What Happened To Troy On Community?
The delightfully wacky sitcom “Community” got a solid three seasons in before things got shaken up behind the scenes and the show started going downhill. Creator Dan Harmon was fired, new showrunners were hired for Season 4, but they didn’t quite hit the highs of the show’s first three years. Harmon actually returned for Seasons 5 and 6, but they were marked by cast changes as the controversial resident old white man Pierce (Chevy Chase) and the aimless, nerdy high school football star Troy (Donald Glover) left the Greendale Community College (and the series) altogether.
Ultimately, Harmon said Glover’s exit was the nail in the coffin for “Community,” though he tried to pretend it wasn’t (via The Hollywood Reporter). Glover had been on the series since episode one in 2009, charming audiences with his nerdy friendship with fellow study group member Abed (Danny Pudi) and consistently making the series funnier with his improv. But, Glover was ready to move on to other projects, so Harmon asked him to do a few episodes of Season 5 to wrap up Troy’s story, and then he was sailing off into the sunset.
Of course, while Troy’s exit may have sped up the demise of “Community,” it was far from the death of Glover’s career, who’s been steadily carving a space for himself in Hollywood and beyond ever since.
Donald Glover took on the name 'Childish Gambino' for a while
Donald Glover has always been one to take on jobs in several aspects of entertainment. After college, he started his career as a writer on “30 Rock,” but he left that to pursue acting, and wound up on “Community.” Then, while on the sitcom, he started making music under the stage name Childish Gambino and has since released four albums. Troy’s exit from Greendale references Glover’s music career: In Season 5, after Pierce dies, his will challenges Troy to sail around the world in his boat named “The Childish Tycoon” — a reference to Glover’s stage name — and so Troy embarks on a new journey.
Many of those who aren’t part of the “Community” cult following learned about Glover through his music career. He’s so far won five Grammys, four of which were for his 2018 song “This Is America” and its accompanying music video. He likes to get weird and creative with his music: He held an experimental three day concert titled “Pharos” in the desert and made the hour-long musical short film “Guava Island” with Rihanna (via Wired).
Still, even Glover’s stint as Childish Gambino has come to an end. Per NME, he said his fourth album — “3.15.20,” released in 2020 — and his “This Is America” tour would be Gambino’s last (via Complex), though that doesn’t mean he’s done with music entirely.
Donald Glover created his own series
In 2013, while still on “Community,” Donald Glover began pitching a new series to various networks. FX picked it up and — with a team made up of an all-Black writers room ,and his music video director Hiro Murai, who all had little-to-nothing in the way of TV experience — Glover made the critically acclaimed “Atlanta.” He writes, executive produces, and stars in it as Earn, an Ivy league dropout managing the rap career of his cousin Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), while trying to repair things with his family. Among the many award nominations and wins of “Atlanta,” Glover won Emmys for both directing an episode and his acting (per Emmys.com).
He grew up in a suburb of Atlanta, and drew on that experience for the series. He told Vulture, “I wanted to show white people, you don’t know everything about Black culture.” The series is both comedy and drama, with Glover and his team writing it to be “as personal as possible.” He said, “I needed people to understand I see Atlanta as a beautiful metaphor for Black people.” With two seasons out so far, “Atlanta” is looking forward to at least two more in the works.
Donald Glover's done Disney, too
Since leaving “Community,” Glover has also gotten a shot at doing feature length films, with his most notable role as the young Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo origin story, 2018’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” He completely stole the show and made enough new hype for Lando that Disney+ is developing an entire series based on the character (though at this time of writing, we don’t know if Glover will reprise his role). For Glover, the role is close to home, as a Lando action figure was the first toy his father bought for him, and “Star Wars” was one of the few pieces of media he watched while growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness (via The Hollywood Reporter).
On top of “Star Wars,” Glover had a couple scenes in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” as Aaron Davis, the uncle to the Miles Morales Spider-Man, a character who was partially influenced by Donald Glover when he wore Spider-Man pajamas as Troy (per USA Today). Plus, he voiced Simba in the live action remake of “The Lion King,” and had parts in “The Martian” and “Magic Mike XXL.”
“I want to be like Spike Jonze, in a sense,” Glover said to The Hollywood Reporter, “where I’m like, ‘I do what I want when I want to do it, and trust me because I also want to make you money.'” It seems he’s well on his way to achieving that.