Comic-Con

Community Season 5 Scoop: Dan Harmon Talks Donald Glover's 'Devastating' Exit, the Return of Jeff, New Characters and... an Animated Episode!

Community Season 7 Spoilers“A train of pleasure followed by a caboose of pain.”

That’s how Community creator Dan Harmon describes ensemble member Donald Glover’s final five episodes with the NBC comedy (and the Glover-less installments that follow) — and he’s only half-joking.

“It’s devastating. It’s heart-wrenching,” the returning showrunner says of losing a member of the show’s original cast, but makes it clear that the actor “has my full support.”

RELATED | Fall TV Grid: What’s on When — and Versus What

Harmon stopped by TVLine’s Comic-Con suite to share some Season 5 scoop with Michael Ausiello. Among the topics discussed:  an upcoming animated episode (“I don’t think it’ll have a lick of live action”) and the Jeff-Annie attraction (“I think the energy between them is where the power is”), not to mention how he’ll re-introduce Joel McHale’s character, who graduated in last season’s finale, back onto campus (“I want him back at that table. I want him back in those hallways.”).

Press PLAY on the video below, Human Beings, to get all the Greendale goodies (and to watch Harmon’s tongue-in-cheek attempts to start a beef between his predecessors and Ausiello).

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93 Comments
  1. a says:

    I thought he’d appear randomly THROUGHOUT the series not only in the first five UGH MAD AT YOU DONALD GLOVER

    • Midori says:

      Yeah, but he wants to move on from the “will we get renewed or not” that always happens.

      • Topaz says:

        I’m just glad Harmon’s around to handle it. I can’t help it. I really feel for these characters. I feel so attached to them. And if one of them’s leaving I want to feel something about that too. The worst thing that could possibly have happened would have been for Glover to leave and for me to just shrug my shoulders. I know in Harmon’s hands I won’t.

    • Tis a sad day for community. Wish he would rethink leaving Troy and Abed is the best thing on TV! ….if anyone needs me I’ll be on the floor…. In the fetal position…. http://youtu.be/q6vgQote6ps

    • trevogre says:

      So in order to make this work, they need to make Troy a figment of Abed’s imagination. They need to have him have some event that triggers Troy not being there, and then in order to play out the season have him dealing with that and have him gradually emerge into whatever Abed’s true reality is. Ending with all of the characters being someone other than they are and having Troy be real but be his childhood friend that died horribly launching him into his madness. Probably community ends up being an asylum and the study room is group, with Jeff being the psychiatrist. And the Dean being the orderly that gives them all their meds.

  2. Jen says:

    After last season I’m not surprised Glover wanted to leave. His character took like 20 steps back. I’m still sad he won’t be there.

    • a says:

      That breakup with Britta? I’d say he moved forward. If I were to guess, I’d say Glover’s afraid of how backward Harmon is going to make everything. Like it or not, season 4 happened. It seems to me that Harmon, so disgusted with a perfectly good season of television, is going to more-or-less undo everything that season 4 did. Which just doesn’t make sense in the scope of things.

      • Midori says:

        Perfectly good season of TV?

        Are we watching the same show?

      • Roman Cruz says:

        I wouldn’t call Season 4 perfectly good. True, there were spots of brilliance all throughout, and some episodes just felt like true Community episodes. It never reached the highs of the old though,and ended in a pretty disappointing low.

        If we were to all agree that last season’s finale never happened, then I might just be inclined to agree with you.

      • KB says:

        He didn’t move forward with breaking up with Britta. He was already established as a man who could make his own decisions by the end of Season 3. The breakup and the way he did it was a copout because he expected the relationship to be “easy.” This is something Season 1 Troy would have done. Life isn’t easy, and Troy giving up for that reason is dumb in my opinion. If they’d actually shown the relationship and gave them real issues to break up over, and if he broke up with her instead of making Abed do it first, then I could see a point made there. Even the episode with Shirley where he wasn’t any good at being a Phys Ed instructor regressed his character to that old cocky jock, and many other episodes established him only as an appendage of Abed, and his character in past seasons is shown to be so much more than that. Total regression.

      • Topaz says:

        He said himself in the above interview that it’s not satisfying to viewers to just delete everything that’s happened and he won’t do it. He’s trying to balance what the writers did with the characters against his own vision for them. It’s no easy task. Let’s just wait and see how he deals with it.

  3. Liz says:

    I’m excited about this thoughts on Jeff and Annie. Their chemistry is intense and mesmerizing to watch. I know a lot of people don’t agree and that’s fine too though.

  4. ajintexas says:

    At least this guy comes across as human in this interview. Some of the stuff written about him in the past has left a lasting negative impression of him, although it is somewhat deserved. It sucks that Donal glover is leaving. Ruinging the Troy/Abed duo will be the death of this show though unless they pull off some kind of monumental replacement of the Troy character.

  5. Maddy says:

    As long as Troy and Abed end up together, I’m okay with only having Troy for 5 episodes.

  6. Kate says:

    So he knows there’s power in J/A but won’t do anything with them…? Yeah ok that makes sense. Glad Dan’s back though. Shame about Donald but ego does that to people.

  7. ann says:

    i didnt know ronald glover was leaving :/ they should cancel the show..pierce is not on the show either…

  8. Dytallix B says:

    Donald Glover’s leaving IS devastating.

    I feel like such a loser for being so upset about it but Troy has been my favorite since the beginning and it truly does feel like the show is “losing a limb”. I’m kinda glad they’re doing the 5 eps at once and dealing with him leaving (as opposed to all the fakeout absences of Pierce last season). As much as it’s gonna hurt like hell to see him go, this could open up some interesting storylines for Abed and force him to grow up a bit.

    And I do feel much better about the fact that the show is back in Harmon’s hands as he’s the only one I trust to do it justice.

    Still, thinking of Abed without Troy makes me want to cry like I just met Levar Burton – My emotions!!!!

    • Leah says:

      I agree with everything you said! We’re both dorks, lol. It really does break my heart a lot to imagine Abed without Troy. Their relationship is one of my favorites in all of TV. It means so much to me to see a character like Abed on TV and see him portrayed like a human being with friends and real emotions instead of simply being used for punchlines. OMG. Imagine the study table without Troy! The empty chair next to Abed…MYEMOTIONS! MYEMOTIONS!!!

  9. asdfasdf says:

    they should just cancel this show already

  10. M says:

    STOP SAYING JEFF HAS PATERNAL FEELINGS FOR ANNIE. IT IS NOT TRUE.

    • M says:

      ALSO I’M GLAD HE’S NOT DROPPING J/A THOUGH. I’M SAD ABOUT DONALD 8 EPISODES WITHOUT TROY IS GOING TO BE SO HAAAAAARD!!

    • cranberryflower says:

      Pretty sure Dan Harmon knows if that’s true or untrue considering he’s had final say and input on writing the large majority of Jeff’s character.

      Must be hard to see through those shipper goggles. :/

      • Topaz says:

        You can have paternal feelings towards someone and still be sexually attracted to them. That’s why Freud happened.

        • Sheila says:

          Freud didn’t “happen”, he was an actual person!

        • cranberryflower says:

          Oh, Topaz, I don’t dispute that! OP just claimed that there were no paternal feelings towards Annie… which is obviously untrue. It’s blindingly obvious on screen AND Harmon just told us. Trying to deny it is ridiculous. That’s all I meant.

        • Katelynn says:

          Freuds “discoveries.” about sexual paternal feelings have been disproved, take any basic psychology class in Uni and you’ll find that out. Not saying that disproves J/A I love them

      • Karen says:

        That’s a fair comment but I think Jeff does have paternal feelings but he is also very attracted and has feelings for Annie so that’s why its complicated.

  11. JDHetherington says:

    I vote promote one of the supporting players to fill the roles in the study group. Leonard, Fat Neil, Vicki, Todd and Magnitude could all work, if to just provide an easy target to be “the new Pierce” and with Chang being somewhat redeemed, he can fill one of the positions as well. :)

  12. Alex says:

    Wow. Dan has come back only to jump the shark.

    Jeff/Annie is where the power lies? I’m pretty sure Season 4 just goes to how how weirdly Stepford Lolita it feels to entertain them as a reality– not to mention that all their shippers chomping at the bit means the rest of Community’s universe gets almost no attention. Unless of course it’s to wax Brittasophical or to desperately wring out what little magic remains in Trobed.

    You know the show is in a bad state when an actor leaves to go work on a widely panned music career INSTEAD.

    As for Jeff “walking those halls again” and returning to Greendale–
    This is the exact opposite of a Dan quote from Season 2-ish: “We’re not gonna have Jeff become a teacher at Greendale and grow a beard”

    Funny what wearing the Sony studio’s dunce cap will do to your convictions.

    This show has become like a case of alcoholism– at first I denied its condition. I kept watching, hoping the cocktail of fan devotion might stave off its delirium tremens. Then came the Guarasciano/Port 5 step program to sobriety (read: uninspired pandering). Finally, its actors die off like so many failing liquor-soaked organs.
    (This metaphor brought to you by Exasperation™)

    This might read like flaming, but it’s actually heartbreak. Community, you’re a toxic friend. Dan, your name ought to be a verb meaning to lure a show’s fandom into narrative quicksand.

    Delete my number kk

    • Angela says:

      That “Jeff wandering the halls” quote doesn’t automatically mean he’ll be a teacher, though. I don’t know what else he could do, but they could come up with something, they may not go the “teacher” route. That said, though, if they do, this show’s bread and butter has been playing around with clichés, so who knows, they might be able to make it work.
      Regarding Donald leaving…sigh. If the season had been the regular 22 episodes and he only was in five of them, THAT would be really tough. But since there’s only 13, it’ll be a little bit easier to handle-but only a little bit. It’ll be potentially interesting to see how Abed handles the changes and learns to do things without Troy by his side every day, but still, the idea of Abed without Troy is going to be hard to picture and get used to. And we already had one character leave, I don’t want anyone else to go! That’s the big thing that bothers and worries me about the new season.
      As for Jeff and Annie? My feeling is, f they do wind up together, cool, if they don’t, eh, well. Just watching them interact in and of itself is enough for me, ’cause they have a very good platonic/romantic chemistry.
      Guess we’ll see how it all pans out when the show returns.

    • Dan says:

      Widely panned music career? You can’t be serious. Childish Gambino is critically acclaimed and his CAMP album is amazing, as well as the countless free mix tapes he has put out that shows he is one of the top rap artists going around at the moment. You obviously don’t understand rap music or CG music for that matter.

    • Topaz says:

      Oh jeez! Can we please just wait until the first episode airs before we decide Harmon has already failed at everything he ever set out to do in life?

    • Alan says:

      “widely panned music career” are you kidding? childish gambino is one of the best artists out there at the minute, is pretty much the only tolerable rapper in existence and gets nothing but huge praise from critics; sounds like it was panned alright.

  13. But, what about my Troy/Abed bromance? Oh, well. It was fun while it lasted.

  14. ikkusummers says:

    It should be Carl and Abed now that Troy is gone. :(

    • Barbara loves Karl and Abed says:

      I want Karl to be Abed’s new BFF and love interest. Karl “saved” Abed’s life in a video game. Imagine if your best friend online suddenly appeared in real life. Wouldn’t you want to hang out with them all the time? If Abed can’t have Troy he should have someone he has chemistry with like Karl.

  15. Rick says:

    Hate to see Troy go. But since I think these are all actually events happening within the TV-centric mind of Abed (my theory, but admittedly, I’m probably wrong), I think there is potential for them to make the loss of these two characters less devastating. I thought when Fred Willard showed up as Pierce in the beginning of Season 4, it was a hint that the role of Pierce was simply going to be played by a new person, eventually. They will no doubt find a TV-style exit for Troy’s character, which would make it more palatable for Abed to handle.

  16. @dqm says:

    Troy And Abed In The Mooorrrning!????

  17. Discopants says:

    I say they replace Troy a la Darrin on Bewitched and Becky on Roseanne.

  18. Curtis says:

    Pop Pop and Abed in the Morning!

  19. Babybop says:

    I find the whole Jeff/Annie relationship to be very creepy, considering she’s supposed to be my age, and Jeff is supposed to be in his 40s. I’ll watch the show anyways.

    • Erica says:

      JA were creepy when she was 18 then it was wrong as a JA shipper I’ll happily say that. But as Annie grows older the age difference isn’t that big of a deal anymore it’s still there but not as big as a deal now that she is 22. And Jeff is not in his 40’s he is in his mid thirties they have a thirteen year age difference. It’s fine if you don’t like the pairing but I’m happy that Dan seems like he is not going to drop the pairing like Season 4 did.

  20. Gowl says:

    Is he high? This Jeff/Annie will they won’t they isn’t interesting to anyone but the ten fangirls he interacts with on Twitter. That “romance” blows chunks as it only consists of awkward looks going on now for five years. Adults would have either started a relationship or moved on. Waiting this long isn’t romantic, it’s boring and proves there’s no there, there.

    Another trainwreck season of poorly written characters and parody episodes with no character development or coherent plots to look forward to, I see.

    • Erica says:

      I’ll have you know that I’m a JA shipper and I’m 24, and I know many other shippers of this pairing that are not just fan girls some are grown adults.

      • Katherine says:

        You may be a grown adult, but you’re still a fangirl.

        • Erica says:

          What makes me a fan girl you don’t know me personally so what do you know? Liking a ship with a significant age difference is not a crime. It’s not like Jeff and Annie is a ship that has no supporters it’s the most popular ship in the show so I guess in your opinion every shipper who ships JA is a fan girl I think your the immature one here.

    • porque says:

      I’ll have you know it’s happened before ;-;

    • Karen says:

      The writers are just too gutless to go there with J/A. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any attraction/feelings there.

  21. A says:

    It’s sad whenever someone leaves a show but calling it devastating and heart-wrenching is a little much.

    • Topaz says:

      He’s entitled to feel about it however he likes. What, we’re not just going to try and tell Dan Harmon how to write, we’re going to tell him how to process bad news as well?

  22. Jeepers says:

    I’m excited that Dan’s back and think that we need to have faith, Troy might not be gone for good (Dan wasn’t).

  23. #sixseasonsandamovie

  24. shashu1984 says:

    Unlikable? I find him exteremely likable.

  25. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Hi Dan. Or should I say, Hi Jimmy McReputation. You did well. Thanks for doing the interview. For the record, I actually really like hearing from the writers.
    .
    One of the things that saddens me the most about Donald leaving is that I feel like last season Troy and Britta really got screwed up, and I was hoping for some kind of a do-over there. That won’t really be possible now. This won’t be a popular thing to say, but I am kind of annoyed with Donald for quitting. The season is only going to be 13 episodes long. Would it have killed him to finish out the season? Does he not have loyalty to the show and the fans who adore him? His music career is always going to be there, it’s not really a now or never kind of thing.

  26. Joey says:

    Good interview with Dan and good scoop what’s coming up in season 5. Sad Donald is leaving in episode 5. I’ll miss Troy for the rest of the season.

  27. romero sanchez says:

    what I took away from this:
    Get ready for more Fat Neil
    ;D

  28. Erika says:

    Rewatching season 1…Jeff and Britta should be back together!

  29. Ryan says:

    Ah. Grounding the show! Making the characters realistic! I’m so excited! Getting back to the season 1 and 2 roots! Exclamation points!

  30. Lauren says:

    I hope Donald Glover starts doing something new or shows up in something else. I’ve been watching him for years on Derricks Comedy and I was so excited to learn that he was staring on a show. That’s actually the whole REASON why i started to watch Community. Though i think i am missing a whole season or some episodes because i’m a little lost on his character now.

  31. Harmon is back yeahhhh!!!!! says:

    Like everyone else, I am heartbroken that Donald is leaving. It brings an ending to such a great bromance. I also agree with Dan about Jeff and Annie. There relationship has always been one of the most interesting storylines in the entire show. And Dan knows how to give us the right amount of that relationship without having the show be all about them. However, after five seasons I think that relationship could be explored a little further. And with two cast members now gone, it will be an opportune time to see there relationship take a further step. There’s a reason why there is a lot of shippers, and it’s not just cause we want to see them together. Jeff and Annie might be the most interesting characters (Though Abed is the funniest), and there is never a dull moment when they interact with each other.

    • MrFurious says:

      Like everyone else? I couldn’t care less. In fact, good for him. The show started going to hell in Season 3 but everyone seems to forget that as they kneel before the Altar of Dan Harmon and kiss his ring and polish his knob. The show should’ve ended with their graduation, but instead, it somehow gets renewed. Donald Glover is doing the right thing by bailing. Everything Dan Harmon has said is cringe inducing. I have been watching the show since day one but I’m done with it and to be blunt, I’m pretty embarrassed to call myself a ‘Community’ fan after reading comments by the fanboys and fangirls of the show for the last couple of years. I used to tell people to watch the show but now the last thing I want to do is be associated with such a zealous pack of raving lunatics that treat a whiny, alcoholic jerkwad baby narcissist like he’s some kind of diety sent from On High to bless us mere mortals with his comedic genius.

  32. aelx says:

    troy leaving is going to force abed to deal with a lot of different emotions. i am excited to see how is after his best friend is gone.. and i always loved me some annie and jeff. also cannot wait to see what he does with chang. and starburns even, how they showed him alive at the end of season 3. chevy and donald gone is’nt the worst thing ever. if you sit and think for a moment about all the other secondary characters it is kind of exciting to think about ways Harmon can integrate them into the show. it is a show about a community college after all, which is why i like it so much. it opens up the possibilities so that if a character or characters leave, u can shed a little more light on the others. more pillow and blanket forts pleaz

  33. Muller says:

    I hope we will have a paintball theme episode!
    I really miss those!

  34. I’m so angry that donald’s leaving.
    he’s making a huge mistake.
    damn him.

  35. Talonstryk says:

    Season 4 was campy and too cheesy at times, I’m glad DH is back. When he was writing the show was better. I hope Danny does well in his career and it’s going to be rough not seeing him in the show. I’m willing to give season 5 a chance, but if it doesn’t improve I don’t think i can watch anymore.

  36. DONGLOVERLOVER says:

    We’re gonna miss you, DONGLOVER!

  37. Bekah Becker says:

    Jeff could come back as a teacher…he said something about his major that suggested it. There you go, Dan! And don’t try to “replace” Chevy with another old character. Bad idea. Replace him with someone totally new and different. And not sprinkling Donald throughout the series is a good idea. I hated that with Chevy. If he wants to be cut off, cut him off cleanly. Maybe he realizes that he does want to go to air conditioning repair school, but gets an offer from another college entirely. Not City, and not Greendale.

  38. Karen says:

    I hated season 4 so I’m glad Dan is back. I’m sad about Troy. He was the funniest to me. I love Jeff and Annie but I’m ok if they don’t go there with them and I don’t think they will. The writers are too gutless to commit to them because of the age difference and fair enough. Give me ensemble shenanigans!

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  40. Sena says:

    Troy was my favourite character and when i heard about the news of Donald’s leaving, i felt the frustration running through my veins. But still, i believe Dan will make an amazing season for us. No doubt. Six seasons and a movie! Lets say seven seasons (season 4 is not be counted)! And God, please; as Jeff/Annie shippers all we ever wanted was Jeff/Annie like FOREVER. Okay maybe that sounds creepy but lets say “Love has no age”? :) The chemistry between them is so crazy. I can literally feel the butterflies in my stomach when i see moments of them. A super duper season, A lot of Jeff/Annie would be Cool Cool Cool :)

  41. Sook says:

    Jeff and Annie !!!

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