Donald Glover Reveals Why Atlanta Is Ending With Season 4

Sooner or later, all good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, that still applies to a series as inspired and as idiosyncratic as "Atlanta," even if the overall fanbase would gladly stick around for several more seasons of oddball antics from this particular cast of characters. Instead, sadly, we received the news yesterday that the end is much nearer than we ever thought. Many of us never even thought to look ahead and speculate about what might come beyond "Atlanta" season 3, which will finally arrive on FX in a few months after four long years of waiting. As we now know, however, the fourth and final season will arrive later this year in the fall and bring the show to a definitive close. 

As disappointed as fans may feel about the news, what about those involved in actually making it? Well, creator, writer, and star of the show Donald Glover is taking a typically evenhanded perspective, looking back at everything he and his creative team accomplished in giving us some of the most memorable and downright weirdest stories we ever could've imagined.

At the same Television Critics Association panel where FX announced the news of "Atlanta" ending (via Variety), Glover spoke up about why he decided to bring the sprawling stories of his own character Earn, Earn's girlfriend Van (Zazie Beetz), his cousin and aspiring rapper Alfred/Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), and enigmatic weirdo Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) to a close at this point in time.

"Death is natural. I feel like when the conditions are right for something, they happen, and when the conditions aren't right, they don't happen. I don't feel any longevity. Because then things start to get weird. The story was always supposed to be what it was. And the story, it really was us. Everybody in that writers' room, everybody on set. It really was what we were going through and what we talked about ... I think it ends perfectly."

In all honesty, this sounds like exactly the kind of extemporaneous words of wisdom that Darius himself would've monologued about in any episode of the series. Glover obviously has a point here, especially considering the fact that he originally meant to finish the series after its second season. But all that said, never count out "Atlanta" entirely! Even Glover admits he can't close the door on the show entirely. 

'I like keeping my options open'

As episodic as the early seasons of "Atlanta" remained (for the most part), the ongoing storyline of Alfred's music career in "Atlanta" has culminated with a European tour — one that the marketing for season 3 indicates will be full of fish-out-of-water zaniness and the usual sort of off-kilter humor that fans have come to know and love. For Glover's part, seasons 3 and 4 will certainly bring that storyline to a close, but even he can't say whether that'll be the last of "Atlanta" that we'll ever see. 

In describing how open-minded he is to returning to the series at some point down the line, Glover said, "If there's a reason to do it, of course. Like a Christmas special. It always depends. I like keeping my options open." Given how well the series has taken advantage of holidays like Halloween to promote the series in the past, count me in if Glover, his brother and writing partner Stephen, and the rest of the cast are ever able to work out their increasingly busy schedules to do the occasional holiday-themed "Atlanta" special.

Speaking of the rest of the cast, Beetz revealed that the actors knew season 4 would conclude the story.

"I was a little emotional, but I agree with Donald that we're ending on what feels like a peak and not letting it peter out. I think the best thing is knowing when to end it, and knowing when to move on with things. We are all doing other things. But we did all joke and talk about, wouldn't it be funny if 15 years, when we have grandchildren, to come back. But I'm glad I knew it was ending because then I could really lean into the relationships, knowing this was my last chance to play Van. Van changed my life and I loved her."

And for those who take particular joy out of the show's handling of social issues, it sounds like we have much more to look forward to in season 3 and beyond. According to Stephen Glover, "Season 3 is about curses and the curse of whiteness. White people have blind spots, obviously to race and things that are going on. They're affected by this, too."

I, for one, can't wait to savor every remaining episode. "Atlanta" season 3 premieres March 24, 2022, on FX.