B.J. Novak is joining The Office‘s latest graduating class of cast members, along with Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor), James Spader (Robert California) and Paul Lieberstein (Toby Flenderson, also showrunner). In addition to playing Ryan Howard, Novak has served as a writer and director on the show so there is a possibility he could pick either of those roles up again. Although Novak no longer has a deal with Universal TV for the next season, he’s expected to make peppered returns, unlike his former co-star Steve Carell. Novak served as executive producer on Kaling’s new Fox comedy, The Mindy Kaling Project, set to premiere this fall, which she created and stars in. However, Novak does not hold a permanent position on that show either.
Along with departing cast members, Ed Helms and John Krasinski are juggling busy movie schedules during the filming of the upcoming season, and so are expected to appear in fewer episodes. Liberstein’s departure as showrunner to develop a spinoff based around Rainn Wilson’s character, Dwight Schrute, marks the full-time return of Greg Daniels who originally adapted the U.S. version of The Office from Ricky Gervais’ original. NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told reporters last month that season nine has some “explosive story twists” in store, which may be very well necessary since many of the show’s heavy hitters will not be as present.