Donald Glover's Community Casting Was Masterminded By The Russo Brothers

One thing you could always count on while "Community" was on the air — or during your pandemic rewatch — was a fantastic scene-ending line from Donald Glover's Troy Barnes. There was something just right about his scene outro quips or observations that were the perfect button. In fact, "Community" creator Dan Harmon has stated that his favorite improv line was Glover's "I have the weirdest boner" in season 1, episode 15, "Romantic Expression" after Britta (Gillian Jacobs) and Jeff (Joel McHale) try to convince him that Annie (Alison Brie) is the person he should be dating. 

Glover left the series in the fifth season to work on his musical career as Childish Gambino. He's done, oh, one or two other things in addition to that, like winning two Emmy Awards; creating, starring in, and directing a number of episodes of "Atlanta"; playing Lando Calrissian in "Solo: A Star Wars Story" and adult Simba in "The Lion King"; and co-creating "Swarm." 

In 2022, Harmon did an interview with MSNBC, and he was asked if he had an inkling of how Glover's career would skyrocket while they were working on "Community." He said it was obvious that Glover was a star. Regarding casting, however, Harmon gave credit to Anthony and Joe Russo. They, of course, directed "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "Captain America: Civil War," "Avengers: Infinity War," and "Avengers: Endgame," and were directors and producers for "Community" from 2009-2014.

The Russo brothers: casting geniuses

In the MSNBC interview, Dan Harmon called Glover "a superstar regardless of what point in his trajectory we happened to be encountering him," and added that this was why they cast him. "I'm not even revising my history," he said. "It's not like we found him in the street with a cup in his hand."

As it turns out, it was Joe Russo who saw Glover "doing work on YouTube and things like that." Harmon said: 

"Joe Russo said, 'Let's just cast stars if we can spot them.' You know, let's not worry about who fits the character or what you had in mind; let's just cast people that are clearly going to be stars. And that's a very — the Russo brothers were geniuses in casting. And Donald was a figure that they put in front of me, and then I immediately said, 'Yeah. Absolutely.' And he was clearly a genius. And I've often told stories about how we would, literally, the writers room would, if we were operating at a fast enough pace, we would put at the end of a scene, 'And then Donald says something funny.'"

That's a formula they stuck to pretty often. Harmon said that it was a joke the first time and that the writers were being cynical. Of course, Glover made it work.  "Donald's response would be to riff a line funnier than we could have come up with," Harmon said. Here's hoping that Glover's recent comments that seem to confirm his involvement with the upcoming "Community" movie are true. 

All six seasons of "Community" are currently streaming on Hulu.