Why ‘The Good Place’ Star William Jackson Harper Wants to ‘Move as Far Away From Chidi’ as Possible

The Good Place reigned for four seasons as NBC’s sharp supernatural comedy with lots of heart. Now that the series has ended, William Jackson Harper confessed that he wants to distance himself from his character. Here’s why. [Spoiler warning: The following article contains details about The Good Place Seasons 1 through 4.]

William Jackson Harper as Chidi in 'The Good Place'
William Jackson Harper as Chidi in ‘The Good Place’ | Andrew Eccles/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

‘The Good Place’ put a comedic spin on the afterlife

The creative minds behind The Good Place reinvented the idea of the afterlife and turned it into a side-splitting sitcom. At the center of the narrative were four humans navigating existence after death with the help of immortal beings.

The first episode sets the stage for a wonky plot and introduces the key players. Chronically selfish and recently dead, Eleanor Shellstrop was brought to life on screen by Kristen Bell. Ted Danson and D’Arcy Carden played Michael and Janet, the neighborhood’s Architect and his all-knowing humanoid assistant.

In the otherworldly community, Eleanor mixes it up with her three nearby neighbors. Jameela Jamil and Manny Jacinto portrayed the socialite Tahani Al-Jamil and the Jacksonville Jaguars fan Jason Mendoza. And Harper owned the role of Chidi Anagonye, a former ethics professor and Eleanor’s supposed soulmate.

‘The Good Place’ won over critics and fans

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The witty premise, relatable characters, and a talented cast helped The Good Place develop a loyal fan following in season 1 very quickly. Along with the positive buzz among the audience, the show enjoyed rave reviews from critics.

Rotten Tomatoes reports that The Good Place boasts a winning 89% Average Audience Score. Even more impressive, the show earned a whopping 97% on the Tomatometer, indicating its healthy approval rating by the vast majority of TV critics.

William Jackson Harper is ready to leave Chidi behind

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Despite the wild popularity of The Good Place and its characters, Harper indicated to Deadline that he is prepared to try something very different. Specifically, the actor expressed a keen interest in possibly taking on a villainous role in the near future.

I just want to move as far away from Chidi as I can in the next project, but beyond that, I really just enjoy creating, and I really want something that I can bring something to. And it’s really interesting. When I was doing theater, I played my fair share of villains, so that’s something that I would be interested in. Playing someone that’s a little less sympathetic, someone that doesn’t necessarily have the audience on their side and doesn’t necessarily have something righteous that everyone can identify with. It’s playing something or someone that is tapping into something dark. That’s something that I’m really interested in. Because it’s something that I haven’t done in a little while, but something that I did a fair amount of when I was primarily doing theater, and it’s fun.

William Jackson Harper to Deadline

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