While we might not be getting as much of the trademark "walk and talk" as we're used to, that's a very small price to pay for a reunion of The West Wing– and 17 years later? That's exactly what original series creator Aaron Sorkin and HBO Max are set to deliver fans, with Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, and Bradley Whitford joining with Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme for A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote.
Set to film over several days at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles in early October, the special will feature a theatrical performance of "Hartsfield's Landing," the famous third season episode that finds Sheen's President Barlet playing chess against Sam (Lowe) and Toby (Schiff) as the Chinese play war games in the Taiwan Strait. Meanwhile, Josh (Whitford) stresses the 42 votes in a remote New Hampshire town's election- an election that always predicts the winner of that state's primary. Sorkin will write original exclusive material for the special, with Schlamme serving as director of the production.
While the cast and creative team have reunited in the past for panels, podcasts, late-night sketches, and even election campaign ads, this is the first time that a reunion of this size and scope will air on television. "Tommy and I are incredibly excited to be getting The West Wing cast back together for this staged reading and to support When We All Vote in their efforts to get all of us involved in this election," said Sorkin about the news.
Along with giving fans a chance to revisit one of their favorite series, the special is also meant to raise awareness for and support When We All Vote, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization co-chaired by former First Lady Michelle Obama which was founded to increase participation in U.S. elections (with WarnerMedia making a donation to the organization). Michelle Obama will make a guest appearance in the special, with announcements of additional cast members and special guests set to be rolled out over the next few weeks. Casey Patterson Entertainment and Warner Horizon Unscripted Television produce, with Sorkin, Schlamme, and Casey Patterson executive producing, and Rob Paine co-executive producing.
"With A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote, we are excited to revisit this legendary series and offer our passionate fans something that is substantial, meaningful and unforgettable, while also promoting an important message for our time," said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. "Combined with WarnerMedia's donation to When We All Vote, this special not only entertains but also helps ensure the organization can carry forth its mission to increase voter participation in every election."