Donald Glover on How Fatherhood Has Changed His Approach to Writing 'Atlanta' (Exclusive)
By Stacy Lambe
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When Atlanta first came out, creator and star Donald Glover was a father of one. And now, while speaking with ET’s Nischelle Turner ahead of the premiere of the highly anticipated season 3, how being a father of three has affected his writing.
“I’m just not as cynical,” says Glover, who has three sons with Michelle White, born in 2016, 2018 and 2020. “I think babies, they kind of change you and make you love things. And my sons are like, they are my life. They are a big part of me.”
Not only that, but Glover and the entire cast and creative team have grown up since the series first debuted in 2016. “I think I just grew up a lot over those years,” he says. “When we started, a lot of those people had not written on television before and now they are directing and writing and have gone off and done their own shows.”
He adds, “We all kind of changed a lot. So, I think the show started off as kind of punk and then ended more like, we are grownups about this.”
As a result, the stories told on the series have evolved, with the most noticeable changes still yet to be seen in the fourth and final season of the series, which debuts later this year.
During the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour earlier this year, Glover told ET and other reporters, “There’s some stuff that we changed in season 4 because I think we all changed.”
“We all got older and just went through our life,” he explained at the time. “COVID was a very reflective time. So, all of us kind of grew up. The show’s very punk in a lot of ways, and I think we became more not punk because we cared about stuff.”
When it comes to wrapping up the series, which he previously teased will “end perfectly,” Glover says now that he’s “absolutely” OK with it being over. “They make you appreciate what you’ve got,” he continues. “So we ended up exactly how we wanted. I didn’t feel any pressure to end it. I didn’t feel any pressure to keep it going. So, this is how it ends, I feel very confident about that.”
Of course, there’s still an entire third season to get through before that. Written in 2019, filming of season 3 was pushed back from 2020 to 2021 because of the pandemic. And after four years since season 2 first came out, fans have been eagerly waiting to see what’s to come as the group travels through Europe.
Given how long the journey has been from conception to premiere, “it feels a little surreal, to be honest,” Glover says. “We started it so long ago. Like, having it come on now, it doesn’t even feel right. And we are still working on episodes. Like, I’m still editing things and tweaking things and tidying it up.”
But before fans get worried there’s going to be changes as the remaining eight episodes air, Glover says once he’s done, he done. “I’m not Kanye. I’m not going to work on it while it’s out. I’m going to finish it.”