For one night only, many of us will have at least one wish come true… Josiah Bartlet will once again be President of the United States.
Though it has been 14 years since fans of The West Wing saw the President and First Lady board Marine 1 looking forward to “tomorrow”, there have been numerous calls for more of this political drama. None more so than in the past four years. While creator Aaron Sorkin has not ruled out a return of the characters from the Bartlet administration, he wants to give them a premise worthy of their return, and rightly so. It’s what these fan-favourite, globally adored characters deserve. While we are not exactly getting that in the upcoming HBO Max Special, we are getting the gang back together presenting not only a beloved episode, but one highly appropriate and the recently released trailer shows that it may have been 17 years since the original cast last performed together, the magic is certainly still there.
From that all familiar drum beat that opens the trailer to the theme’s final note that closes it, the feels are all there. That sense of optimism, hope, belief and trust in the government that has been sorely lacking all around the world in recent years, just comes flooding back with every beat of the trailer. And I defy any fan to be dry eyed at Sam Seaborn’s (Rob Lowe) greeting to President Bartlet (Martin Sheen), “Mr President, welcome back.”
A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote reunites the original cast for a theatrical stage production of the season 3 episode, “Hartsfield’s Landing”. The original NBC episode synopsis read:
The President (Martin Sheen) engages both Sam (Rob Lowe) and Toby (Richard Schiff) in intricate chess matches that underscore the wily game of brinkmanship Bartlet is playing with the Chinese who threaten to turn their war games in the Taiwan Strait into the real thing if Taiwan begins test-firing their new U.S. Patriot defense missiles. Meanwhile, Josh (Bradley Whitford) is edgy about every vote out of the 42 cast in a remote New Hampshire burg that are counted immediately and always predict the winner of the day’s crucial state primary. Elsewhere, a mischievous C.J. (Allison Janney) tries to upset Charlie (Dulé Hill) by not accounting for her copy of the President’s top-secret daily schedule — prompting a war of mischievous games and tricks.
In addition to Sheen and Lowe, Schiff, Whitford, Janney and Hill are all back for the Special. As is Janel Moloney (Donna Moss). Stepping in for the late John Spencer as White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry is This Is Us’ Sterling K. Brown. The trailer wonderfully showcases both excerpts from the Special as well as behind-the-scenes footage of the cast. You’ll want to break out those West Wing DVDs asap.
The Special will also include act breaks with guest appearances from When We All Vote co-chair/former FLOTUS Michelle Obama, President Bill Clinton, and West Wing super fan Lin-Manuel Miranda. Emmy–winning composer W.G. Snuffy Walden will play the iconic score for The West Wing theme song on his guitar, while the folk rock band The Avett Brothers will close out the special.
A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote airs this coming Thursday, October 15 on HBO Max.
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