"It's fairly likely that next year will be the last. The natural rhythm of the show and the big creative jump we take at the end of this season certainly suggests that we're moving in that direction."
NBC renewed the series back in February, but it this is the first we're hearing about the final season. The showrunner revealed that he recently had a meeting with NBC executives, where he was "given really every assurance that we would have another season," which lead to some of the massive changes in the Season 6 finale.
Last night's episode offered a number of surprising moments, with Leslie (Amy Poehler) taking the National Parks Service job as her and Ben (Adam Scott) prepare to leave Pawnee, Indiana, while they're expecting triplets. The big surprise, though, was the flash forward to three years in the future, where Leslie is running her National Parks Service division, as she prepares to deal with a crisis of sorts that leads her to firing an incompetent employee, played by Mad Men star Jon Hamm in a surprise cameo.
When asked if this final season will remain in the year 2017, or if they will go back to present day, the showrunner had this to say.
"Here's what I'll say: First of all, we won't start really planning the season for another month, so I don't want to say anything definitively. But what we decided when we did this was: This is not a yank. We are not teasing something that we are not going to then pay off. The majority of the season is going to take place in that time period, and that is allowing for certainly the possibility of episodes that fill in certain gaps that go back in time a little bit. That, who knows, go forward in time. Now we've established this as a possibility. But we're not going to see Leslie pregnant for the whole year, we're not going to see her give birth. The whole season is not going to be about filling in those gaps - the main action of the season will take place in that slightly futurescape. We may go back and see a couple of things here and there of what happened in the interim, but we're not faking you out. This is a real shift for the show in terms of when it takes place."
The showrunner confirmed that the entire cast will be back for Season 7. When asked how much of the final season is already planned out, Michael Schur had this to say.
"Chunks of it are mapped out. We have signposts and stuff, but other parts are wide-open and are very much up in the air. I'm sure that some of the chunks that we felt are mapped out are going to change. We just have a general idea of what is going on in the world, and we have some general ideas for what happens to those people over the course of this future season, but until we really get back in the room, I'd really prefer not to try to commit to anything too soon. It just sort of like shuts up creativity. ... I have an idea for the final image, the final scene and the final image of the show, and I have no idea whether that'll be the final image or not."
It isn't known when NBC plans on confirming if Season 7 will be the final season, but we'll keep you posted as soon as we have any official word from the network.