Superstore bosses confirm America Ferrera will return for season 6 premiere
Warning: This article contains spoilers from Thursday's Superstore season 5 finale, "California (Part 1)."
In February, NBC announced that America Ferrera would be leaving Superstore at the end of the comedy's fifth season. But when the show shut down production in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ferrera revealed that they weren't able to complete the season as planned. Specifically, they filmed 21 of 22 episodes.
Now the 21st episode has aired — serving as the season 5 finale — and EW spoke with executive producers Jonathan Green and Gabe Miller about the season's abrupt (but fitting) end, and what it means for Amy's goodbye.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: At what point did you all know you'd be saying goodbye to Amy this season?
JONATHAN GREEN: We knew it was a possibility about halfway through the season. At that point we started talking about one version of the end of the season where Amy was still there and one version where she left, and then we were soon able to commit to the version where she left.
What were the discussions in the room about how you wanted her to leave?
GABE MILLER: One thing that kind of worked out well for us is that it had organically been part of Amy's story that she was rising as a manager in the eyes of corporate, and getting noticed. So a job opportunity seemed to be organic to the story we'd been telling and also seemed to be a positive, hopeful way for her to leave.
GREEN: We really wanted to feel good for her at the end. As much as we're going to miss her as a show, we want to feel like she gets a win when she's leaving. It also just made a lot of sense with her overall trajectory that Jonah helped send her on, starting in the pilot making her realize that she doesn't have to be stuck and feel like every day is the same. He inspired her to believe in change a little bit, and it seemed natural that her story ends with her making a big change like this.
You're saying goodbye to such a major part of the show. What was your reaction when you found out you wouldn't get to film the second part of your finale?
GREEN: It ended up not really being much of a bummer at all because pretty immediately we decided that America would be coming back. She really wanted to come back and do the planned finale as our first episode of next season. It was a very quick, mutual decision. There was no back-and-forth about it at all. We were like, "This obviously has to happen." And so we'll work around her schedule to make sure that happens, but there was never really a moment where we thought, "Oh no we're not going to be able to give Amy a sendoff."
Where did the idea for the amazing Sandra adoption story line come from?
GREEN: The actual pitch for it came out fully formed from one of our writers, Dayo Adesokan, and it just seemed so funny to us. We'd seen Sandra lose Jerry in a coin toss and stuff like that where, against her will, she plays by whatever someone is telling her are the rules.
MILLER: Carol insisted on being her maid of honor — that's another example where circumstances of her life radically changed against her will.
GREEN: Yeah, so we saw this as another example of that, but there was another side too, where we've seen Sandra stand up a little more over these seasons, especially with her involvement with unionizing and going to negotiate with corporate. So we wanted it to very clearly be that this is something that Sandra wants, she does want to be a mother. The comedy of the situation is she wasn't expecting to become a mother today. We liked the ending where he calls her "mom" and she smiles a little bit because this is giving her something that she's wanted and it's not purely her being saddled with something. There's actually a sweetness there where she is going to now be mother to this teenager, and we're excited to see what Sandra is like as a mom next season.
Amy and Jonah's relationship has been so central to the show. What can you say about how her move will impact them?
GREEN: That is a big thing that involved a lot of discussion with America and Ben [Feldman] and all of our writers figuring out the best thing to land on. I don't want to give away too much, but Ben Feldman is staying on the show and we feel like what we're talking about is a way of honoring the relationship that they have and we feel like it feels very real. It's definitely the central relationship of the show, so there were a lot of discussions about what to do.