Donald Glover's 10 Best Roles, Ranked

Donald Glover is one of the most talented individuals in Hollywood. He's worked as a writer, producer, director, and actor on multiple films and television shows. That's not even including his stand-up comedy routine or his Grammy Award-winning work as rapper Childish Gambino.

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Though Donald Glover has many talents, we're here to look at his filmography as an actor. He began with a few minor roles on 30 Rock, a show he also wrote for, and he has taken off since. With a massive role as Simba in The Lion King coming up soon, now marked a great time to look back on the best character he's ever played.

10 Sandy (Girls)

Girls was a comedy that ran on HBO from 2012 until 2017. It starred Lena Dunham, who also created the series, as Hannah and followed the lives of a group of female friends in New York City. After a critically-acclaimed first season, Lena Dunham was criticized for "whitewashing" the New York City experience.

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So, when season two premiered, Donald Glover was added to the cast as a guest star. He played Sandy, who hooks up with Hannah. It's not a role that lasted long or one that felt memorable, but Glover nails it and has a stellar scene where he mostly improvised an attack on Hannah's white privilege.

9 Andre (Magic Mike XXL)

The first Magic Mike surprised many critics. What seemed like it would just be an eye-candy-heavy stripper film turned out to be a well-received story that did well enough to spawn a sequel. Donald Glover was added to the cast for Magic Mike XXL, alongside many of the stars from the original.

Glover portrayed Andre, an emcee working at the strip club where the stars danced. He spends most of the movie with his shirt off, which was a highlight for many of the viewers. Fans also can't help but love when he gets the opportunity to show off his musical chops.

8 Rich Purnell (The Martian)

The Martian boasts one of the most loaded cast lists in recent memory. Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Sean Bean, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, and Donald Glover are among the talented individuals starring here. In the film, Damon's Mark Watney gets stranded on Mars after his team believes he died during their mission.

When it's discovered that Watney is alive, the folks on Earth scramble to find a way to save him. The person who figures it out is Rich Purnell. He's an astrodynamicist who comes up with the plan that ultimately rescues Purnell. It's a treat to see Glover interact with the rest of this cast, but we wish he got to do more.

7 Jason Rogers (Mystery Team)

Donald Glover's first ever movie role came in the 2009 comedy Mystery Team. Along with his starring performance, Glover also worked as a writer, producer, and composer. It was a film made alongside the rest of his Derrick Comedy buddies, who found fame with their YouTube comedy sketches. This also marked the film debut of the likes of Ellie Kemper and Aubrey Plaza.

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Glover played a member of the Mystery Team named Jason, who was their master of disguise. Though this wasn't a big budget movie, it showed those who saw it that Glover could be a likeable lead. He went on to use those comedic chops in some of his most notable roles.

6 Aaron Davis (Spider-Man: Homecoming)

At one point, there was a big social media campaign to get Donald Glover cast as Spider-Man on the big screen. His fans pushed it hard, though some others were skeptical. While it never ended up happening, Glover provided his audience with a cool moment in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

It's a small role, but Donald Glover makes the most of it. He plays Aaron Davis, a small-time crook who gets interrogated by Spider-Man and hilariously points out how bad a job Peter Parker is doing. It's a comical back and forth that brings a smile to the faces of those watching. Plus, he gets a mention of his nephew, and in the comics, Davis' nephew is future Spider-Man Miles Morales.

5 Teddy Perkins (Atlanta)

Atlanta is Donald Glover's brainchild. He does it all on the FX series, including acting, writing, producing, and directing. However, he stunned viewers with a surprise performance during the Season Two episode "Teddy Perkins." In it, series regular Darius heads to a mansion for a free piano, where he meets the strange Teddy Perkins.

This episode deviated from the usual Atlanta formula and had more of a horror vibe. Teddy Perkins was an odd character with plenty of weird quirks and some terrifying moments. Most fans didn't even realize it was Glover playing him. He was heavily made up to portray him and remained in character throughout all of the filming. It's arguably his most incredible work as an actor and would rank higher if it lasted more than one episode.

4 Deni Maroon (Guava Island)

Like he did with  Atlanta, Donald Glover handled a lot of the work with 2019's Guava Island. He wrote the film and performed his own songs throughout. Guava Island told the story of a young, loving couple living on an island where the residents are oppressed.

Glover plays the lead, Deni Maroon, a musician who wants to throw a festival to help liberate the people of the island. He's charismatic in the role and has electric chemistry with his on-screen lover, Rihanna. Guava Island is shorter than a feature-length film but packs an emotional punch and a big reason for that is the acting of Glover.

3 Lando Calrissian (Solo: A Star Wars Story)

Solo: A Star Wars Story turned out to be a pretty big box office flop. For those who did check out the film, one thing was universally praised and that was the acting of Donald Glover. In this prequel story, Glover had the tall task of playing the iconic Lando Calrissian.

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Billy Dee Williams made the character famous back in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. To fill those shoes as a younger Lando, Glover would have to bring a lot of charisma to the role. He did just that, nailing all of the mannerisms and charm that Williams had. Glover still gave it a bit of his own flair, though, stealing the show in the process.

2 Troy Barnes (Community)

It's the role that helped make Donald Glover into a star. He starred as Troy Barnes on Community for five seasons. Troy was a former high school football star who lost his scholarship due to injury and ended up in community college, where he joined a study group who were the stars of this series.

Though Troy started as a typical jock, he quickly showed off a nerdy side. His friendship with Abed Nadir is one of the best in television history. For his entire run on the show, Troy provides us with some of the biggest laughs and ultimately grows into a man. His exit from the series sees him go off on a trip around the world and is filled with emotional goodbyes.

1 Earnest Marks (Atlanta)

For everything that Donald Glover does on Atlanta, it's still his acting that is at the top of the list. His work as Earnest Marks is unbelievably good. Earn works as a manager for his hip-hop star cousin and continually fails to make his mark or any real money. It's fascinating to watch him play a different character than any other in his filmography.

Donald Glover's excellent performance as Earn was evident from the start. The show's pilot episode, "The Big Bang," featured a Glover who was so impressive that he took home the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Bringing home that kind of hardware makes Earn a clear-cut winner for Glover's best role ever.

NEXT: Community: Troy's 10 Most Memorable Lines

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