One of the great American dramas of the 21st century could be returning to television.
The Hollywood Reporter published a profile of the illustrious screenwriter Aaron Sorkin yesterday (Nov. 29). Contained therein was one small but very intriguing nugget of information: Sorkin has flirted with the idea of a reboot of The West Wing, the Emmy-winning NBC political series he created.
Sorkin has a standing offer from NBC to reboot The West Wing whenever he wants, which he “considers on occasion,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. Deadline reported in August that NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt has himself asked Sorkin to revive the show.
The writer, who’s directorial debut Molly’s Game hits theaters on Christmas, said he envisions one person as the next fictional president of the United States: This Is Us actor Sterling K. Brown.
Launched in 1999, The West Wing was a smart, quippy series (a Sorkin signature) that followed the intricacies of the fictional Bartlet US presidential administration, led by Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen). It won 26 Emmys across its seven-year run, and is commonly considered to be one of the best TV shows of all time.
Sheen’s shoes are big to fill, but Brown appears up to the task already. The actor tweeted that he’s interested in fulfilling Sorkin’s dream:
Things have only gotten more interesting from there.
Josh Malina, who played deputy White House communications director Will Bailey on the show, tweeted a response to Brown from Sorkin, who does not use Twitter and generally loathes the internet:
With NBC and Brown interested, Sorkin is the only one holding the reboot back. He told the Hollywood Reporter that he’s struggled to envision how he’d bring back some of the show’s beloved original cast members, like Allison Janney, who played Bartlet’s longtime press secretary C.J. Cregg, or Bradley Whitford, who played deputy chief of staff Josh Lyman.
The series was something of a liberal fantasy when it originally aired, presenting an ideal Democratic administration in the midst of George W. Bush’s tenure as president. It was popular then, and would perhaps be even popular now, set against the backdrop of Donald Trump’s presidency.
For his part, Sorkin said that any potential reboot would have nothing to do with Trump. “Trump is exactly what he looks like: a really dumb guy with an observable psychiatric disorder,” the screenwriter told the Hollywood Reporter. So it doesn’t sound like Trump will get any cameos.
If the reboot materializes, it’d be the second time recently that social media has helped put together a Hollywood dream project. In May, Netflix acquired the rights to turn a Tumblr meme of singer Rihanna and actress Lupita Nyong’o into an actual movie, directed by Ava DuVernay.