After seven years of New Girl, Jake Johnson is saying goodbye to his beloved character Nick Miller — or rather, see you later.
“It was a great run,” Johnson, 39, tells PEOPLE ahead of Tuesday night’s series finale. “We also live in a world now where Will & Grace and Roseanne are on network TV and Star Wars is our biggest movie. Realistically, hopefully, in 10 years we’ll be doing more New Girl. I’m not thinking of this as the end of New Girl, I’m thinking of this as a pause for New Girl.”
Johnson says he would be on board for a reboot in the future if the show’s creator and writer Elizabeth Meriwether has a “good take on it” and if everyone has time.
“I’ll most likely jump back,” Johnson says. “I say that now, but I don’t know where I’ll be in five years. Potentially I’ll be living on some weird island, but if I’m still in the Hollywood industry and New Girl comes around, I would love to jump on it.”
Tuesday’s one-hour finale will be split into two episodes with the first featuring Nick’s wedding to Zooey Deschanel’s character Jess and the second featuring a tour down memory lane with the show’s group of friends. Johnson says that the finale had to change a bit when he shot a scene with Dermot Mulroney (who plays Russell Schiller) and ended up breaking his hand.
“We were shooting a scene in a hallway where we’re wrestling for Jess and my hand bumped against the wall, and I broke it,” he explains. “I fractured a bone in my hand so in the finale, my character wears a cast which was not supposed to happen. You’ll see in flashback that my character is always holding his hand behind his back which is a funny thing to look at because that was not what we were told.”
When it comes to watching the finale himself though, Johnson says he hasn’t thought about it.
“I’m not an actor who has screening parties and stuff like that,” he says. “When we’re done shooting it, it’s kind of done for me.”
A post shared by jake johnson (@mrjakejohnson) on May 15, 2018 at 10:25am PDT
Johnson is also giving back to some of his young fans by drawing attention to Natural Light Beer’s campaign to help Americans pay off their student debt. The brand announced on Twitter on Monday that it is committing a million dollars to the campaign for 2019 and is giving its community the chance to grow the pot to $2 million by offering $1 for every retweet of the post.
“I went to college, I was a beer drinker and I know how many people are struggling with student loans so honestly, it was an easy one,” he said of his involvement. “I have a social media presence and people know me, so to get people who have supported me and watched the things that I’ve done, a little bit of financial help, I didn’t think twice about it.”
College debt sucks but we're covering part of the tab. For every RT we’ll add $1 on top of the million we're giving away again next year. Let's hit $2 million total #NattyStories pic.twitter.com/Z3CdcH5Xxe
— Natural Light (@naturallight) May 14, 2018
Now that the show is almost over, Johnson says he’s ready to spend time with his family and friends and continue to do work that is fun. No matter what he does next though, he says that Nick will always be a part of him.
“What I’ll miss the most is working with that cast,” he says. “Nick is a funny character, and I did a lot of improvisation with it so it’ll always be a part of what I do. There was a certain language to that show.”
New Girl’s one-hour series finale airs Tuesday, May 15 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.