What happened to Jason Mitchell from The Chi?
With the sudden departure of Brandon in the hit, Showtime shows The Chi fans have been left with countless questions. Was Brandon always meant to leave the show in this manner? Did this happen because of his actor Jason Mitchell himself? How will The Chi continue now that its main character is gone?
The truth is nobody would have expected this a few years prior, and there’s no denying that Brandon’s departure is tied to Jason Mitchell’s attitude on set. Today I’ll try to explain what happened with Jason Mitchell, and how this resulted in the drastic changes we saw in Season 3 of The Chi. So get ready for the complete picture of Jason Mitchell’s departure from the show.
Jason Mitchell: Early years
Jason Mitchell was born in New Orleans, Louisiana where he endured life as chaotic as anything we would see on The Chi. His father took his own life during the actor’s childhood a fact that heavily impacted his life. And his family had to endure various economical challenges like losing their property to a hurricane.
By his twenties, the actor was already “tired of it all”, as he explained to the media. Mitchell saw how neighbours and friends ended up in jail; the influence of drugs in the area was undeniable and the actor was done with it.
Choosing to leave that life behind Mitchell went back to his formation and his passions. Mitchell always had an interest in art and was able to relaunch himself as an actor. He got his first role in 2011’s Texas’ Killing Field. But a larger opportunity arrived with Contraband and Dragon Eyes. Mitchell was finally playing named characters, and this was a significant turn in his career.
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The breakout role
Mitchell’s breakout role finally arrived in the movie Straight Outta Compton. After an hour-long interview with director F. Gary Gray Mitchell got the role of rapper Eazy-E.
The biopic catapulted Mitchell’s career and soon he went from an extra to a nominated actor. His performance was universally praised and his career made a 360 Jason Mitchell was now known worldwide and his career looked brighter than ever.
Praise from critics
In 2017 Mitchell performed on Mudbound another historical drama, and once again he received praise from critics and fans alike. Mitchell easily proved that his success was more than accidental. And it was from this height of popularity that he was cast as Brandon Johson, the main character of The Chi.
Jason Mitchell: Life before The Chi
Jason Mitchell’s enrollment in The Chi came at the height of his career in cinema and this meant his tenure as a TV actor was incredibly short. In fact, before The Chi Mitchell had exactly one role on a TV show.
Mitchell’s debut on the small screen was in the year 2015, the same year where Straight Outta Compton was released. However, unlike his big-time silver screen debut, his first role on TV was a one-time character in the police procedural Major Crimes.
While his portrayal of “Twizz” in the episode continued to show his natural talent for dramatic roles, it wasn’t a breakthrough or a recurring role by any stretch of the imagination. And his next TV role would once again prove to be hard to gauge.
In the 2017 to 2018 season, Jason Mitchell would appear in one of the countless Arrow spin-offs developed by the CW. However this time the project would be an animated web series known as Freedom Fighters: The Ray.
While Mitchell got a recurring role in this new show it was now as a voice actor, which only added questions to his future on TV. Nobody doubted that Mitchell was a capable performer, but the transition between film and TV doesn’t work for all actors. Mitchell’s limited selection in TV roles painted doubt on his future performance for The Chi.
Jason Mitchell on an airplane
If the above weren’t enough 2017 was a loaded year for the actor, and he found himself in the middle of a controversy as well. In August of 2017, A recording of Mitchell insulting the staff of Delta Air Lines went viral after he realized someone was already sitting on his first-class seat.
The video quickly went viral but the media eventually elaborated on the situation. Mitchell arrived late to the airport, meaning that his original flight left before he could take it. While Delta was able to relocate him to a later flight there were no more first-class seats available at that point. In short, the whole issue was his fault, and the accusations were completely uncalled for.
With two nominated roles on the big screen, minor ones on TV, and a major controversy in his hands 2018 would have to be a make-or-break year for Mitchell. The Chi would go on to debut with Mitchell as one of the main characters, and his career wouldn’t be the same again.
Role in The Chi: Brandon Johnson
Mitchell’s character in The Chi, Brandon Johnson was in many ways a reflection of his personal journey. Brandon was one of the main characters of the show, one of many lives that was affected by the sudden death of Jason in the series premiere.
Brandon’s life changed not because of his relationship with Jason, but because his brother Coogie was killed after being mistaken for the culprit of said crime. This situation completely turns his life around and pushes the character to the limit.
However, not unlike his actor, this works as a way to push Brandon to break away from the cycle of violence in his neighborhood. Brandon has seen enough of the life in the streets to know the effects it can have on you. But has largely remained away from it, and is now pushed even more to make his path in life.
Brandon is a dedicated man who continuously strives to succeed as a chef as well as to make things right for his girlfriend Jerrika. He’s not free of turmoil or struggles but is someone who does his best to build a better life despite his surroundings.
Brandon’s struggle to remain on the straight path especially as more revelations about Coogie’s death surface is in many ways the crux of the show. And while life wasn’t always easy the character mostly stayed true to these ideals.
Another important character is Quentin on The Chi. This article details what happened to him…
Was Jason Mitchell fired from The Chi
Brandon’s sudden death in the show came as a shock to all viewers, and it left certain doubts in most people. There’s no way to deny the truth, Jason Mitchell got fired from the show due to conflicts that arose as early as the shooting of season 1.
In April of 2019, the first signs of trouble appeared when Mitchell was suddenly fired from the movie Desperados. At the time there was no context to the decision and questions kept piling on. However, trouble only kept on piling for Mitchell from there.
In the same month, he got fired from The Chi as well, and eventually, his agent, manager, and lawyer also left him. The news came as a shock to everybody, but it became immediately clear something big was going on behind the scenes.
It wouldn’t be until May 2019 that the Season 2 Showrunner Ayanna Floyd Davis commented on the topic. Davis commented on various issues that had formed between Jason Mitchell and Tiffany Boone who played his girlfriend on the show.
Mitchell’s first misconduct came when a co-worker accused him of misconduct after they went for drinks after work. There were similar accusations by other members of the staff and heated discussions between Mitchell and the show creator Lena Waithe due to his attitude on set.
However, by far and large, it was Tiffany Boone who was most affected. Boone reported on various occasions that she felt sexually harassed by her co-star and it reached a point where she would feel uncomfortable on any scene that involved Mitchell.
Boone ultimately chose to bring her significant other during shootings to avoid complications. And eventually, she asked to leave the show, a choice that the team respected. It was due to all of these misconducts that the team behind The Chi fired Mitchell. And while the actor tried to defend himself publically in the first few months he has taken a much more subdued attitude in the last year.
Who killed Brandon on The Chi (is Jason Mitchell still alive)?
Brandon’s death in the show was a sudden scene without much if any context behind it. The season 3 premiere opens with his coffin and funerary services, and while grief is in the air there’s next to no explanation of what took his life beyond “the streets of this city”.
With the focus of the show shifting to the remaining members of the ensemble cast, there’s been next to no focus on what caused Brandon’s death. His departure is ultimately a sad but unavoidable aspect of life in the city The Chi presents. And with the actor being completely removed from the productions chances are that the show will never go into detail.
As for the actor himself, the first few months of 2020 proved to be like a carousel. Zola, a film he had been working on since 2018, debuted in January to excellent reviews. However, in April controversy stuck again when he found himself arrested temporarily due to possession charges.
Towards the end of the year, however, various sources confirmed that the actor had decided to focus on his personal growth and health. As of the last statements Mitchell was working with a local doctor in New Orleans to deal with the personal issues that caused so much controversy on set.