Throughout its second season, The Good Place has dropped hints about a so-called “Eternal Judge,” a fickle figure of cosmic law who supposedly mediates disagreements between the Good Place and the Bad Place. The Judge had previously been described as both mysterious and hard to pin down, but Thursday night’s episode propelled things into a much higher gear, with the quartet of Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason successfully jumping through a portal to face down this Judge and argue for their own salvation.
It’s a major cliff-hanger for all sorts of reasons — what happened to Janet? Will Michael find a way out of the Bad Place? Is there another huge twist on the horizon? — but one question looms largest at the moment: Who will play the Eternal Judge?
“You’re in for a very big treat. You won’t believe it,” Good Place actress Jameela Jamil recently told Vulture. “I’m not allowed to say who it is, but you’re going to shit your pants — sorry, shirt your pants. It’s funny because I asked D’Arcy [Carden] the week before, ‘Who would you most like to work with in the world?’ And she said someone’s name, and then a week later we found out that person would be joining the cast. Now I think D’Arcy’s a witch. I’m not even overhyping it, it’s so insane.”
Because we love some well-informed speculation here at Vulture, we put together the following list of candidates who might pop up as the Judge when the time comes — keeping in mind showrunner Mike Schur’s favorite actors, Jamil’s remarks, and, of course, our dream candidates. Let’s brainstorm, shall we?
Murray ticks all of the boxes for a great a-ha revelation: He’s a comedy icon, he’s adored by all, and he already has a rapport with Schur from his Parks and Recreation cameo as Mayor Gunderson. Just imagine him pacing around in a judicial robe while screaming things like, “The Medium Place isn’t an option!” and “Cross-examination for Tahani!”
Although the majority of Weird Al’s recent acting roles are cameos, allow us to direct you to this video of Carden fawning over an encounter she had with him: “He’s bigger than life!” If we’re taking Jamil’s quotes into account, Weird Al certainly sounds like the person who Carden would like to work alongside more than anyone else in the world, the Good or Bad Place, and beyond.
If Tina Fey wrangled Martin for a witty one-episode stint on 30 Rock, perhaps Schur could entice him to enjoy the Good Place shenanigans as an otherworldy judicial arbiter? Sure, he hasn’t done any TV acting in the decade since playing Liz Lemon’s agoraphobic love interest — aside from the occasional SNL cameo — but his off-kilter sense of humor would be perfect. Maybe he’d even bring his banjo.
True fact: If you cast this Parks and Rec leading lady in your TV show, it’s scientifically proven that she’ll make it 100,000 times better. Poehler has a working relationship with Schur, she’s got the comedy chops to nail such an important role, and she’d fit the “shirt your pants” standard with ease. Sounds plausible to us!
While Schur and Fey’s respective TV universes are distinctive in their own right, this may prove to be a fortuitous time to cross-pollinate for the sake of an even bigger, well, universe. Plus, NBC would love it.
While one might (correctly) argue Oprah would be better suited as God, rather than a mere Eternal Judge, it would be an absolute honor to watch her bang a gavel in her private chambers while Eleanor & Co. bickered for a spot in the Good Place.
Offerman has the rare distinction of appearing in every Schur-created show except for The Good Place — or he did, until that Bad Place slug monster with a suspiciously Ron Swanson–like voice said hi to a fleeing Michael in “Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent.” Now that he’s seemingly done voice work for the show, why not cast the guy himself for such a big revelation? Mustache and/or beard not required.
She isn’t exactly a comedy legend, but who wouldn’t want to work with Meryl Streep? If nothing else, this would be an extra sly tribute to Defending Your Life — and that’s gotta count for something.
Despite having a proclivity to avoid episodic television like the plague, America’s Dad previously delighted us with his fictionalized comedic stylings on 30 Rock back in 2011, and he’s no stranger to NBC airwaves thanks to his nine times hosting Saturday Night Live. Maybe he’ll swing by for a brief judicial cameo? It’s a stretch, but it’s possible.
A doppelgänger Danson would be great because you can never have too much Danson. If you’ll indulge a pet theory, though, what if Michael himself is the Eternal Judge? It’d be an impossibly bold move — not to mention the show’s greatest Wizard of Oz nod yet — and we’re not entirely sure it would even make sense. But The Good Place loves to zig when its supposed to zag, so don’t count this out.