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‘Atlanta’: Donald Glover Says Season 3 Will Be Like Kanye’s ‘Graduation’

Plus, Lakeith Stanfield was "thoroughly convinced" Darius would die.

Donald Glover

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Atlanta” was just renewed for a third season this week, and therefore, the writers’ room hasn’t had time to formally set up yet. But coming off of a bizarre and gruesome season, creator and star Donald Glover revealed that next year won’t be quite as dark.

“I align the seasons I think, to me, like Kanye records,” Glover said at an Emmys FYC screening and panel for the show on Friday night in North Hollywood, CA. “I feel like this is our ‘Graduation.’ This is probably our most accessible but also the realest — an honest version of it — and I feel like the most enjoyable, like the third album.”

“We were all on iMessage together and kind of talking about it, and I think people were really hungry to like beat ourselves, which is great,” said Glover.

His brother, executive producer, and writer Stephen Glover added, “What’s exciting to me is that we can do almost anything… And also, all the writers are very excited to try to top themselves.”

Earlier in the evening, Stephen Glover had spoken to IndieWire about how soon ideas for Season 3 began percolating.

“[The ideas start] when the writers’ room for Season 2 ends,” he said. “Even when we’re shooting Season 2, everybody’s minds are thinking on that type of stuff. Now that the season has ended, it’s finished airing and everything, we’ve just been talking this whole time. Everybody’s coming up with ideas so it never really stops.”

He added that sometimes watching the current season can affect the ideas for the upcoming one.

“It helps us get better at things that we wanted to see. Execution, it helps with that, it helps some of the writers because some of us are young or new,” he said. “So it’s good to see that work and learn from your mistakes a little bit or just think about the things that you want to do next season in comparison.”

Darius’ Dance With Death

Lakeith Stanfield, "Atlanta" Season 2 FYC

Lakeith Stanfield, “Atlanta” Season 2 FYC

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During the Q&A panel moderated by The Ringer’s Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan, Lakeith Stanfield shocked the cast and crew with a personal revelation. After co-star Brian Tyree Henry discussed how Tracy (Khris Davis) appeared as a new friend to the group out of the blue this year, Stanfield made his confession.

“I was thoroughly convinced that Tracy was going to take my place. I thought Darius was going to get killed off and then Tracy would come back,” he said.

It’s true that his character Darius had quite the year. While he was often used as the comic relief in Season 1, that trend continued but with extra dimensions in Season 2. His philosophical side came out more, and then he also had to deal with the nightmare of the eponymous “Teddy Perkins,” which actually did leave him facing down the barrel of a shotgun.

Stanfield went on to explain, “One of the things about this show that I love is that it’s OK to be next to danger all the time. You don’t know what’s going to happen next, and you’re not safe. So I was just ready to sacrifice myself.”

At this point, director Hiro Murai chimed in, “Keith, I hate to tell you this, but you actually died in the ‘Teddy Perkins’ episode.”

This didn’t faze Stanfield at all; in fact, he appeared to be delighted. “I’ll come back [in] Season 3 as a ghost,” he declared.

The first season of “Atlanta” is streaming on Hulu. Season 2 can be watched at FXNetworks.com and FX Now with a cable subscription, or by subscribing to FX Plus.

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