Mike Schur: Well, the fact that you are upset is in part at least why this is happening. Let me start from the beginning. The God’s honest absolute truth is this character, Mark, is at least partially based on a real guy that [co-creator and executive producer Greg Daniels] and I met while we were doing research. His career had a very interesting trajectory, which is he worked for the government for a long time as a city planner and he got so fed up with the lifestyle and the red tape and the bureaucracy, that he … moved into the private sector. Then he got so fed up and tired of how gross corporations are that he moved back to the government. He oscillated back and forth multiple times.
When we first cast Paul, we told him that the idea would be Mark would leave and then ideally he would come back in a different capacity working for a different company. And then he would leave again and come back, and so on… It’s not something you usually do on TV shows but we thought it was a good way to illustrate both the positive and negative aspects of working for a government. It was one of the first things we talked about with him.
What happened was in the wake of “Bright Star” [a film in which Schneider co-starred] and winning a lot of awards, Paul now has this film career that is just taking off in a big way. [Show Tracker notes Schneider's major credits include "Lars and the Real Girl" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."] And the movie opportunities he’s getting are incredibly cool interesting movies, not the summer blockbuster movies that can be scheduled around TV actors when they need to be.
So, in the end, it was a combination of us always knowing that the character would always leave some day, the timing of this movie, and then sort of feeling like, well, the way the character’s gone…we were all on the same page here and we decided to write the character out.
But the goal and the aim is to have him come back as soon as his schedule permits and as soon as the arcs we’re writing call for it. We very much want him back and he has told us he very much wants to come back in the future. It really is one of those mutually beneficial situations. And we’re hoping we can have him back in Season 3.