In the 2001 novel American Gods by Neil Gaiman, a man named Shadow Moon is released from prison a few days before his scheduled parole due to the death of his wife. On the plane to her funeral, he meets a mysterious man who goes by the name Mr. Wednesday and eventually accepts a job from him. That is the beginning of Shadow’s adventures across America, where he finds himself caught in the middle of a war between the old gods of various religions and cultures, and the technology, money, and power that are worshiped today.
On April 30, Starz will premiere the first episode of a series based on the novel, starring Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon and Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday. Showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green have been working with Gaiman — who serves as executive producer — to adapt the book. The second trailer for the series was released recently, as were some posters which offered a glimpse of some of the show’s characters — both humans and gods.
Starz has now released the opening credits for the upcoming series, seen above. While not showing any images of the characters or footage from the series, the credits do pay homage to several of the major themes and elements of the series.
Numerous symbols of the various gods and religions are shown, mixed together with representations of modern inventions and innovation. A crucified astronaut. A pyramid whose tip is lit with a bright red light. A menorah whose candle holders have electronic ports inside. Pills spilling around a smiling Buddha. All indicating the upcoming war in the series. Where technology and various modern comforts go head to head with the long-forgotten gods of the immigrants and slaves who came to America a long time ago.
That is not the only imagery worth noting in the credits. There’s also a few cars, which are crucial to the story. As Mr. Wednesday and Shadow attempt to prepare for the war, they travel across America on the strangest of road trips. Due to various dangers and adventures, they change cars often, but nearly always travel by them rather than any form of public transit.
And then there’s all the bright colored lights. The kind you see at roadside attractions, lighting signs and inviting those touring the country to come see whatever small town feature the locals are proud to show off. Not only do Shadow and Mr. Wednesday encounter a number of small towns on their journey, but roadside attractions are also important places. Places of great power for the old gods.
While the credits do not give away any spoilers, they clearly sets the tone of the series. The search across the darkest corners of America, searching for what we once had, amidst the distractions of what we have now.
American Gods premieres on Starz April 30, at 9 pm.