Fans of Neil Gaiman have long been lucky to see a number of the author’s properties adapted to screen with positive results. From Stardust to Coraline, Gaiman’s unique take on fantasy offers a somewhat darker counterpoint to traditional tales of whimsy. Perhaps his two most ambitious and well-regarded works, however, have long been stuck in development. While the film adaptation of Sandman still seems to be moving ahead in fits and starts, American Gods is finally coming to TV later this year on Starz.
Thanks to Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller and Smallville producer Michael Green, American Gods pulled itself out of development hell and began gathering steam last year. The cast was then filled out, with Ricky Whittle (The 100) playing protagonist Shadow Moon and Ian McShane (Deadwood) serving as the mysterious Mr. Wednesday. The story centers around Shadow’s release from prison, subsequent encounter with Wednesday, and a road trip across America that the two embark on in search of gods both old and new. For a story written by an Englishman, the original book serves as a beautiful and bizarre love letter to the tiny pockets of strangeness scattered across the back roads of the United States.
Thanks to CBR, we now know that before the show debuts on Starz in April, it will premiere its first episode at SXSW in Austin, TX this March. The music and film festival runs from March 10–19 this year, with no word yet when American Gods will be showing its pilot. Generally, the film and television portion of the fest happens during the first week, so expect the American Gods event to land sometime in there.
While frequent Hannibal helmsman David Slade will be directing the first episode, and Fuller and Green will handle the script, Gaiman is still heavily involved with American Gods the TV show. That’s good news for fans worried that the series wouldn’t be overseen by its creator. There’s more good news as we know even the elements of the show that will deviate from the book may be coming from Gaiman himself. We recently learned that Corbin Bernsen (Psych) would be playing an updated version of Vulcan (aka Hephaestus), the Roman/Greek god of fire and metalworking. Based on a concept Gaiman generated while traveling through the southern U.S., the new Vulcan will be the god of guns. It looks like the show, much like the book, won’t shy away from touchy subjects.
There’s no word yet on whether the book’s sequel, Anansi Boys, will be incorporated in any way; perhaps that will be saved for Season 2. Though American Gods doesn’t have a premiere date yet, it won’t be long until we know a lot more about it. We recently found out that Nicolas Cage was actually offered the role of Wednesday, so there are likely more great tidbits about the show just waiting to emerge. While that would have been something truly spectacular, McShane’s brief turn on Game of Thrones last season more than reminded us why he’s such a powerhouse performer. All told, this series looks to be a faithful and exciting adaptation of Gaiman’s original work.
American Gods will premiere on Starz sometime in April.