Firewood's Coolest Counselors Aren't Ready To Leave 'WHAS' Behind

by Kayla Hawkins
Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later is taking the Netflix audience back to camp. And Camp Firewood is the best one of them all: you don't need to sleep in a cabin, put on sunscreen, or even leave your air-conditioned living room. The eight-episode followup to 2015's hysterical First Day Of Camp series will debut on Aug. 4, but will Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later return for another chapter after that?

Netflix has yet to announce any intentions of bringing the series back for a second season or another spinoff. But writers David Wain and Michael Showalter, who worked together on both The State and as members of the sketch comedy group Stella (along with WHAS costar Michael Ian Black), have talked about the possibility of returning to Camp Firewood often over the years.

And it makes sense: so far, every entry into the Wet Hot American Summer universe takes place over only a single day, and since the cast was already far older than their canonical teenage years in the original 2001 film, there's no need for followups to be governed by the laws of time and space. Ten Years Later is a reference to a running gag in the film, where the campers riff about reuniting at either 9:00 or 9:30 a.m. exactly 10 years after their final day as counselors. Nothing is stopping this sprawling cast of adult comedic actors from continuing to play characters half their age forever... or even longer, if they age like Paul Rudd. (Not at all.)

In Variety's oral history of Wet Hot American Summer, Showalter said, "For me, it’s always just been creatively something I’ve wanted to continue to work on. It really was just a matter of having an opportunity to tell more stories about these characters at camp." Both he and Wain discussed an early attempt at selling an episodic sequel to network television that was "just a TV show about summer camp." Out of all the ideas for potential future seasons on Netflix, it sounds like the duo are not eager to revisit the concept of a "22-minute Fox sitcom with commercials and nothing Rated R," but that's far from the only idea the two considered.

Composer Craig Wedren (who wrote the wildly catchy "Higher and Higher"), told Variety that over the years, "there was talk of a Broadway musical," and said in an interview with Consequences of Sound that his idea for a sequel was "What about Wet Hot American Summer… winter?" It may sound crazy, but according to Under the Radar Mag, costar Jo Lo Truglio recalled a similar idea. "I remember hearing a version of a Wet Hot prequel that took place in winter [...] I think it was supposed to take place the winter break before the original movie," Lo Truglio said.

In 2015, Showalter and Wain said in an interview with Jim Halterman that they were interested in possibly returning to the prequel timeline of First Day Of Camp. "I think we feel like there's more story to tell ... there's a big musical that they're putting on ... and we've already talked about, God, I want to see the rest of that musical," Showalter said. "Each storyline has a whole series I want to see... you could spin them all off," Wain added.

More recently, Showalter told Uproxx that he's already thinking about new timelines for a potential followup to Ten Years Later. When asked about what it's like to play a slightly aged up but still much younger character, Showalter said, "well, I was just sort of thinking that, if we keep doing it at this rate, we’ll actually be our own age. Like, next time we do Wet Hot, it’ll be like, their 25th reunion, and then we’re just our actual ages or something."

It's possible a future season could leave the camp entirely. "We developed boatloads of material about the characters living in New York or wherever," Wain said in an interview with AOL's BUILD Series. "We were gonna have like three episodes in New York." Wain went on to say that they wound up discarding most of that material in favor of heading to Camp Firewood more quickly, but he said that movies like St. Elmo's Fire and Reality Bites stood out as early inspiration. He added that there was once a self-referential subplot about one of the characters working at MTV where a State-esque sketch show was in its infancy. "It was very meta," said Wain.

So over the past 15 years or so, the idea of adding to Wet Hot American Summer has always been on the creators' minds, which is probably why First Day of Camp and Ten Years Later are both so densely packed with new jokes and ideas. Wain and Showalter don't take the idea of adding to their comedy lightly. "There are so many pitfalls of doing a prequel or a sequel," Wain said to BUILD, "where you can look like you're treading the same water." But Showalter told Variety that he sees the WHAS ensemble in "in the vein of Little Rascals or Archie’s Gang, that each of them is sort of a different archetype, but there were countless stories to tell about them."

So as long as these two creators get the go-ahead from Netflix, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later probably won't be the end for Camp Firewood and its coolest counselors.