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William Jackson Harper hops aboard Barry Jenkins' new Underground Railroad Amazon show

Photo: Rachel Luna (Getty Images)

It’s been a rough summer for Chidi fans, as anyone who saw Midsommar can attest; not only did they have to watch William Jackson Harper—who plays The Good Place’s endearingly conflicted ethical philosopher—act like kind of a jerk in Ari Aster’s brightly lit horror opus, but also, well…If you’ve seen the movie, you’ve seen it, yeah?

That discontent is only made harder by the fact that we now know The Good Place will soon be coming to an end, critically limiting our access to Harper’s delightful acting—or maybe not, at least if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber. Deadline reports today that the actor has just signed on for a recurring part in Barry Jenkins’ new show for the streaming provider, an adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s 2016 novel The Underground Railroad.


Harper will play Royal, a freed slave encountered by Cora, the novel/show’s protagonist, who escapes slavery via the Underground Railroad, here literalized as an actual set of underground trains operating beneath the slavers’ feet. Cora herself is being played by Thuso Mbedu, best known for her work on the South African telenovela Is’thunzi. Jenkins, meanwhile is directing the entirety of the limited series.

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