[Header image courtesy of Starz.]
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is a cult classic among fantasy nerds. Published in 2001, it collected a smorgasbord of awards, including a Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy award.
And now for a quick visit to the Department of Backstory.
The book is a blend of traditional myth and folklore and modern Americana. The novel follows a newly released convict, Shadow, who takes a job as a bodyguard for the mysterious Mr. Wednesday.
As they travel across the country, Shadow pieces together Wednesday’s true identity, an incarnation of the god Odin. Gods in Gaiman’s world operate on the power of belief. As more and more people forget the legends of the old world, the older powers are fading to be replaced by new beliefs in the power of the new American Gods, like the Technical Boy and Media. Wednesday is recruiting the old gods of myth and legend to fight the new gods in a final showdown. I won’t spoil the ending because I’m not a sadist, but there are plenty of twists and turns involved.
Sounds great, right? So why the hell has it taken fifteen years for someone somewhere to put this on a screen?
There has been talk of bringing Gaiman’s cosmic conflict to television for a while, but HBO ran into trouble writing a suitable script for the adaptation and eventually let its development rights expire — though to be fair, if you were busy filming and producing Game of Thrones, you might have a few other things on your mind, too.
Starz greenlit the project in June 2015, with producers Michael Green and Brian Fuller confirming that the show would be set to release in January of 2017. You heard me right, any of you fannibals out there, this is the same Brian Fuller of Hannibal fame. Fuller also confirmed that he and Gaiman had been cranking away on writing the script and I have to say, if you’re struggling with adapting a novel for television, getting the author on the script writing team is probably a good idea.
The casting roster is also cause for excitement. Our main character Shadow is being played by Ricky Whittle, who some of you may recognize from his most recent stint playing Lincoln on The 100. You also might know him as the beautiful Captain East from the comedy Austenland. If you haven’t seen it and enjoy laughing so hard that you cry, you should probably stop reading this and go watch it right the hell now.
Starring alongside Whittle is the talented Ian McShane (Deadwood, American Horror Story, Game of Thrones) as Mr. Wednesday and Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow) as Mr. Nancy, Gaiman’s interpretation of Anansi the trickster. Other standouts include Emily Browning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Sucker Punch) as Shadow’s dead wife Laura Moon, and Pablo Schreiber (otherwise known as Pornstache on Orange is the New Black) as Mad Sweeney.
In June, it was announced that Gillian Anderson had also joined the cast as Media, one of the titular “American Gods.” This will be a reunion for Anderson and Fuller, who previously collaborated when Anderson played psychiatrist Bedelia Du Maurier on Hannibal.
With such an outstanding team, we at SciFi4Me can only foresee great things for this upcoming miniseries and we will keep you posted as development moves forward.
Signing off for now!