James Spader’s Robert California won’t be returning to The Office next season, according to Deadline. Paul Lieberstein —executive producer, writer and the actor who portrays Toby Flenderson— revealed that Spader was always a part of a post-Michael Scott transition plan, but the crew didn’t plan on featuring Spader after his one year stay.
“James always wanted this to be a one year arc, and he now leaves us having created one of the most enigmatic and dynamic characters in television,” Lieberstein said. “He’s been a great friend to me and the show, helping us successfully transition into the post-Michael Scott years, and I’m grateful for that.”
While the character has been met with mixed reviews, the first full season without Steve Carell has maintained respectable viewership. The future of the series remains up in the air and none of the actors, whose contracts are up after this eighth season, have signed extensions. Rumors regarding a Dwight Schrute spin-off have been introduced while key writers like Mindy Kaling have shows on other networks in development.