Donald Glover On The Decision To End 'Atlanta' At Season 4, His Initial Plan To Stop After Season 2 And Possibly Revisiting It Later
Photo Credit: FX
Television

Donald Glover On The Decision To End 'Atlanta' At Season 4, His Initial Plan To Stop After Season 2 And Possibly Revisiting It Later

FX kicked off their Television Critics Association day on Thursday with an executive panel in which chairman John Landgraf revealed that the fourth season of juggernaut hit Atlanta would be its last. The third season of the show premieres in March.

Later during the day for the Atlanta panel, attended by Shadow and Act, Glover talked more about the decision to end the show. Other panel participants included executive producers and writers Stephen Glover and Stefani Robinson, as well as stars Brian Tyree Henry and Zazie Beetz.

"To be honest, I wanted to end it after Season 2, and I think we had talked about that for a minute," he told TCA members. "Like, we had talked about [how] death is natural. I feel like when the conditions are right for something, they happen, and when the conditions aren't right for it, they don't happen.  You can't do too much.  I feel like the story was always supposed to be what it was, and the story...it really was us.  Like, everybody in that writers' room, everybody on set, it really was what we were going through and what we talked about, and that's the only way I like to make things. 

Glover also revealed by season 4, the writers' room was half men and half women.

“[It was] like perfectly split,” he said. “We had big arguments about their relationship and what we want…it was great.  And I think all of that came out in the season.  So, I think it ends perfectly.”

Glover also revealed he’d be open to revising the series maybe a decade down the line. He brought up the idea of a Christmas series while Henry mentioned an animated series.

“We won’t be able to get Zazie,” Glover joked. She’ll be done with us by then.  But, I mean, if people want to do it, if there’s a reason to do it, yeah. But it always depends.  I like keeping my options open.”

Beetz and Henry were aware that season 4 would be the final one.

“We did know that it was going to be the final season, which I think, made the ending, when we finished — at least for me, a little emotional,” said Beetz. “I agree with Donald in that I’m really glad that we are ending on what feels like a peak and not letting it just peter out. I think the best thing is knowing when to end it and knowing when to move on and to do other things, and we are all, sort of, doing other things. But we did sort of joke or talk about, like, ‘Would it be funny in 15 years, when we have grandchildren, to, like, come back?’ I think I’m glad I knew it was ending because I think I could, then, really lean into the relationships [and] knowing this was my last chance to play Van.  I do think Van changed my life, and I love her.  I don’t want to say goodbye or farewell because she’ll always be there in a way, but to be like, “I’m going to put you in the back for now.”

Henry echoed similar sentiments, adding “Atlanta has played such a huge part in all of our lives and being able to play these characters, it has changed our lives in such dramatic and drastic and beautiful ways. I think that with the final season, we did know it was the final season [and]  I think we were all eager to figure out what becomes of the gang.”

He also thought more and more about where Paper Boi would end up.

“I was always contemplating.  I was always like, ‘Whatever happens to older rappers?…Where is Alfred going to be at 55?’ Like, are we still going to be doing the same things? But that’s the great part about coming to an end is that it’s in the ethos.  It’s up there.  You can imagine all of the things you want to. But I think, for us, it just naturally felt like it was time. [The show] in its own way, felt like an institution.  You go to high school, it’s four years.  You go to college, it’s four years.  This is, in our own essence, like a graduation of, like, going on to something bigger and better but still feeling like we found a deeper connection.  I know that I am so deeply connected to these people in a way that they see me before I can even tell them what’s going on with me, and I think that that is what was the greatest gift of doing this show. If we decide to come back together when we are 65, you know, with our arthritis medication and our walkers, we probably will because we are all connected for the rest of our lives.” 

Here’s the logline for season 3:

Taking place almost entirely in Europe, Season 3 finds “Earn” (Donald Glover), “Alfred / ‘Paper Boi’” (Brian Tyree Henry), “Darius” (LaKeith Stanfield) and “Van” (Zazie Beetz) in the midst of a successful European tour, as the group navigates their new surroundings as outsiders, and struggle to adjust to the newfound success they had aspired to. 

Atlanta returns for season 3 on March 24 on FX. Since its debut, the show has catapulted its four stars to massive success, and all four have become established movie stars in their own rights. The first two seasons won five Emmy awards. When the show returns, it will have been off the air for almost three years.

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