- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Four years after its acclaimed second season, Atlanta is finally back for its third round, as creator and star Donald Glover sets out to do “something that somebody else couldn’t do.”
“On the first day we wrote down, ‘Do what others can’t’ on the wall and I wanted it to be something where people turned it on like, ‘Oh, we’re happy you’re back,’ because I know it’s hard to come back,” Glover told The Hollywood Reporter of his approach to season three at the show’s Los Angeles premiere on Thursday. “People have been asking me for a long time like, ‘What’s going on?’ I’m like, ‘I’ve got to do something interesting.'”
And he’s confident the Atlanta team achieved that goal, having tweeted in November 2020 that Atlanta‘s third and fourth seasons (the latter of which will wrap up the series this fall) are “some of the best television ever made” and “Sopranos only ones who can touch us.”
“I stand by that, I stand by that 100 percent. I’m holding my nuts on that,” Glover said of that declaration now that the show has been completed. “I think that’s more just a testament to The Sopranos — I really loved that show as a kid, I feel like it has a good mix of stuff, but obviously they’re completely different shows. I think I just appreciated that when I was growing up, it just kind of showed me a lot about how to make something scary but real.”
The star also told reporters that Ryan Gosling nearly appeared as a guest star on the show, who is “a big fan but he had something else and it just didn’t work out. I was so bummed because the part was so great for him, but hopefully it’ll work out some other way.”
After following Glover’s Earn, his cousin Alfred AKA Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), friend Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) and love interest Van (Zazie Beetz) for two seasons in Georgia, season three sees the cast jetting off to Amsterdam for Alfred’s rap tour, and was written almost entirely in 2019 despite much of its timely commentary.
Executive producer Hiro Murai described the new batch of episodes as “a maximalist concept album” and “a really crazy, absurdist collage” and admitted that during the long hiatus there was some doubt that the show would return at all.
“Honestly there was a part of us that thought we were going to be done after the second season, not because we wanted to end it but we didn’t want to make the show if we didn’t have anything to say,” Murai said. “I think Donald and [EP and writer] Steve [Glover] and the writers are always really keen on having enough to say to warrant a season, so it took a while to get enough ideas and things they wanted to say,” also noting that the pandemic delayed shooting an additional 16 months.
One person who was sure the show would return was co-star Brian Tyree Henry, telling THR that the long wait was actually for the best of everyone involved.
“I think Atlanta has this cosmic trip about it that we land and we start and we do things exactly when we’re supposed to — we seem to be just ahead of things, right there on the cusp of things. I feel like we needed that time, all of us individually, to figure out where we are, to figure out what this newfound fame and life was for us so we could come back in a clearer way,” Henry said. “I know I was terrified, I was like I haven’t walked in Alfred’s shoes in a long time, but I was like, he’ll inform me, he’ll tell me what to do, and he definitely did. It was the same wait for us, we were also just like, ‘Man, I wonder when…’ but it happened right on time.”
Henry also weighed in on Glover’s Sopranos comparisons, jokingly reprimanding him with “Donald!” before saying, “I mean I have to agree. When you’re in the middle of the thing, you don’t necessarily know how it impacts people because you’re busy living it and you’re busy going through it. So I don’t think I was ever really clear about the impact that Atlanta had, kind of going through it myself, but listening to the fans and listening to the people, we knew we had a responsibility to come and give you more and be more open and to be funnier and to be truer than ever before, and this world has given us no choice.”
And with season three and four both in the can, Murai gave a tease of how the final season will also look.
“Season four, we’re back in Atlanta again and it was kind of a homecoming season and it was really lovely,” he said. “We got to say goodbye properly to the city and the show, I think it’ll feel a little nostalgic too because I don’t think you’ve seen Atlanta during the summer since season one. It’s kind of like the greatest hits season.”
Ahead of the screening, held at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Glover briefly took the stage to thank the show’s writers and producers and give a plea to the crowd amid early reviews and conversation surrounding the show’s social commentary.
“Try to have fun, because I feel like it’s been so heavy,” he advised. “I’ve been reading so many headlines, and I’m like, but it’s also funny. It’s also funny.”
The first episode of Atlanta‘s third season is now available on FX and Hulu.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day