Almost three years after “Community” went off the air, Greendale lives on in one of the most unlikely places: the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“Avengers: Infinity War” and its still untiled 2019 followup, mark the third and fourth Marvel Studios films from sibling directors Joe and Anthony Russo. Before they became masters of the super hero ensemble, though, the Russos perfected small-screen storytelling, helming dozens of episodes of “Community,” including the pilot. As a result, their previous MCU films have each contained a “Community” cameo. That’s a tradition that isn’t going to change, either.
“We would never dismiss our ‘Community’ cameo,” Anthony Russo tells Moviebill. “Those little nuggets are a lot of fun for the audience. I can’t say which film you’ll see it in — whether its Avengers 3 or 4, but keep your eyes open!”
Danny Pudi, who played the pop culture–obsessed Abed Nadir on “Community,” had the series’ first MCU cameo, appearing as a S.H.I.E.L.D. communications officer named Moore in 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”
When the Russos returned for “Captain America: Civil War” in 2016, they brought along their old Dean. Jim Rash, who played Greendale’s Dean Craig Pelton, appears as the unnamed Dean of MIT. Could he actually be the Dean Pelton of the MCU? You’ll have to choose your own headcanon for that one.
It’s also worth noting that Donald Glover, who played Troy Barnes on “Community,” is also established in the MCU, albeit in a film not done by the Russos. The “Atlanta” star played Aaron Davis in last summer’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Behind the scenes, “Community” creator Dan Harmon was brought in to write some scenes for “Doctor Strange” in 2015.
Original Greendale alumni that have yet to appear include Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, Chevy Chase, Gillian Jacobs, Joel McHale and Ken Jeong, any of whom might be making a Marvel movie debut as early as this Friday. Hopefully that will tide over “Community” fans until the day the show finally gets a movie all its own.
Get more exclusive information from the Russos in the first issue of Moviebill, available at Regal Cinemas with “Avengers: Infinity War,” while supplies last!