Fall TV Mystery: Who Will Community Cast as the Greendale Gang's New Professor?

School’s out for summer on NBC’s Community, but when Greendale’s elite study group returns for Season 3 come Sept. 22, which class will its members have in common? We got our hands on some casting intel that suggests Joel McHale’s Jeff Winger and his buddies are headed for a crash course in biology — with a brand new professor. The show’s casting department is looking for an African-American male in his late 30s or early 40s to fill the role. He’s said to be an “imposing,” sometimes scary guy who has just been released from jail — but is actually a darn good educator. Here, TVLine provides a few suggestions:

Common | Attention Community casting department: This is your man! In fact, anyone who saw Common score laughs as a corrupt cop opposite Steve Carell and Tina Fey in 2010′s Date Night has to wonder if Community‘s writers were envisioning the musician-turned-actor when they dreamed up this new role.

Idris Elba | He’s been a big bad boss on The Office, so we know he fits in on NBC’s Thursday night lineup. And he’s been a big bad druglord on HBO’s The Wire, so we know he can handle that whole “imposing” character thing. But can he handle going toe-to-toe with the big bad hosts of Troy and Abed in the Morning? Something tells us the answer is yes.

Morris Chestnut | Fresh off his stint as a scaly-skinned Visitor on ABC’s V, Chestnut could use a comedic palate cleanser — perhaps in the Greendale College dining hall.

Djimon Hounsou | That accent alone is enough send shivers up the spines of the Community gang — and make the girls weak in the knees. Added bonus: Perhaps the addition of an Academy Award nominee to the cast will help Community avoid getting snubbed at the 2012 Emmys.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson | He’s part pro-wrestler, part Tooth Fairy — with a massive physical presence that’d be extra-imposing in a cramped, classroom setting. Plus, dude has more charm in his little (raised) eyebrow than most of us can muster up in a lifetime. Yep, here’s a casting choice who could take some names, kick some ass, and make us laugh.

Eriq La Salle | If ER‘s Dr. Carter can battle aliens over on TNT’s Falling Skies, we can certainly imagine Dr. Benton busting the chops of Greendale’s finest. It’s been years since La Salle’s had a substantial television role — let alone one that requires showcasing that megawatt smile of his — so why not return to the Peacock’s Thursday-night lineup and have some fun again?

Tyra Banks | So, she doesn’t fit the exact casting description (you know, being a lady and all), but who is more imposing — and more of a self-proclaimed “teacher” (um, America’s Next Top Model?!) — than this onetime catwalker? Added bonus: Anyone who follows McHale’s work on The Soup knows he’s got quite the past with Ty-Ty, so seeing these two play off of each other could be comedy gold.

Okay, TVLine readers, it’s your turn. Hit the comments with your suggestions for Community‘s next great professor.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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68 Comments
  1. Erin says:

    I would prefer that Dwyane Johnson (The Rock) was not cast in this role. Not because I don’t like him, but because I’m partial to the idea of him being cast as Shadow in HBO’s American Gods. I know, I know – You think I’m crazy, but I really think he could pull it off. He’s actually a better actor than people give him credit for!

  2. Matt says:

    Ludacris

  3. M says:

    Michael Clarke Duncan

  4. ggny says:

    swing for the fences Community go after Dave Chappelle

    • el says:

      Chappelle would be pretty amazing, and since they have a lot of comedians hanging around maybe it’s not so far-fetched. But he’s in no way imposing, he’d have to be scary in the Ben Linus way instead.

  5. Eline says:

    I vote Eriq LaSalle! It’s always great to see the original ER cast back on TV.

  6. B says:

    Terry Crews

  7. Ross says:

    Samuel L. Jackson- who else can scare the stuffing out of a class.
    Billy D. Williams- could give Jeff a run for the Smooth operator title.

    And a wild card (and one that, excluding the description) that popped into my mind- Jonathan Winters.

  8. rich says:

    Wood Harris?

  9. Jamie says:

    Maybe a dumb suggestion, but since community is a very meta show, I feel like they should get Danny Glover to play the role. They make the Danny/Donald Glover joke outside of the show alot, so they should incorporate it into the show somehow.

  10. Ryan says:

    Wendy Williams.

  11. Joe says:

    isaiah washington

  12. dodo says:

    Have you seen Chappelle lately?

  13. Will says:

    The moment I read the description the one name that popped into my head was Wesley Snipes. The only problem is that they’d have to postpone filming for his episodes until 2013..

    Besides Snipes, the best candidate for this role is the newly unemployed Andre Braugher.

  14. Joe says:

    adewale akinnuoye-agbaje!

  15. Jess says:

    As soon as I read the description, I thought Idris Elba…but what about Tim Meadows? What’s he up to?

  16. cheryl says:

    LOLed at the Tyra suggestion…totally worth a bit of plot revamp.

  17. Ben P. says:

    He might be a few years older than what they have in mind, but I would submit one Chi McBride for consideration.

  18. Chuck Bartowski says:

    Gotta say, you guys are makin’ some excellent suggestions. Some of you even said exactly I was thinking.

    MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN – “I assume you find me imposing? I was going for imposing” (props to whoever knows what that means)

    TERRY CREWS – How awesome would he be? absolutely hilarious. especially if he just got out of jail! he’s on that Ice Cube show though, so who knows…

    TOP CHOICE
    *TIM MEADOWS*!!! Spot on! He’d fit right in with all of them. I’m gonna go ahead and guess that they’ll choose him.

  19. Chuck Bartowski says:

    If they want, they could even go with the OLD SPICE guy: Mr. ISAIAH MUSTAFA!

    Gosh I hope Dan Harmon is reading these suggestions…

  20. Amber says:

    If they’re looking for someone who can play wise, yet intimidating, I think those who suggested Michael Clarke Duncan, Samuel Jackson and Danny Glover had the best ideas. May I also add James Earl Jones. Michael Clarke Duncan seems like the one they would have the easiest time getting though.

  21. Joe Blow says:

    Gotta go with Eamonn Walker (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eamonn_Walker) or (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0907708/).

    He may be older in real life, but he definitely plays younger on TV and in Films. The guy has made a living playing “imposing” African-Americans, especially including his most famous role of Kareem Siad, the teacher and leader of the Muslim prison gang on HBO’s OZ.

    Checklist:
    - African-American
    - Imposing Presence
    - Previous Experience (both Convict and Inspiring Educator)

  22. Flo says:

    Wayne Brady

  23. Charles J says:

    A relatively-unknown actor that I think could do well is Charles Parnell. He made quite an impression on me in his episode of FRINGE. He can play good and bad well. If he can do comedy too, then, he’s good. Also FRINGE-related, Andre Royo could do COMMUNITY-like unhinged very well. For sheer intimidation, one can do no wrong by hiring Bill Duke.

    • NeedleKind says:

      I would love to see Andre Royo do this. He made a magnificent straight man (comedically, anyway) on his episode of Party Down.

  24. Mikos says:

    If they’re gonna cast a female I’d much rather see Regina King – I love her but I don’t see her enough.
    And I know she can do the funny.

  25. G77 says:

    Ving Rhames would be a good choice.

  26. Christie says:

    I’d be all over Dwayne Johnson being on Community. I would laugh my butt off just seeing him there.

    I think Tyra’s handlers might maim Joel–plus, I watched her horrific “acting” on Gossip Girl, and Community is just too good for that.

  27. Me says:

    Terry Crews would be AWESOME! Or, perhaps the REAL most interesting man in the world, Isaiah Mustafa. Though if you want imposing, Chiwetel Ejiofor. The Operative, enough said.

    • Informantxgirl says:

      Chiwetel Ejiofor “The Operative”. Took the words RIGHT OUT OF MY MIND. (Did the Alliance get to you?)

      He’s too hot for his own good, but man, can he menacing.

      Or, if he’s out, Richard Brooks – Jubal Early himself! He does quietly menacing so extremely well. And you know he can spout reams and reams of academic-sounding stuff very convincingly. :) Love him!

  28. Snsetblaze says:

    Well I just read that Andre Braugher is now available.

  29. Snsetblaze says:

    Wendell Pierce (Dectective Bunk on the Wire), Clark Peters (Detective Lester Freamon on The Wire) or – and most particularly Michael K. Williams who was Omar Little on The Wire.

  30. Justin says:

    Damon Wayans Jr. He can do three shows, right?

    • Cloudy Knight says:

      Is he going to do both of those shows? Is that even possible? They’re both 1/2 hour sitcoms with, I assume, 22 episodes planned.

    • Gretchen says:

      Except that he’s about 10-15 years too young :-) Oh, and he’s only doing Happy Endings, his role on New Girl has been recast for the second episode :-)

  31. Matt says:

    How about?

    My first choice
    Dennis Haysbert
    -he is certainly imposing (see 24)
    -he can do comedy (see Major League)

    My second choice
    Harold Perrineau

  32. kaitlyn says:

    Tyra Banks?! Lmfao, remember in ‘Mixology Certification’ when Annie mentioned how Troy and Tyra Banks shared a birthday; the second her name left Annie’s mouth Jeff responded with, “UUUUGGGGHHHHH!”. LOL. But yeah, Terry Crews would be pretty ideal. TROY AND ABED IN THE MORRRNINNGGGGGGGGG.

  33. Mafalda Neto says:

    DONALD FAISON!

  34. hello says:

    Keegan Michael Key

  35. hello says:

    David Allen Grier

  36. hello says:

    Terry Crews

  37. @teamadam76 says:

    Venus flytrap from WKRP – remember when he explained to us how neutrons using rival gangs? That was magical.

  38. ruby says:

    i really hope it is Idris Elba

  39. Benjamin Carr says:

    Levar Burton.

  40. Alex says:

    Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching a lot of Stargate lately, but I immediately thought of Christopher Judge. I’d LOVE to see that, actually!

  41. D says:

    What about Reg E. Cathey? I always found him subtly imposing and terrible as Querns in Oz, plus I can already picture him telling to students “D0n’t f&@k with the professor”.

  42. C says:

    Wayne Brady

    Or

    Jimmie Walker

  43. Rd says:

    PLEASEEEEEE DO TYRAAAAAAAAA .
    or DANNY GLOVER