When most people think of The Office, one of the first characters that comes to mind is Michael Scott. Steve Carell's portrayal of the Dunder Mifflin regional manager was just that epic. Years after the last episode aired, fans are still rewatching the series, and memes involving Michael's character are still some of the most prevalent.
But why did Michael Scott leave The Office anyway? Let's investigate the circumstances surrounding his widely lamented departure from the popular NBC series.
Here's the thing: Steve Carell wanted to continue playing Michael Scott.
Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't Steve Carell's choice to leave The Office; he actually would have preferred to stay on. So what happened?
A book released in March — titled The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s by Andy Greene — revealed Steve was basically forced off the series. Steve was talking with a BBC reporter in April 2010 when he commented that the upcoming year would probably be his last.
"He was kind of thinking out loud, but he did it in an interview in public and it created news," the show’s boom operator/sound mixer Brian Wittle said in the book. "Then what he said was the people connected to the show had no reaction to it. They didn’t call and say, 'What? You wanna leave?' He said he didn’t get any kind of response from them."
Kim Ferry, a hairstylist for The Office, backed up this account of Steve's exit from the show. Kim explained to Andy that Steve did not want to leave the show — and even told NBC he was open to signing another contract.
"He was willing to and his agent was willing to. But for some reason, they didn’t contact him," Kim said in the book. "I don’t know if it was a game of chicken or what ... He planned on staying on the show. He told his manager and his manager contacted them and said he’s willing to sign another contract for a couple years."
Kim continued, "So all of that was willing and ready and, on their side, honest. And the deadline came for when they were supposed to give him an offer and it passed and they didn’t make him an offer. So his agent was like, 'Well, I guess they don’t want to renew you for some reason.' Which was insane to me. And to him, I think."
So why did Michael Scott leave 'The Office'?
Michael left the show in an emotional Season 7 finale titled, "Goodbye Michael." The reason for his departure? He was moving with Holly to Colorado (after proposing) so she could help take care of her parents. Which makes total sense. But also: Noooooooooo!
Steve ended up reprising his role as Michael for the series finale of The Office so he could be the best man at Dwight and Angela's wedding. Although Michael didn't have many actual lines in the episode — aside from a brief, "That's what she said" — through Pam, viewers learned Michael had children. (Oh, and he apparently needed two phones in order to hold all the photos he took of them.)
Although nothing was ever quite the same after Michael Scott left The Office, the time that he did spend as the self-proclaimed "World's Best Boss" will never be forgotten.