The Last Man on Earth certainly didn’t look like a show ready to be done with its absurdly evolving storyline when the curtain fell on its Season 4-ending cliffhanger. But unfortunately for fans, Fox had other plans, canceling the show only days after series creator Will Forte (Phil, aka Tandy) and the team found themselves surrounded, in the final episode’s closing moments, by a mysterious group of gas-mask-wearing strangers.
Who were these people, and how would this meeting have played out? Well, Forte himself has the answers, and now that the series is finished, he’s not shy about revealing where Season 5 was headed — as well as where it all would have ended up.
In an interview for Vulture’s “Good One” comedy podcast, Forte revealed a fifth-season story arc that sounds deliciously, post-apocalyptically stupid — in the very best of ways. Those strangers, or “colonists,” it turns out, were self-quarantined refugees from the super virus responsible for the world’s end, people who had secluded themselves underground in the hope of waiting out the virus’ active period.
“[B]asically they had been in this bunker, and they went down when the virus had first started. They had some kind of medical expert or scientist who knew, ‘At this certain point, the virus will be dormant. You’ll be safe to get back out,’” Forte explained.
But of course when the colonists go back out, there’s Phil and his group of idiots, who “represent a real threat” — at least at first — to the colonists, since they certainly didn’t expect to see anyone else left alive. Forced into quarantine along with the colonists, Phil’s group and the new guys eventually become friends… just in time for all hell to break loose.
“They’re very nice people. They look scary, but they end up being nice people,” said Forte. “…[E]ventually we’d all get comfortable with each other, and they would kind of let one person out. They wouldn’t be scared anymore. But then we are immune to the virus, but we’re carriers. And so we would infect them and they’d die like wildfire. And then we’re back to just us.”
It’s a great, self-defeating setup for what has to be the most hapless, inept group of survivalists ever to hit the small screen, and it would have played out as the series-ending story arc, said Forte, if Fox had allowed the show a handful of extra episodes to wrap things up.
“At the very end [of the show] we were hearing, ‘Oh they’re going to bring you back for 10 episodes so you can finish up,’” he said. “…So we would have tried to figure out how we would have rushed to the ending.”
At least it’s nice to know that Phil/Tandy, Carol, and everyone else in their highly dysfunctional crew would have clumsily stumbled through yet another existential threat dealing only accidental harm — albeit the worst possible kind — to innocent bystanders. And while the Phil Lord and Chris Miller-produced, Emmy-nominated Last Man on Earth has now finished its last run on Fox, at least Forte’s still going strong; he’s set to turn up in the Olivia Wilde-directed comedy Booksmart, which is early in development.