The West Wing reunion special will premiere on Thursday, Oct. 15 on HBO Max, the streaming service announced on Tuesday. Two weeks before the 2020 presidential election, HBO Max is giving America a peek back into one of the most popular fictional White House administrations of all time. The premiere date is also notably National Voter Registration Day.
HBO Maxed teased The West Wing reunion special with a single black and white photo of Martin Sheen back in character as President Jed Bartlet. The reunion is officially titled A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote, and will bring Sheen back together with Rob Lowe, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff and Bradley Whitford. Series creator Aaron Sorkin and executive producer Thomas Schlamme will return as well. Rather than a video chat or a new installment, the cast will perform a previous episode with fresh significance.
Schlamme and Sorkin will oversee a staged, theatrical presentation of Season 3, Episode 15 of The West Wing — "Hartsfield's Landing." The episode first aired in February of 2002, and follows President Bartlet's attempts to prevent war between China and Taiwan, as the Chinese government conducts war games within the Taiwan Strait.
While this is going on, Sam (Lowe) and Toby (Schiff) are playing chess matches against Bartlet where he tries to work out his strategy for the Chinese. Meanwhile, Josh (Whitford) is preoccupied with an election in a remote town in New Hampshire, whose votes typically predict the winner of the state's primary. Finally, the third plot concerns a prank war between C.J. (Janney) and Charlie (Hill) with high stakes.
This stage performance will use the built-in act breaks for commentary, with some incredible guests lined up to talk about voter registration. They include former First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. The opening theme song of the show will be played by W.G. Snuffy Walden, and the closing theme will be played by The Avett Brothers.
The West Wing ran from 1999 to 2006 on NBC and has seen a resurgence in popularity over the last few years as Americans examine the shifts in their political arenas. All seven seasons of the original series are streaming now on Netflix, but will soon move to HBO Max as WarnerMedia ends its licenses and calls its intellectual property home.
A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote premieres on HBO Max on Thursday, Oct. 15.