The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Community fans were in seventh heaven only a matter of weeks ago, when creator Dan Harmon was rehired to take creative control of Community for its fifth season—following a Harmon-less fourth that most people didn't like very much. We knew season 5 wouldn't involve Chevy Chase (who quit last year), but considering how often the sitcom would marginalise Chase's character that didn't really upset too many fans.
But now Vulture have broken the news that Donald Glover will only appear in five of the thirteen episodes NBC have ordered. This is because the actor wants to spend more time focusing on his music career. Glover's reps apparently cut this deal with Sony Pictures Television, which will also save them some money.
I'm disappointed by this news. No offence to Glover, but I'm not interested in his music career. I'd have preferred to see him appear in all thirteen episodes next year; especially because they're likely to be the show's last hurrah. I mean, how can Community operate without two of its regular characters for the majority of season 5? Are the writers going to bring in direct replacements for both, or just Piers? Will Troy's absence form part of a big storyline, as it would undoubtedly impact Abed's character? I hope the writers find a way to make it work, creatively, but it's a pretty big change of the show's core dynamic. I'm particularly worried about Abed's character, who was one half of a double-act with Troy half the time... although I'm sure Abed will have a funny meta speech about the break-up of a comedy partnership.
What do you make of this? Is Glover crazy for ditching the show after five years, or should we be grateful he agreed to appear in some episodes? Will season 5 work with these enforced changes, even with Dan Harmon around to steer the ship? Do you hope Community uses the opportunity to perhaps bring in some new characters, which may even freshen things up a touch?