July 21, 2013 3:12pm PT by Philiana Ng
Comic-Con: Dan Harmon Wants 'Community' to Live Past Season 5
SAN DIEGO — Dan Harmon returned to Community with some superhero help.
Dressed in a homemade Iron Man suit, co-stars Jim Rash and Danny Pudi helped reveal Harmon under the suit to raucous cheers in the cult NBC comedy's first trip to cavernous Hall H. (Harmon graced The Hollywood Reporter magazine cover.)
After being ousted as showrunner of his own series ahead of season four, Harmon officially was tapped in June to return to lead the show for season five. For Harmon, returning to Community has its pressures -- and he's well aware of the anticipation.
"New levels of anxiety that will trickle into the content I'm sure," Harmon said of season five. "I feel a tremendous amount of pressure ... No one wants to not fail more than me, I think."
He added: "It's a weird story going away and coming back. I really have to make these 13 count. I don't consider this the last 13 ... but I consider them the most important in the story of the show."
As production on the new season begins in the coming weeks, Harmon revealed that the writers room will be operating a little differently this time around.
"It's only 13, and we're done shooting by Christmas. We're breaking all the stories first so we know what we're going in general for every episode already," he said. "We have a couple blank spots that say 'normal episode' but we don't have a full script yet for [the fifth season premiere]."
When asked about the show's many ups and downs, including numerous scheduling changes, Harmon said he welcomed it. "The harder it gets, the funnier the show gets," he said. "I get excited about it because then the stories of the show get to resonate with stories about the show. It makes a good place to start looking for [good stories] ... Bring it on! Bring on the nut kicks!"
Harmon said that an animated episode is in the works for the new season as well as a potential sequel to the Dungeons and Dragons installment, though things will unfold organically -- a lesson he learned from "over-planning" season three.
"I don't want to plan too hard," he said, saying that season five will be a la seasons one and two. "If I made mistakes in season three, it was over-planning." An example he gave was looking ahead to the finale weeks before.
The first few episodes of season five, Harmon said, will be "about these people."
Harmon also credited executive producer Chris McKenna -- who returned to season five as well -- with helping make Community the show it has become. "This is the dream version of the show for me, writer staff-wise," Harmon said.
Chatter of Community fulfilling its seasons-long Twitter hashtag, #sixseasonsandamovie, also surfaced, with Harmon voicing his desires to continue the story of the Greendale Community College gang past the fifth season. A video message featuring Joel McHale as Harmon's "father," Howard, took a jab at the enigmatic Nielsen boxes that get counted for the daily TV ratings.
Community also is heading into syndication, airing on Comedy Central beginning in September and being broadcast five nights a week on your local TV station. (To check, go to www.communityonTV.com.)
Panelists included Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ken Jeong, Rash, Pudi, McKenna and Harmon.