Coming off of its second season, Atlanta still has more stories to tell, and some of them may include more women taking the lead.
“I think we have some cool ideas in season three that’ll put some more women on screen,” Atlanta writer and producer Stephen Glover — younger brother of creator Donald Glover — told The Hollywood Reporter at the show’s For Your Consideration event. “There’s a very specific perspective from the Atlanta woman that I think we’re gonna explore in season three.”
For the past two seasons, the show has been primarily male-dominated, both onscreen and in the writers room.
Zazie Beetz, who is currently the only female lead on the show, discussed the only female-dominated episode of the season, titled “Champagne Papi,” and her desire to see more women onscreen with her.
“It was so fun having this girl vibe,” the 27-year-old actress, who plays Van, told THR on the black carpet. “There’s no lack of women on the set, but I think in terms of storytelling it is different just like bonding with a woman and playing with that energy in terms of Van’s character. So it is something I would like to continue exploring.”
FX welcomed members of the Television Academy to the Saban Media Center on Friday for a For Your Consideration panel with the cast and creators of Atlanta: Robbin’ Season. Donald and Stephen Glover were joined by director Hiro Murai, writer Stefani Robinson, executive producer Dianne McGunigle and the cast, including Brian Tyree Henry, Lakeith Stanfield and Beetz.
Atlanta follows two cousins working through the Atlanta music scene in hopes of bettering their lives and those of their families. Donald Glover executive produces and stars in the show, along with his brother Stephen, who is the head story editor.
Season two, titled Atlanta: Robbin’ Season, comprises 11 connected yet separate episodes that follow a theme about the various ways a person can be robbed, including time, money, dignity and sense of self.
“We just kind of realized when your back is against the wall, that’s when you really act like you,” Donald Glover told the audience during the panel. “That’s what Robbin’ Season kind of brings out in people. [The characters] decide this season who they really are at the end.”
Before the panel, FX aired two episodes from season two — “North of the Border” and “Teddy Perkins” — that were designed to best exhibit the Robbin’ Season theme and the show’s ability to toy with both the characters’ and audiences’ emotions.
Both episodes are provocative in their own right. “North of the Border” includes a lengthy scene of a pledge class of fraternity brothers entirely naked onscreen (which Glover justified putting on TV with, “We’re fighting the internet, so you better be giving people something they’re not usually gonna see”), while “Teddy Perkins” features Glover in whiteface as the estranged brother of a once-famous pianist.
The cast and creators’ energy was tangible after the screening as they reunited for the first time since hearing the series had been renewed for a third season. They discussed the show’s experimental atmosphere and the writers’ ability to tap into emotions and moments that the cast could relate to, bringing a deeper connection to their characters.
“I think we kind of understand as a group that things are just made of moments,” Glover said, speaking on the show’s tendency to shift narratives with each episode. “We just focus on moments. ‘Cause a good moment can really change an entire episode.”
FX renewed Atlanta for a third season on Thursday, in an expected turn of events. The series has so far garnered two Emmys, two Golden Globes and a Peabody Award.
As for other plans for the upcoming season, the creators remained vague.
“We have some ideas,” Stephen Glover told THR. “We had some episode ideas that we wanted in season two at first and then they didn’t feel right. So we might use one or two of those. We left a lot of things in the air with season two.”
Although the cast has avenues they’d like their characters to explore, they agreed that they don’t try to guess what will happen, because the story will continue to keep them on their toes.
“The more and more that I think I know where my character’s gonna go, the far left we go,” Henry told THR. “So I just try to go in with an open mind and an open heart and just attack it the best way I can.”
Atlanta is set to return to FX in 2019.