creator David Simon has claimed ‘was not happy’ when he found out his character was being written out of the series.
The Baltimore-based series first made its appearance on HBO in 2002 and ran for five seasons until 2008, and fans have hailed it the
Idris played Stringer Bell, shrewd drug lord and second-in-command to powerful antagonist Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris).
Stringer’s role turned from second in the chain to controlling the Barksdale Organisation in the third season, during Avon’s imprisonment, but, towards the end of the season, in a shocking moment, Stringer is murdered, and the final two seasons of the HBO drama continue without him.
In an interview with Associated Press, David reflected on Idris’ exit, saying it happened just ‘when people were really starting to discover what a leading man he was.’
‘When he read the script… he was like, “Man, I can’t believe I’m leaving the show,’” recalled David. ‘Like, he was not happy.’
He continued: ‘And I remember talking with him over the script and saying, “Idris, you’re going to have movie roles. You’re going to be an A-lister.
“People are going to get a load of this death, they’re going to acquire this story arc in retrospect – this is your calling card, man. You’re going to do fine.”‘
Of course, Idris did go on to do more than ‘fine’ after his exit from The Wire in 2004.
From his Luther fame to recently voicing Sonic, the Nelson Mandela actor even went on to gain four Golden Globe nominations and five Primetime Emmy Awards.
Before becoming a household name, the star made numerous appearances on British TV shows, including Channel 5 soap Family Affairs, and he previously confessed that the experience remains close to his heart.
‘At the time Channel 5 didn’t have lots of viewers,’ he explained.
‘Few thousand, probably? But because they were a new channel they were courageous, they put lots of new young actors on screen, and I hold the experience close to my heart. It was a time that exploded my confidence.’
Elsewhere in the interview, celebrating 20 years of The Wire, David reflected on the lack of television opportunities for black actors when the series debuted in 2002.
‘There just wasn’t enough content being generated,’ he said.
‘That’s been ameliorated somewhat by the changes in the industry and also by the weight of content, by how much we’re doing.’
The Wire is available to watch on Sky and NOW.