Much like the series itself once teased viewers with a fantastical vision of a world in which government was run by smart, passionate people whose biggest flaw was a weird obsession with Gilbert & Sullivan (and a somewhat worrying tendency to “disappear” their less-popular female co-workers), the cast of The West Wing continue to taunt us with the possibility of a reunion of the long-running NBC show. Richard Schiff—who won an Emmy for playing cantankerous moral voice Toby Ziegler on the White House-set series—has now said that he’s been talking with creator Aaron Sorkin about giving in to the current TV reboot trend and bringing the show back in some form or another.
Per Deadline, Schiff touched upon the long-simmering rumors during a recent interview, noting that “Aaron has said he wanted it to happen.” Owing to the fact that politics in 2019 are even more fucked than they were during the Bush era in which the show was mostly aired, Schiff acknowledged that the series “Might go with a new administration, in which case, you know, some of us might show up as consultants…it makes no sense, maybe one or two of us to be in the White House.”
We’ll be honest: It’s hard to conceive what The West Wing—one of the most idealistically drenched series ever placed on American television, to the point that it sometimes read like wish-fulfillment fan fiction for the U.S. government—would even look like in a post-2016 world. Sorkin, who dramatically left the show at the end of its fourth season, has talked in the past about revisiting the series with This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown in a lead role as the president, presumably of the non-catastrophically-awful variety. Schiff had his own idea, though, suggesting that the series should forego D.C. politics in favor of a more local level of engagement:
I’ve pitched it to Aaron. He loved it. I don’t think it should be in the White House. I think that’s overcooked. My image of a show in the White House now is something like House of Cards, which is more apropos for the current administration—and Veep. You know, you combine Veep and House of Cards and you got, you got this administration. It’s a great idea…Where does politics really happen? And that’s the question. And especially in this era where there’s such an excitement in the grassroots level and on the local level, and, and it really all happens in the state level.
NBC has expressed its general and ongoing interest in a possible West Wing revival (as has series star Alison Janney), although the problem remains of how to to reincorporate the show’s original cast into the works, because you know we’re not showing up for this thing if C.J. Cregg doesn’t bust out “The Jackal” once or twice.