‘The Office’: The Original Series Finale Ending Was Very Different

The Office had the perfect series ending, but it was almost entirely different. Thankfully, they scrapped their original plan and landed on a more touching way to wrap up the hit series.

'The Office' cast poses while filming the series finale
‘The Office’ cast | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

‘The Office’ series finale almost involved a plant

During the Oct. 26 episode of The Office Deep Dive With Brian Baumgartner, director Ken Kwapis revealed the original ending shot for The Office’s final episode. It’s safe to say that it was a good move to scrap it.

Baumgartner and Kwapis discussed Pam’s final talking head of the series, where she says that “there’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things — isn’t that kind of the point?” Kwapis recalled how there was almost an entirely different ending.

“I actually do remember a different ending to the finale,” Kwapis said. “As I recall, the original ending was the night of the story, that all the characters decide they need to take the plant, ‘Planty,’ that’s been in the bullpen for nine seasons … that sad looking plant.”

He continued, “Somebody makes a suggestion that Planty needs to be liberated, Planty needs to escape. And so everyone marches out of the office, with two or three of the characters carrying Planty and everyone’s chanting ‘Planty! Planty!.’ The entire ensemble then goes outside of the building in the parking lot in front of Dunder Mifflin’s building, and they plant Planty.”

The final shot of ‘The Office’ would have included ‘Planty’

Kwapis noted that after everyone moves “Planty” from the office, the final shot would focus on that. “The original ending, as Greg [Daniels, the show’s creator] and I discussed, was that everyone kind of wanders away, everyone’s been drinking, and everyone’s feeling a little sad … but festive. And we hold on this empty parking lot with a plant newly planted — the one that was in Dunder Mifflin is now outside.”

“As I recall, Greg’s original plan was that there would be a dissolve through to the next morning, and you’d just see the empty parking lot at dawn with this plant in its new home,” he added.

The ‘Planty’ ending created a ‘hiccup’

During the Sept. 14 episode of The Office Deep Dive podcast, host Baumgartner spoke with one of the show’s editors, Claire Scanlon. She gave some insight into the proposed idea behind “Planty” in The Office finale.

“I remember on the finale, there was this whole tangent about planting a tree. Andy sees a tree in the office and says, ‘That tree — Planty — has been in here all its life. We’ve got to set Planty free,'” Scanlon recalled. “And you guys go out to the parking lot, you plant Planty, and then you go all the way back up to the office. And then the ending and you hug, and then you go to the parking lot, and you go to your respective cars, and that’s truly the end of leaving Dunder Mifflin.”

Scanlon shared how she “pitched to cut Planty,” explaining. “I did it, and it was better. Not because that whole storyline wasn’t interesting, but it was almost just the physicality of being in the office, having Creed play the song, and then taking Planty down to the parking lot. It was like a hiccup to something wonderful. You didn’t need that hiccup. It was just an unnecessary extra beat.”

She added, “As sweet and poignant as it was, there were already like 10 sweet and poignant moments that were happening with Creed’s song — too much poignancy diluted what was there.”

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