In an interview with TIME about his new movie Beautiful Boy, Carell explained why he has no plans of ever reviving his role as the irreverent boss of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch.
“I’ve never thought of it as a good idea,” he told TIME about the prospect of bringing back the NBC sitcom. “I think it existed in that time and with those people and it felt right. There was something so special about it, and I guess it’s an odd way to put it, but I love it too much to ever want to do it again. It’s too special to me in my heart in that period of time.”
Carell says that he knew The Office had the potential to be groundbreaking as soon as he started filming the show’s first episode with the rest of the cast.
“I remember it was the first week we were shooting the pilot, and Jenna [Fischer] and John [Krasinski] and Rainn [Wilson] and I went out to lunch…just the four of us,” he said. “We were sitting in this little diner in Culver City, and I remember saying, “Guys, if this works, this could be the most special thing that any of us are ever involved with.'”
However, he says he was largely clueless about the cult following the series has generated in the years since it went off the air—despite the fact that his Beautiful Boy co-star, Timothée Chalamet, seems to consider himself an Office aficionado, and even referenced a popular dark theory.
“I wouldn’t even say superfan. I can’t be considered a superfan because my fandom is equivalent to everybody else’s superfandom,” Chalamet told TIME. “Superfans are the ones that have figured out that Toby is the Scranton murderer.”