Season one of American Gods left us at a key moment in the story – and with a long time to wait before we discovered what was next for Shadow (Ricky Whittle) and Mr Wednesday (Ian McShane).
The drama, adapted from Neil Gaiman’s beloved fantasy novel, debuted on Amazon Prime Video in April 2017 and was renewed for a second season shortly after. There have been big changes to the cast and crew since then, including the departure of the series showrunners and star Gillian Anderson.
At least half of the scripts had already been written, but filming had yet to begin. Variety suggested that the pair had quit after clashing with producer Fremantle Media over “budget and direction”. The production company was reportedly concerned about the series becoming vastly more expensive.
The announcement came as a bit of a surprise, because when American Gods was renewed for a second season the duo were enthusiastic.
Emily Browning told RadioTimes.com in June 2017: “They’ve started fleshing it out and mapping out the whole season, but it’s funny because Bryan [Fuller, showrunner] always wants to tell us every single idea that he has about season two which is amazing – we all just sit around rapt with our chins on our hands listening to him like ‘Uhuh, uhuh.’”
Neil Gaiman opted not to replace them, writing on Twitter: “I’m showrunning Good Omens in the UK until next year, then retiring from showrunning and going back to writing novels for a living.”
Who is the new showrunner for American Gods?
Jesse Alexander has joined American Gods as showrunner, taking over from Michael Green and Bryan Fuller. He actually previously worked with Bryan Fuller on shows including Hannibal and Star Trek: Discovery.
Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the production company planned to start over from scratch with Alexander, binning the existing scripts and returning more closely to Gaiman’s novel as the source material.
Here’s the basic concept: American Gods shows a gloriously surreal version of reality based on the concept that immigrants to America over thousands of years have brought their gods with them. Over time they forgot about the gods they once worshiped, abandoning the old deities to the edges of American society.
Now those old gods are fighting back against the newer gods (media, technology) that threaten to destroy them forever. Ex-con Shadow Moon (Whittle) gets thrown right into the middle of this war by his new boss, the mysterious Mr Wednesday (McShane).
In a video announcing the return of the production, Gaiman teased, “Things are going to get darker, things are going to get more dangerous.”
The first eight episodes of American Gods only took us a fifth of the way through the novel, so there’s plenty of material left over for a second season (and a third, fourth and fifth). Speaking ahead of the series premiere,Whittle told RadioTimes.com: “This show really has got legs to go for numerous years.”
But with the book in hand and clues from Twitter, we can make some predictions about what will happen in season two.
We’ll definitely be visiting the Biggest Carousel in the World – found in a tourist attraction known as ‘The House on the Rock‘ in Wisconsin, a bizarre real-life location that was briefly referenced at the end of season one. Here, Shadow and all the gods find themselves inside the mind of Mr Wednesday (or Odin) as his boss tries to rally the Old Gods for war.
Me? What am I doing? Oh, just hanging out with gods and mortals at the House on the Rock. Why, yes, that is the Biggest Carousel in the World. Nothing special. (YES, IT WAS AMAZING. YES, IT WAS AS AMAZING AS YOU WOULD THINK.) @GodsOnAmazon@AmericanGodsSTZpic.twitter.com/BhLEPLTp7d
As the casting announcement reveals, we will also be meeting Sam, short for Samantha Black Crow. In the novel, she’s a hitchhiking college student who is intrigued by Shadow and joins him on part of his journey.
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