea that's very meta. Which gives us hope that Harmon may be thinking of something similar.

If the Community movie could bring back Giancarlo Esposito and Jonathan Banks, we'd love for Banks to not play criminology professor Buzz Hickey (aka Pat Nichols). Instead, imagine if Banks was re-cast as another secret long-lost relative of Pierce's. The gang could even call him 'Good Pierce.'

You'd do all of this because Greendale Community College needs funding to survive, and the gang decided that Hawthorne Wipes could provide that funding. Community loved to mock symbiotic relationships and so on, but we imagine that Hawthorne Wipes may not be the treasure trove it once was, as 'Good Pierce' would probably give all the workers raises to a livable wage, decent benefits and time off.

Then, it's up to everyone to find a way to make this corporate-educational synergy profitable. 

Henry T. Casey
Senior Editor

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.