Steve Carell left 'The Office' in 2011 to focus on his film career

Steve Carell, who played Michael Scott on The Office, returned to the show for its series finale as the character that made him a household name. Who else would be Dwight’s best man at his marriage to Angela?

On Thursday, the NBC workplace comedy set at the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. in Scraton, Pa., aired its final episode, ending an impressive eight-year run. Carell, who was the series’ original star when it premiered in 2005, left the show in 2011 to focus on his film career. While it had been confirmed that other series stars who had moved onto other projects would be returing for the finale, including Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak, Carell’s appearance had been kept under wraps.

When Carell left the show after seven season of playing the hapless boss-man Michael Scott, the rating for The Office began to slip. The NBC sitcom, which was once pulling in as many as 8 million viewers during Carell’s time on set, was only getting about 4 million per episode last year.

"This is a perfect time for the show to come to a close," Rain Wilson said, according to Fox. "There's a finality to it and a sadness to it." And although showrunner Craig Daniels had said in previous interviews that Carell/ Michael Scott had already had the perfect goodbye, it appears as though he realized the show itself needed the man and the character back for the show to have its perfect goodbye.

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