The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin has long spoken of his dream to reboot his former NBC political drama with This Is Us star and perennial Emmy nominee Sterling K. Brown as president. Since This Is Us still has at least two more seasons, we doubt we’ll be getting a full-on reboot any time soon. But it looks like at least a little bit of Sorkin’s dream is coming true: Brown has joined the growing cast of HBO Max’s upcoming reunion event A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote.
Over the weekend, a photo of Brown emerged alongside West Wing cast members Rob Lowe, Dule Hill, Allison Janney, Martin Sheen, Bradley Whitford, Janel Moloney, and Richard Schiff, who were all previously announced as participating in the special. Also present in the photo is Emily Procter, who guest-starred on The West Wing as Ainsely Hayes in seasons two, three, and seven of the series. Schiff also took to social media on Saturday to share shots from behind-the-scenes of the first day of taping for the special.
Helmed by series director and executive producer Thomas Schlamme, A West Wing Special To Benefit When We All Vote will bring the Bartlet administration back together to perform season three’s “Hartsfield’s Landing.” There is no word on what role Brown will play in the reading—or if he’ll play a role at all (someone’s gotta read the stage directions)—but there is at least one major role to be filled: Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, who was played by John Spencer until his death in 2005. While much of “Hartsfield’s Landing” deals with Donna (Moloney) and Josh (Whitford) trying to solidify New Hampshire primary votes and President Bartlet (Sheen) playing chess games with Sam (Lowe) and Toby (Schiff), Leo is at the President’s side in the Situation Room for war games the administration is trying to tamp down in the Taiwan Strait.
Procter’s Ainsley is actually not in “Hartsfield Landing” (and the script she’s holding in the photos seems to only be a few pages), so Brown may not be involved in the episode reading at all and simply recorded an intro or moderated a discussion. The HBO Max gods have yet to deign an answer. The special, airing this fall, is intended to raise awareness of When We All Vote, an organization dedicated to increasing participation in American elections. When We All Vote co-chair Michelle Obama will also make an appearance on the special.