The cast and crew of American Gods have offered more insight regarding the show’s story, for those not familiar with Neil Gaiman’s original novel. The American Gods book is part road trip across America, part theology and mythology of numerous cultures, and part war – between beings of extraordinary powers – with humanity unknowingly caught in the middle. Add both a love story and redemption story, and you’ll be getting closer to grasping everything that is being translated to the small screen here.
The eight episode first season is set to cover the first third of the American Gods novel, with plans for a possible second and third season in order to continue the story and provide the conclusion. The American Gods trailers and clips released so far have shown a few scenes that are very familiar to fans of Gaiman’s book, but don’t really explain very much to those who have not read the source material.
To help clarify a few things, Starz made a made a video with the show’s cast and crew – seen above – which gives a little bit of background into the story that they are telling.
The video starts with a clip of Mr. Jacquel greeting a woman who has just died, an immediate demonstration of one god’s ability. Of course, very few of the gods in American Gods – all deities from various religions around the world – use their real names, including Mr. Jacquel.
From there the focus shifts to protagonist Shadow Moon. His introduction – a man released from jail early after learning that his wife has died – is both shown and described by star Ricky Whittle. Book author Neil Gaiman explains where Shadow is after these events. “Shadow is broken. His life has fallen apart. And then he meets a mysterious old hustler.” And with that, we are introduced to Wednesday, who offers Shadow a job.
Executive Producer Michael Green explains that Shadow thought he knew how the world worked, until meeting Wednesday and learning that gods walk among people. Over this is a shot of Czernobog, holding a very bloody sledgehammer. Shadow admits that he might be losing his mind, to which Wednesday replies “There are bigger sacrifices one might be asked to make than going a little mad.”
Now Whittle starts to get to the heart of the story, explaining the rising storm between the new gods – like technology, media, and money – and the gods from various religions. A character original to the show – Corbin Bernsen’s Vulcan – is shown holding a gun saying “The power of fire is firepower.” The battle is further explored by Executive Producer Bryan Fuller, explaining that both gods get their power from worship, which goddess of love Bilquis tries to get her sexual partners to do for her.
Whittle talks about how the original gods are “fading out” while the new ones are worshiped now. Something Shadow gets a glimpse of thanks to Technical Boy, who threatens to delete Shadow. Bruce Langley, who plays Technical Boy explains that without worship, the gods lose their powers and die out. A few more gods are shown at this point; Mad Sweeney and Easter.
Gaiman explains that the story is about Wednesday and Shadow traveling across the country to enlist the old gods for battle against the new gods. A quick montage, during which Shadow asks if something just happens. To which Wednesday replies “It’s still happening.”
American Gods premieres April 30 on Starz.