We got our first taste of American Gods at San Diego Comic Con, and we need more!
We’re here at San Diego Comic-Con, and Starz brought us the very first American Gods panel Friday, July 22nd. We weren’t really sure there was any way we could be more excited for the show, but we were wrong. In addition to showing a brand new trailer for the show (which we’ll post below), moderator Yvette Nicole Brown was joined by executive producers Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, director David Slade, and several of the show’s main stars: Ricky Whittle (who plays Shadow), Ian McShane (Mr. Wednesday), Yetide Badaki (Bilquis), Pablo Schreiber (Mad Sweeney), and Bruce Langley (Technical Boy), along with surprise guest Neil Gaiman, the author of the novel on which the series is based (Gaiman also executive produces and receives writing credit on the show). Throughout the hour they talked extensively about the show, the characters, the adaptation, and Gaiman and American Gods‘ own special connection with SDCC (he started writing the novel on the way to SDCC in 1999).
Here are five reasons we just can’t wait to see American Gods on Starz:
1. It’s based on a badass book
According to the official summary from Starz:
The plot posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs.
The book, published in 2001, is award-winning and has legions of devotees. It contains themes of faith, materialism, sacrifice, loyalty, betrayal and love, and uses Americana, mythology fantasy. In short, this book has it all. And as well all know, great source material with a great story can make for a great show. If you haven’t read the book, however, have no fear. Co-showrunner Michael Green assures us that you don’t need to have read the book to enjoy and appreciate the show, and that there will be lots of surprises for those who have read the book.
2. Amazing characters
The interesting thing about these guys is that they’re Gods from all over the place, old and new. Norse Gods, Algonquin, Egyptian, African- and the new tech & media Gods. Pablo Schreiber plays Mad Sweeney, a king from an old Irish story who calls himself a “leprechaun”, and it was the fact that the characters are so big that attracted him to American Gods in the first place. Bruce Langley plays Technical Boy, one of the new Gods. After he gushed for a bit about how a character as great as Technical Boy doesn’t often get written for someone of his age or experience, he added, “Keep your eye on him. You never know what he’s going to do.” Yetide Badaki, who plays Bilquis, recounted the scene that she performed for her audition- a scene in which Bilquis devours a man with her vagina. When your characters are set up like that, well, we can’t wait.
“Let’s say the say the star of that scene is ‘Joy’. The one who does the consuming.” -Yetide Badaki
3. A brilliant cast
One of the more exciting things about American Gods is the diversity of the cast. When you’ve got people like Gillian Anderson, Orlando Jones, Cloris Leachman, Dane Cook, Rickey Whittle and Ian McShane all in the same show, if you don’t think to yourself, “I can’t possibly miss this,” then we question your judgement! Ian McShane, was the first and only choice for the role (just one phone call from Fuller to Gaiman about McShane had him saying, “Oh my God, yes.” McShane didn’t even want to come back to television, but said himself at the panel that he was drawn to the show because there was nothing else like it on television due to the sheer diversity of the actors. In every sense of the word, they’re different. The racial makeup of the cast was something that Gaiman himself drew a hard line on. “There was no pushback, there was nothing but absolute agreement, and that’s the way that we’ve been casting it.” Gaiman was involved with the casting and it’s been grueling at times, with actors being seen multiple times. “I know,” said Whittle. “I did 16 [audition tapes].” Fans at the panel were also treated to a casting announcement. Kristen Chenoweth, who won an Emmy in Fuller’s Pushing Daisies, has been cast as the Goddess Easter. Chenoweth isn’t the only Fuller alum in American Gods– Gillian Anderson & Jonathan Tucker, who Fuller worked with on Hannibal, are in the cast. And Fuller said the cast members of Hannibal are always welcome on his show.
Let’s just throw this out there. Bryan Fuller is awesome. We identify with him because he’s just as much of a fan as we are. His shows, while they don’t always run for as long as they should, are always slammed right out of the park (at least as far as we’re concerned). Beyond that, Fuller shows respect for the material while simultaneously having the vision to open up the story. Plus he isn’t afraid to handle topical themes- the show will tackle some tough themes, like gun control, social media, racial divides and women’s rights.
5. Neil Gaiman himself
Gaiman isn’t just the author of the novel on which the series is based- he’s an accomplished writer for television as well (he recently wrote a few episodes of Lucifer). He’s an award winning writer, and having him so deeply involved with the show can only help. The best thing about Gaiman’s involvement, however, is that he seems to know when to step forward and step back. Though he said he was heavily involved with casting at first, at this point he’s stepping back a little.
“I’m getting less involved in casting because it’s gaining its own power and its own identity, and I’m less needed, which makes me very happy, too, because now I get surprised.” -Neil Gaiman
He’s also got unpublished material for the show. He spoke extensively about the great amount of material he had to excise from the book because it was too long, in particular a story about a Japanese internment camp during WWII that he wanted to persuade Fuller to put into season 2 of the show. Fuller immediately said, “I think you should write it.”
The American Gods trailer was one of the best trailers we saw during Comic-Con, and we can’t wait for the series. Great creators, and stellar cast, a cool up-and-coming network- we’re ready, American Gods! Bring it!
Check out the American Gods trailer below and tell us if you’re planning on watching!