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Back in 2015, Community came to an end with a wonderful finale - not entirely shutting down possibilities for the future (six seasons and a movie!), but still providing wonderful send-offs for its characters and delivering a satisfying sense of conclusion. One of the strangest things about it, however, was the fact that former star Yvette Nicole Brown came back to film a cameo, while fan-favorite Donald Glover (who had left one-and-a-half season prior) did not. Fans have spent the time since wondered why the episode didn't feature some kind of return for Troy Barnes, but now we have an answer: Glover turned down the opportunity believing that his time as the character was finished.
Donald Glover took part in the Television Critics Association summer press tour this week, and while he was there to promote his brand new FX series Atlanta, it also happened to be the place where the actor opened up about why he wasn't in the Community finale. According to TVLine, Glover was asked why he didn't return for the conclusion of the beloved comedy show, and after noting that he did get an offer from creator/showrunner Dan Harmon, he basically explained that all things need to have endings. Said the actor,
I think everything should have death clauses in them. Humans have death clauses. Like, thank God, one day, [Donald] Trump is gonna die. That's guaranteed. That's awesome. It's important that things end. I'm glad things end because it forces things to progress. I get really frustrated in the world because I see a lot of things that could be better but aren't better because things haven't died yet... I had so much fun on Community. It wasn't that I wanted to run away from it.
It's certainly not hard to see things from Donald Glover's perspective, as we all have things in our lives to which we eventually need to just say goodbye. That being said, it still would have been nice for him to come back and give fans one last scene with Troy Barnes (particularly if he could have shared it with Danny Pudi's Abed). Instead, we'll just have to live with the thousands of brilliant moments he gave us over the course of the show's first five and a half seasons, and the idea of him sailing around the world with LeVar Burton: