The entire key "Entourage" team took the dais at the Television Critics Association press tour on Thursday (July 28) afternoon. It was a crowded panel that included everybody from series creator Doug Ellin to multiple Emmy winner Jeremy Piven to executive producer (and early series inspiration) Mark Wahlberg, who spent most of the panel practically curled in a "Don't ask me about 'Max Payne'" ball on one side of the stage.
 
On one hand, it was a backward-looking panel reflecting on the eighth and final season of "Entourage."
 
"It's been hard, you know," reflected Golden Globe nominated star Kevin Connolly, "Right from the beginning of the season, you were just faced with the series, like this is the last season, you know. And then it was the last episode and the last week and the last day. We've said this a bunch of times, but as we sit here right now, this is literally the last time that we will all be sitting with each other as a TV show, like you said, regardless of the movie. But as 'Entourage,' the TV show, this is the last time that we will all be sitting together. So, even as we sit here, it's still, you know, like I said, it's bittersweet. It's been a hell of a run, and it's certainly unique, and I just I don't know. I don't want to start crying."
 
Added Piven, "this season feels like our best, and it's so gratifying to finish this way. This character that I've been playing for eight years has been such a reactive character and takes up the oxygen in the room. And then to humanize him like the way he's going to be shown in this last season is just a gift that Doug gave me. I don't know if I earned it, but it sure has been an amazing ride. And so this character makes this emotional transformation, and it's kind of incredible to finish like this, and yet I think it will be gratifying for people to see it, and yet we've left ourselves in a position where, organically, I feel like we could transition into a movie or not."
 
But as Connolly and Piven hinted, the panel progressed to a place of forward-looking optimism as well. "Entourage" may wrap things up in a few weeks, but the show's creative forces continue to dream of a big screen future for Vince and the gang.
 
Asked about the inevitability of an "Entourage" movie, Wahlberg perked up.
 
"I said if I had to finance it myself, I would do it," Wahlberg said. "I was looking at that clip on the big screen, and it looks like a movie to me. I mean, you have to take into consideration that anytime HBO cuts a promo reel together, it's the f***ing greatest thing you've ever seen with every show that they do. But I certainly hope that this has a chance to become a feature film. And I think people have always complained that the episodes are too short, and they want to go on a journey with these guys. So I've been telling Doug and I've been telling everybody for a long time. I mean, 'The Hangover,' to me, is very much like 'Entourage.' And, you know, you look at the success of rated-R comedies this year. And we've never really been able to track the ratings the way you want because all these f***ing kids -- excuse my language -- that watch the show get together 30 and 40 at a time and watch the show. So I don't know. Doug, what do you think?"
 
Ellin agreed, "That is such a funny thing that they say. I mean, I was in the Hamptons this weekend, and I swear there were at least 15 houses lined up with 20 kids watching it. When they say our ratings are what they are, I've always laugh that. But we're going to do a movie, especially if E signs Mark too. So, you know, we're going to do it. It's a question of when
and how quick. And hopefully we'll sit down and come up with an idea and make it happen."
 
How will "Entourage" conclude its run and will the show be setting itself up for a movie in its finale? 
 
"Ever since the beginning of this, the movie 'Diner' was a big influence on me. The end of the movie 'Diner' kind of left me with 'Oh, I could see these guys in ten more movies because I just loved being with them.' So there's no — there's no major deaths. There's no major things. It's really, hopefully, just a vibe and kind of where we were first season where people just used to go. These are my boys. I got a friend like E. I got a friend like Turtle or Drama. Or I wish I had a — or Johnny Drama or Turtle, whoever I said. So we just want to vibe. That was it. It wasn't a major plot thing."
 
It's not necessarily spoiling anything to reveal that the last day of "Entourage" shooting has already taken place at the Van Nuys airport, or to reveal that it was an emotional day for the stars.
 
"The last day was like the last day of high school," Adrian Grenier said. "We all had senioritis. It was really hard to get anybody focused. The crew, they were chattering. Everyone was exchanging numbers, passing notes, signing yearbooks."
 
It's an emotion that's still going.
 
"We are all choked up," Grenier said. "Truthfully, we've been together for eight years. We've spent, you know, countless hours, you know, weeks, you know, creating something that we are all very, very proud of. And it's not only sad to say goodbye to each other but also what we've created. We are all very proud of it, and we know that we are going to have a lasting impact, and we'll always be connected to everybody on some level."
 
Adds Jerry Ferrara, "There's, like, some days where it's, like, excitement of starting new things and going in a different direction, and the very next day, I just will reflect back and be, like, wow, it's such a unique eight year run. Like, you just wonder if it's ever going to be like that again. But we've all made some lifelong friendships that is probably the greatest thing that I got out of the whole thing."
 
Awwww...