by RYAN FITZGERALD//Staff Writer
The recent rise in Donald Glover’s stardom seems to have appeared out of the blue.
At age 28, Glover has made his mark in the realms of television, music, stand-up comedy and cinema. His success would be easily replicated under the assumption you have fantastic writing skills, gritty on-stage moxie, an encompassing screen presence, savvy acting chops and some serious, yet off-the-wall, comical awareness.
After graduating from New York University in 2006, Glover started his career writing for NBC’s “30 Rock.” Three years later, he got his start on NBC’s “Community” – a cult sitcom which follows the eccentric and bizarre educational journey of a group of misfit friends who all met while taking classes at a local community college. Behind the Scenes of “Community,” Glover started putting in work as the Childish Gambino – launching his alter ego’s musical career, which garnered Grammy nominations in 2015 for best rap album and performance.
In his most recent television endeavor, “Atlanta,” Glover put FX on the map again with his latest comedy-drama series that follows two cousins navigating the Atlanta rap scene in an effort to prove themselves, while improving the lives of their friends and family around them. As the network’s best new show, “Atlanta” has received nothing but praise from critics and has taken home awards from the Golden Globes, Writers Guild of America, the American Film Institute and even the NAACP.
In 2010, Glover took to the stage to try his hand at stand-up, in his Comedy Central special, “Weirdo.” Glover takes the audience along for a ride through his life, from tales about his childhood adoration for Cocoa Puffs or getting punched in the face by a bum while leaving someone a voicemail to personal observations about fame, relationships and race. Each story is entertaining and spiced up with a selection of grown-up language. The entire show is whimsically crafted and flows well, in contrast to a more traditional stringing together of one-liners.
More recently, Glover has made his way to the silver screen. In 2010, a “Community” fan suggested that Glover be cast as the new Spider-Man, fueling an Internet campaign centered on the widespread use of the #Donald4Spiderman hashtag. Then in 2015, Glover’s path took off in a new direction, drifting away from the music and television careers that he became known for.
Following a string of small roles in “The Lazarus Effect” and “Magic Mike XXL,” Glover emerged as Rich Purnell in “The Martian” – the sleep-deprived, coffee-fueled, awkward NASA astrodynamics engineer who comes up with the way to bring astronaut Mark Whatney (Matt Damon) home from Mars.
Toward the end of 2016, Disney and Lucasfilm announced that Glover had been cast as a young Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Han Solo stand-alone film – where he will take on the role of the sly smuggler and gambler who first owned the Millennium Falcon, was originally portrayed by Billy Dee Williams in the beloved “Star Wars” series during the 1980s.
Most recently, Jon Favreau took to Twitter to announce that his live-action “Lion King,” remake would star Donald Glover voicing the leading role as Simba. Next to James Earl Jones, who will once again voice Mufasa, Glover will bring a youthful spirit back to Disney’s animated classic.
Donald Glover’s stock continues to increase. It’s been confirmed he even has a role in this year’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Maybe a nod to the snubbing Glover took in 2010, when Sony cast Andrew Garfield instead. Nonetheless, Glover, like some pop culture gem, is multifaceted – finding success in all areas of entertainment. It’s as if he can do no wrong. He’s smart, clever and poised to become the decade’s next big Renaissance man.