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‘Community’ Almost Had a ‘Back to the Future’ Episode From Donald Glover

Community Back to the Future Parody Episode Donald Glover Gillian Jacobs
NBC

The pain of ‘Community”s recent cancellation continually lingers, but who couldn’t use something to make it hurt even more? Amid the cult and critical favorite’s many genre episodes, we’ve learned that the NBC comedy had long attempted to bring to light a ‘Back to the Future‘-themed concept episode at the insistence of departed cast member Donald Glover, though a notable snag prevented the episode from moving forward.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly of her ‘Girlsseason 4 role and ‘Community”s untimely end, Gillian Jacobs reveled in the many untapped ideas that might have fueled a sixth season of the NBC comedy (hey, there’s still hope!), but most notable was that Donald Glover had apparently pushed a ‘Back to the Future’ episode that the writers couldn’t quite break. What was their hangup? Well, time travel is pretty heavy duty, Doc.

I remember Donald always kept trying to figure out how we could do a ‘Back to the Future’ episode without magic, and I don’t think he ever cracked it. But that was sort of a goal for a while. But we couldn’t have actual magic. We tried to not have — well, maybe we got away from that — did we have magic on the show? I don’t know! It’s hard to tell sometimes! [Laughs] Multiple timelines — is that magic? Or is that just, like, advanced science?… I wish Donald had figured out how to do that Back to the Future episode that never happened.

Admittedly, we’re hard-pressed to think how ‘Community’ might have accomplished any kind of time-travel shenanigans beyond some of the fourth season absurdity that culminated in an alternate-reality paintball war, but then again, even Dan Harmon isn’t above dipping into the surreal and imaginary episodes. What do you think? Could ‘Community’ still have a chance to utilize some of its unused episode ideas? How do you think a ‘Back to the Future’ homage might have played out?

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