Atlanta fans got a bittersweet surprise Thursday when FX chairman John Landgraf said the Donald Glover comedy would end with Season 4. During the show’s TCA panel, Glover, who executive produces, writes, directs and acts, explained the decision to bring the exploits of Earn, Paper Boi and their crew to an end.
“To be honest I wanted to end it at Season 2,” Glover quipped. “Death is natural…when the conditions are right for something, they happen, and when the conditions aren’t right they don’t happen. Things start to get weird…you can’t do too much. The story was always supposed to be what it was and the story, it really was us.”
Glover went on to speak about the conversations in the new season’s writers room – which was nearly a 50/50 split among men and women writers – and the various arguments that lead to Atlanta‘s final episodes and more.
“It was great, all of that came out this season and it ends perfectly,” he added.
Series stars Brian Tyree Henry and Zazie Beetz shared that they knew that Atlanta would end with Season 4 and reflected on their final moments working with the rest of their crew, and whether they’ll return for any potential offshoots in the future.
Beetz, who stars as Earn’s (Glover) ex Van, said she was also content with bringing the series to an end before it got too stale for a proper ending. She also reflected on how that knowledge impacted her final-season performance.
“I’m glad i knew it was ending because then I could lean into the relationships knowing this was my last chance to play Van,” she said. “I think Van changed my life. I’m gad I had the opportunity to…put [her] in the back for now.”
Henry, who stars as Earn’s cousin and rising rapper Paper Boi, shared similar sentiments. He also mused on Paper Boi’s future, noting that he thought about what older rappers get up to after their prime.
“That’s the great part of coming to an end, it’s in the ethos. It’s up there. You can imagine anything you want to,” he said.
The Emmy-nominated actor also likened Atlanta to 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,” he said.
The cast was joined on today’s TCA panel by executive producers Hiro Murai, Stefani Robinson and Stephen Glover.
Set to return to FX on March 24, Atlanta‘s Season 3 takes place almost entirely in Europe. Earn, Alfred / Paper Boi, Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) and Van are in the midst of a successful European tour. The group navigates their new surroundings as outsiders and struggle to adjust to the newfound success they had aspired to.
The series from Glover has won five Emmy Awards since its debut in 2016, including a Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series prizes in 2017. In 2018, the FX comedy also won for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour) and Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation.
Atlanta is executive produced by Donald Glover, Stephen Glover, Murai, Robinson, Paul Simms and Dianne McGunigle. Atlanta is produced by FX Productions.
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