Wow, it’s good to see the Bartlet administration again! Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford and more cast members from The West Wing look as comfortable as ever in their roles, as evidenced by the first peek at the HBO Max reunion special.
The streaming platform released the trailer for A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote on Thursday, October 8 — one week before the scripted event will drop. For fans who thought the special would simply take on a stale table-read style, think again. The cast is dressed and the stage is set for a theatrical reproduction of the season 3 episode “Hartsfield’s Landing.”
The video is filled with Easter eggs for die-hard viewers, including Josh and Donna’s witty banter, the beloved theme song, C.J. standing behind the press secretary podium and walk-and-talks. Sterling K. Brown also makes his debut as Leo McGarry, taking over for the late John Spencer, who died in December 2005 of a heart attack during production on season 7 of the show.
Sheen (President Jed Bartlet), Lowe (Sam Seaborn), Janney (C.J. Cregg), Whitford (Josh Lyman), Janel Moloney (Donna Moss), Richard Schiff (Toby Ziegler) and Dulé Hill (Charlie Young) will all reprise their roles in the special. The event will include act breaks with appearances from Michelle Obama, President Bill Clinton and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The cast filmed the special, which is intended to promote voter participation, over several days at Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles amid COVID-19 precautions. Series creator Aaron Sorkin executive-produced and wrote original content, and producer Thomas Schlamme directed.
The West Wing aired over seven seasons from 1999 to 2006. The show followed the lives of President Bartlet and his staff during his two-term administration.
“This is the first time we’ve done this in 20 years,” Sorkin, 59, told Entertainment Weekly in August of the reunion. “Never before have we gathered the cast onto [the show] logo in front of [W.G.] Snuffy Walden’s [theme] music and done something as The West Wing. … I don’t think anybody would argue that right now, if you have any capital at all, spend it.”
The cast believes in the cause too. “Our nation is about the citizens who actually roll up their sleeves and get involved, and one of the ways [to do that] that was important on the show and important to us in real life is voting,” Hill, 45, said. “I think that has resonated with people over the years. And I’m honored to be a part of this campaign to just inspire people to vote. Because if we take our eyes off the prize, the prize will be lost. We have to stay engaged if we want to see ourselves reflected in our country.”
A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote premieres on HBO Max Thursday, October 15.