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The Strangely Prophetic Way Steve Carell Predicted The Future Of The Office

Between 2005 and 2013, NBC's "The Office" was one of the best-loved series on television. In the years since it aired its finale, the workplace mockumentary has only grown in popularity, scoring troves of new fans and surprisingly robust ratings in the streaming realm and via syndication. 

Given its already fervid fandom, "The Office" will likely maintain a prominent presence in the pop culture canon for many years to come. That's in no small part due to the breakout success of the cast of the series. While "The Office" remains a calling card for pretty much everyone involved, folks like Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Mindy Kaling, Ed Helms, and more have carved out impressive careers after leaving the series behind.

All that success was far from a certainty in the early days of "The Office," however, with many wondering if an Americanized version of the hit UK series of the same name would land with audiences. Indeed, the NBC show stumbled a bit out of the gate, failing to connect with viewers in an uneven first season, as The Guardian reported in 2005. The series found its legs in Season 2, becoming both a primetime sensation and a perennial player at the Emmys. And, according to one long-time star of "The Office," it all happened exactly the way Carell predicted during the show's early days. 

Carell knew The Office would be a career-defining gig for the whole cast

Most of "The Office" cast was, of course, relatively unknown to audiences before the series premiered. That includes Steve Carell, who was perhaps best known for his work as a correspondent on "The Daily Show" before playing Michael Scott. Still, he believed he and his castmates were destined for greatness. And according to Rainn Wilson (who played Dwight Schrute on the series), Carell knew "The Office" would be a career-defining hit for one and all before the pilot even aired.

As covered by Mashable in December 2021, Wilson detailed Carell's prophecy in the book "Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office." He recalled, "After shooting the pilot, John [Krasinski], Jenna [Fischer], Steve [Carell], and I went out for a sandwich, down the road in Culver City from that crappy little studio we were at to this crappy little sandwich shop." He continued, writing, "Steve was like, 'I think this thing could be really special, and I'm betting that these are the roles that will define us for the rest of our lives. No matter what we do for the rest of our lives, this is what we'll be known for.'"

Carell was clearly correct on all fronts. Despite the Michael Scott actor going to become an Oscar-nominated movie star (via PopSugar), Krasinski rising to celebrated director status with the hit film "A Quiet Place," and several other cast members moving on to bigger better things (like Fischer and co-star Angela Kinsey creating "The Office Ladies" podcast), the shadow of "The Office" still looms large over their careers. As Carell sagely predicted, it likely always will.