Why Did Steve Carell Leave ‘The Office’ and Does He Regret It?

The Office has really high viewership on Netflix, in fact, its hordes of adoring fans watch the show for what has been recorded as some of the longest binge-watching sessions of almost any other show on the streaming service.

What started as an obscure British TV comedy has made its way to our televisions and into our hearts. The award-winning show has a long list of stellar talent. But, it was led by the comedic genius of Steve Carell. When he left after season 7 the show continued on for two more seasons, but his departure left a hole for both viewers and castmates. 

'The Office' series finale
Steve Carell returned to ‘The Office’ for the final episode | Chris Haston/NBC

‘The Office’ characters all had contracts

When The Office began, all the cast members had to sign contractual agreements regarding their commitment to the show. The ‘Mockumentary’ comedy follows the lives of office employees at the fictional, Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.

Steve Carell landed the position of Michael Scott, which helped to jumpstart his just-becoming-successful career. Carell completed his contracted 7 years and then left the show as he intended, while other stars signed on for the eighth year.

Speculation that he left to further promote his film career surrounded his departure. Although, he did go on to star in several blockbuster hits after leaving the sitcom.

Steve Carell’s departure was emotional

Saying goodbye to ‘The World’s Best Boss’ was a rough moment for viewers and actors alike. After seven seasons of playing Michael Scott, Steve Carell said goodbye to Dunder Mifflin and moved on with his acting career. His character said goodbye to his employees at Dunder Mifflin Scranton. He pretended that he would be in the next day. By lying about his actual departure date Michael Scott hoped to avoid any emotional goodbyes.

However, the last episode starring Carell was extremely emotional anyway. Actress, Jenna Fischer has noted that those tears in the 50-minute “goodbye” episode were real. It was an emotional moment for everyone involved and the end of an era. 

Carell’s movie career after ‘The Office’

Anchorman (2004) and 40-Year Old Virgin were the start of Steve’s rise to stardom in film. His successes in 40-Year Old Virgin are what led producers of The Office to try for a second season after the first one didn’t earn good ratings.

Although he had been in many things before 40-Year Old Virgin, this film really helped Steve Carell build a name in comedy. While he was working on The Office he slowly climbed the ranks of movie stardom. Films like the Despicable Me franchise, Dinner for Schmucks (2010), Crazy Stupid Love (2011), and Seeking a Friend for the end of the World (2012) helped him climb these ranks.

Steve Carell continued to focus on his acting career outside of his Michael Scott persona on The Office. He had several new movies released in 2018 including Beautiful Boy, Vice, and Welcome to Marwen

Does he regret leaving ‘The Office’?

Although Steve says he misses his Office castmates on Twitter in December 2018, the star has been very clear that his decision to leave the show has been a positive one. The cast is close-knit and familial making their friendship the biggest take away from the show. Although he’s joked about it being a mistake, the actor really thought it was time to move on from The Office before he “got too comfortable”.¬†

Sources say Carell was looking for new challenges for his creativity and explains, “I figured it was time to try something else. You never know what might be on the other side”.

The Office has become a household staple for Americans and although we would love to see a revival, Carell states he has no intention of trying to reprise the role of Michael Scott