With Avengers: Infinity War beginning pre-production, an unlikely question has already been asked and answered. Will the next outing from the Russo brothers feature a cameo from a Community cast member? And the answer is an unreserved “Yes!”
If none of that made sense, let’s give you some context: both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War were directed by Anthony and Joseph Russo, who were executive producers on the cult comedy Community. In both their previous movies with Marvel, they snuck in some clever Easter eggs for fans of the show. The first came in the form of D.C. Pierson (a background character in a few Community episodes) as the slightly annoying and geeky Apple store employee in Winter Soldier. The second was main cast member Danny Pudi, who played super-geek Abed, as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent on the Helicarrier. The trend continued when Jim Rash, who played the inept Dean Pelton, played the equally inept Dean of M.I.T and shared a comical exchange with Tony Stark.
With a clear pattern having emerged, the Russos have confirmed that they’ll include a little treat for Community fans in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. Exactly who that will be and who they will play remain to be seen, but here are our Top 15 Community Cameos We Could See In Avengers: Infinity War.
15. Chevy Chase
Easily the most famous cast member at the beginning of the show’s run, Chevy Chase already had a massive body of work behind him when Community began. His time on Saturday Night Live led to major box office success as the star of National Lampoon’s Vacation, Fletch, Spies Like Us, Three Amigos, and a host of ‘80s comedies. Despite getting along with the rest of the cast, Chevy Chase had issues with the showrunners and writers and quit the show after four seasons.
His character, Pierce Hawthorne, was a mature student who joined the group when Britta brought together a study group after Jeff claimed to be a Spanish tutor in order to spend time with her. Pierce was instantly at odds with most of the group due to his out-of-date sensibilities and was often deeply offensive, even when meaning to be sincere. Despite this, he became a close member of the group, showing much affection for Troy and Annie in particular. When he died, he gave most of his money to Troy, feeling that Troy had much to offer the world.
While Chevy Chase has shown great disdain for the show, having said that sitcom television was “the lowest form of television”, he remains a key member of the cast. It’s highly unlikely that the Russo Brothers would include him in their future plans.
14. Ken Jeong
Equally well-known for his role as the gangster Leslie Chow in The Hangover trilogy, funny man Ken Jeong played the sometimes-nemesis of Community‘s study group, Ben Chang. Ben Chang began the show as a permanently angry Spanish teacher, who was discovered to be a fraud with bogus teaching qualifications. He re-enrolled as a student, but quickly began to grow bored in his new role and became a troublemaker.
Taking a part-time job as a security guard at Greendale Community College, Chang grew to love the power of the role and usurped the Dean, replacing him with a lookalike from a local talent agency. He was discovered and went on the run, only to reappear shortly using the name “Kevin” and claiming he had “Changnesia”. By the final season, Chang had given up on his various schemes and settled into the study group as a regular member of the group.
Ken Jeong has built a pretty strong reputation for comedy, having been in all six seasons of Community, as well as The Hangover trilogy and stand-alone movies such as Role Models. He is currently starring in Dr. Ken, which he also writes and co-executive produces. While his schedule is pretty full these days, he’s a fan-favourite for an Avengers cameo.
13. John Oliver
British funny man John Oliver is best known for being the host of HBO’s satirical news show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. His often brutal takedowns of politicians, large corporations, and even whole countries have put him in the same league as Jon Stewart.
On Community, he played Professor Ian Duncan, the amiable friend of lead character Jeff Winger. When Jeff enrolls at Greendale, he asks Duncan for the answers to all the tests for the whole first semester. Duncan agrees, extorts Jeff’s beloved Lexus in the process, and merely hands over an envelope with the word “Booyah” on the last page. He appears sporadically through the first few seasons, both as Jeff’s friend and as a psychology professor. After a hiatus, he comes back in season 5 and happily acknowledges Jeff’s new role as his colleague and the two become close once more.
While very much known for his other work, he still has enough of a link to the show to send Community fans into a frenzy should he cameo. Though, he may be an unlikely choice however as his sheer workload may prevent a gap in his schedule.
12. Rob Courdry
Yes, Rob Courdry appeared on Community. In fact, he was in a few episodes over several seasons as Alan Connor, a totally immoral lawyer and former colleague of main character Jeff Winger. While his appearances were few and far between, he was instrumental in several key moments of the show, including Jeff going back to the school after his law practice failed. Often seen as Jeff’s “Dark Side”, Alan was greedy, morally bankrupt, scheming, and a recovering addict.
Rob Courdry is predominantly known for work on The Daily Show, alongside Jon Stewart, as well as for roles in Hot Tub Time Machine and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, as well as a main role in Ballers, alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Given that his role on Community is less than iconic, he is one of the least likely to appear in Avengers: Infinity War, as the Russos will most likely want one of their bigger stars. However, given that Winter Soldier had 2 cameos, he’s still a possibility if not a strong one.
11. Craig Cackowski
Craig Cackowski is easily one of the most underrated comedy actors of his generation. Hilarious turns in Veep, Drunk History, and Community have earned him a reputation as a man who can deliver a laugh, even when the role is seemingly insignificant. On Community, he played Officer Cackowski (poor guy didn’t even get an actual character name) and appeared in ten episodes across the show’s six seasons. While he played an actual cop, he also moonlighted as campus security, filling whatever role the show needed him to fulfill.
While not one of the better known actors from Community, and not one that is necessarily iconic, he would actually make a fantastic cameo, as he could essentially play the same character once more. He could appear as a background cop during a major battle scene or simply checking Black Widow’s ID when she enters Avengers HQ. In much the same way that Jim Rash essentially played the same role, Craig Cackowski would be an ideal character to reinforce the idea that the Community universe crosses over with the Marvel Universe. (We’ll just ignore the numerous references to Marvel throughout Community’s run…)
10. Jonathan Banks
While veteran actor Jonathan Banks is better known for a wide range of roles, most notably in Breaking Bad, his role in season 5 of Community was short, sweet, and one that made him a fan favourite. Brought in to fill the void left by Chevy Chase as the “Old Guy” of the group, Buzz was a criminology professor, as opposed to the life-long student that Chase’s Pierce Hawthorne had been. He was initially Jeff’s mentor, showing him all the perks of being a teacher, like cutting in the cafeteria line and being able to bully certain students. His softer side came out as the former study group became a campaign group to save Greendale when it faced closure. He bonded with pop-culture obsessed Abed, despite their many differences, and was surprisingly warm towards Annie, who was still fairly naive about the wider world.
Despite only being in Season 5 — his Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul commitments preventing a season 6 return — he is remembered by fans as a rare example of a late addition to an established show that really worked. His gruff exterior and soft center would easily work in an Avengers cameo, possibly as a gruff but experienced S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent, or as a bystander who shares a scene with Stan Lee. The latter idea would be a double cameo, and one that would send many fans to nerdvana!
9. Keith David
Keith David has been a fan-favourite character actor for decades. His career has seen him in wide-ranging roles, opposite Kurt Russel in science fiction masterpiece The Thing and as the trigger-happy general in the fun-but-dumb Armageddon.
On Community, he played former IT genius and pioneer of Virtual Reality Elroy Patashnik. When the novelty of VR faded in the ‘90s, his fame and fortune declined and he took to living in his RV, selling off his old VR headsets to anyone stupid enough to buy one. When Dean Pelton inevitably bought one of Elroy’s devices and became addicted to the VR world, Elroy came to his rescue. Seeing Greendale as a place to make a fresh start, he joined the faculty as the new head of IT.
Despite only being in the sixth and final season, Elroy was well-received by fans. Rather than serving as a replacement for Pierce, Troy, or Shirley, who had left the show, he became a character in his own right and didn’t rely on a forced stereotype.
Known for much more than comedy, he’d be ideal for a Marvel cameo. His gravitas and deep voice would in fact make him ideal for a larger role, which perhaps would make better use of the respected actor.
8. David Neher
If you don’t know who David Neher is, you’re missing out on a gifted comedian. He’s been on all your favourite shows over the last few years and, chances are, you’ve barely noticed him. He’s had appearances on Modern Family, New Girl, How I Met Your Mother, and Funny or Die. He’s a highly respected sketch artist too. In fact, go look him up on IMDB and find a great comedy show he hasn’t popped up in over the last few years– it might be a shorter list.
As Community’s Todd Jacobson, David Neher popped up in numerous episodes as a former soldier who had served in Iraq. His calm and easy-going nature clashed with the main group as their over-the-top personalities couldn’t process his seemingly normal behaviour. When a science experiment was tampered with in class, the group put Todd on a mock trial, which had his former commanding officer arrive to vouch for his outstanding character. He was exonerated, but remained a fringe character for the remainder of the show’s run.
David Neher may not have been a main cast member, but he is recognizable enough to make his appearance in Avengers a lot of fun for fans of the show. And keep an eye out for him in future, with so many guest appearances under his belt, it’s only a matter of time before he breaks out in a big way.
7. Charley Koontz
Charley Koontz first appeared in season 2 of Community as “Fat Neil”, the Dungeons & Dragons fan who befriended the group after Jeff Winger felt bad for coining the “Fat Neil” nickname. After participating in a D&D game with the group, his introverted personality improved and he remained an occasional friend to the study group, although he never joined the main gang.
Neil was seen to be the culprit behind the sabotage of the group’s biology experiment in order to quietly help his crush, Vicki. Despite being vilified for a short time, he was forgiven by all involved and even began to date Vicki, showing a deeply romantic side. Despite being a background character, he showed surprising growth over the show’s run.
Charley Koontz may not be especially well known outside of the show, but his inclusion in Avengers: Infinity War would be a real treat for the fans, especially if it was alongside one of the main cast of the movie.
6. Dino Stamatopoulos
Dino Stamatopoulos played fan-favourite background character Star “My name is Alex!” Burns, famed for his eccentric style and sideburns shaved into distinctive stars. Although the character loved the attention, he hated the nickname and wanted to be remembered for more than his facial hair, insisting people call him Alex. One of the shadiest characters on the show, Starburns was a drug-dealer and thief and even appeared to die when his crystal meth lab exploded. His death and funeral were shown to be felt deeply by the characters on the show, but proved to have been faked in one of his many schemes.
Beyond his role as Starburns, Dino Stamatopoulos is a prolific TV writer, and served as a writer and consulting producer on the show. When Dan Harmon, the creator of Community, was fired from the show, Stamatopoulos quit in an act of solidarity. When Harmon returned for season five, Stamatopoulos returned with him.
He’s currently working on a Kickstarter project alongside Harmon, and is reportedly done with acting, preferring to produce and run his own animation company. He’s highly unlikely to reprise the role in the much hoped for Community movie, so an Avengers cameo might be fans’ last chance to see him onscreen. Sadly, it looks highly unlikely though.
5. Richard Erdman
A prolific actor with a career spanning seven decades, Richard Erdman made his screen debut with a small role in 1944’s Mr. Skeffington and has worked solidly ever since. He played Leonard on Community and was one of the few characters to appear in each season.
Leonard is essentially a harmless old man, but his numerous acts of rebellion make him stand out from the crowd, as does his tendency to heckle lead character Jeff Winger at opportune moments, often receiving the response “Shut up Leonard…” and sending a zinger of an insult back. He is shown to have been a student at Greendale since the 1970’s, but it’s unclear if that has been continuously, or whether he had quit and returned.
Given Erdman’s similar age to the king of cameos, Stan Lee, he would be a perfect complement to Stan’s cameo. If Infinity War does indeed feature the epic destruction fans are expecting, some light relief from the two veteran entertainers may be most welcome.
4. Yvette Nicole Brown
As famous for being a super-fan of The Walking Dead as she is for her role as Shirley on Community, Yvette Nicole Brown is a regular on The Talking Dead. On the Walking Dead after-show, hosted by Chris Hardwick where she dissects the show alongside fans and cast members.
On Community, she played Shirley, the former housewife whose marriage ended just before the series began. She enrolled in college to learn how to begin a small franchise business and ended up being not only a matriarch of the group, but developing close ties to many of the other students too. She became pregnant during the show’s run and for a while it was believed that Ben Chang may have been the father, but Shirley was relieved to discover that her ex-husband is the actual father.
Brown didn’t return for the show’s final season as her father had become unwell and she decided to move closer to him and put him first. She did however appear in two episodes for small cameos and remained on good terms with the cast and crew. If the Russos are looking for a former cast member to cameo, she’d be a very good choice.
3. Gillian Jacobs
One of the primary cast members from the pilot episode until the finale, Gillian Jacobs is a graduate of Julliard School in New York City. Beyond Community, her onscreen credits include Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Good Wife, and her starring role in the Netflix romantic comedy Love.
Her character, Britta Perry, was initially the political activist of the group and seemingly the level-headed one. As the show went on, Britta’s politics became increasingly irrelevant and she used them to mask the emptiness of her life. She dated Jeff, though it was more akin to hooking-up than dating. Eventually, the two settled on a friendship and became genuinely affectionate toward each other in their new capacity. She dated Troy for a while, but the two grew apart after Troy came to the realization that they weren’t meant to be.
Gillian Jacobs is one of the most likely cast members to cameo due to her long association with the show. She remains very popular among fans and has begun to transition to movies anyway, so an Avengers cameo would only help to further her goals.
2. Alison Brie
Easily the cast member that has had the biggest success post-series, Alison Brie has begun to carve out a movie career as a reliable and bankable star. With roles in Mad Men, How to Be Single, Sleeping with Other People, The Lego Movie, and The Five Year Engagement behind her and a slew of upcoming projects, she’s becoming a massive star.
Her role as Annie Edison saw her as a Type-A, straight-laced, studious young lady. She became more relaxed as the show went on, but didn’t get as actively involved with the more immoral hijinks the group sometimes found themselves involved with. She was initially attracted to Troy, having attended the same high school. By the end of the first season, she had grown close to Jeff and the two shared a passionate kiss. The age gap between her and Jeff was addressed several times, with both having strong feelings for the other, but neither being able to overcome it.
Gaining massive popularity with new and old fans alike, Alison Brie is inundated with work right now and could score a major role in a Marvel movie anyway, but we’d take any Brie appearance that we can get.
1. Joel McHale
As Jeff Winger, Joel McHale was the star of the show throughout its run. Having already established himself as a competent sketch and improv actor, McHale landed roles in Diagnosis: Murder, CSI: Miami, and Will & Grace as well as a minor role in Spider-Man 2 prior to Community.
Jeff was central to the show and had the most character development of anyone. He began as an amoral character who was only interested in doing the bare minimum to gain his degree and getting into Britta’s pants. While he succeeded in both of these endeavours, he actually grew to care about the members of the group and went out of his way to ensure their well-being. After graduating and then failing to re-establish his law career, Jeff returned to Greendale as a Law professor. The final series dealt with his realization that the rest of the group was moving on and he was likely to be stuck at Greendale forever. He considers a relationship with Annie, but he knows that if he did, he’d be holding her back from pursuing her dreams and, in a selfless act, lets her go.
Joel McHale is the face of the show, if not the heart and soul as well. Given his high-standing and massive popularity among fans, he’s probably the most likely to be offered a cameo by the Russos. What shape that cameo would take remains to be seen.
Honourable mention: With Donald Glover being heavily-tipped for a major role in Spider-Man: Homecoming, a cameo seems highly unlikely, but possible. It wouldn’t really be a Community cameo if he was playing an established part, however. The same goes for Brie Larson, who was in three episodes as Abed’s girlfriend and has been cast as Captain Marvel.
Got any other Community alumni that would make for an amazing Avengers: Infinity War cameo? Tell us about them in the comments section!
Avengers: Infinity War opens May 4, 2018.