Don’t expect Donald Glover to ever reprise his Community role—he likes endings way too much.
Glover, who starred on the cult-favorite Dan Harmon comedy as Troy for five seasons (and declined to return for the sixth and final season), explained to reporters at the 2016 Summer TCA press tour while promoting his new FX comedy Atlanta that he was glad that Community ended.
“I just like endings,” Glover said. “I think everything should have death clauses in them. Humans have death clauses. Thank god, one day Trump is going to die. That’s guaranteed and that’s awesome. It’s important that things end. I’m glad things end because it forces things to progress. I get frustrated because I see things in the world that could be better but aren’t because things haven’t died yet. That’s how I feel about that.”
The actor/rapper is set to debut his new project, Atlanta, on FX this fall, which he executive produces, writes, and directs–in addition to producing the music and starring in the comedy about two cousins who work through the Atlanta music scene in order to better their lives and the lives of their families.
“The thesis with the show is to show people how it felt to be black, and you can’t really write that down. You have to feel it,” Glover said. “So the tonal aspect was really important to me. There really isn’t a limit to how abstract you can get as long as you believe it. There has to be a grounded nature to it. If you have something that is grounded on some level, you can go anywhere and people will go there with you. That’s what we learned around the fifth episode.”
Despite all we know about Glover, Atlanta is definitely going to be a departure for fans that know him as either his rap alter ego—Childish Gambino—or the happy, naive, sweet Troy from the NBC-turned-Yahoo! series, Community.
“I had so much fun on Community,” Glover said. “It wasn’t like I wanted to run away from that. And that’s why [Harmon] ended that, because he likes endings too.”
For Glover, Atlanta is much more personal in its creation, execution, and storytelling.
“It wasn’t really important to me to show that [side],” explained. “I think there’s plenty of opportunities to do that in short films and even in music. What was important to me was that this show is personal and had a specific take. That’s all you can really ask for from shows now—having a specific point on something. We definitely talked about how people are going to feel about it just to make sure it didn’t get in the way of us telling a story.”
While Atlanta is branded as a comedy, there are going to be some really dark moments in the episodes, featuring real themes like police brutality. “We realized pretty early on that we’ve seen the Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder, ‘white people do this and black people do this’ all the time,” Glover said. “What do they not know? That kind of scene, depending on who you watch it with, is actually pretty hilarious because some people are more used to that than others.”
And he isn’t losing any sleep over whether or not everyone will like Atlanta.
“Some of them will be like, ‘Oh that’s cool,’ some of them will be like, ‘I hate this thing. I don’t get him,'” Glover said. “That happens a lot. ‘I don’t get this guy, I don’t understand him.’ I think that’s good, I think that’s really good actually.”
And while Atlanta will feature many famous and local rappers, Glover won’t be showcasing his abilities onscreen.
“That would be so weird,” Glover said, cracking a smile. “I wouldn’t have enjoyed that. It’s possible to do that but then it makes it harder for me to do music. It clouds a lot of things and wouldn’t be as much fun. A lot of cool rappers have approached me and I just want to make sure we use them in the right way.”
Atlanta premieres Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 10 p.m. on FX. Are you going to tune in? Let us know in the comments below!