Neil Gaiman’s literature has given rise to such acclaimed film adaptations as Coraline and Stardust in the past, and there are a couple of noteworthy projects based on the author’s work currently in the pipeline. One such venture is The Sandman, a big screen take on Gaiman’s touchstone comic book series that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is overseeing. The other is American Gods: a television show based on Gaiman’s multiple award-winning 2001 book of the same name, with Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Hannibal) and Michael Green (Everwood, Heroes) lined up as the showrunners.
The Sandman (at the time of writing this) does not have an official release date, though Gordon-Levitt has continuously provided updates on the project’s progress over the course of the past year (when the occasion calls for it, anyway). Fuller, by comparison, recently indicated that American Gods would be receiving an official green light from Starz, sooner than later. And now, it’s gotten just that.
Previous attempts to bring American Gods to the small screen (through networks such as HBO) have ultimately not worked out, but Starz has now formally green-lit such a show, with Fuller and Green leading the charge and Gaiman helping out as an executive producer. Here is the official statement from Gaiman, included as part of the Starz press release confirming the news:
“I am thrilled, scared, delighted, nervous and a ball of glorious anticipation. The team that is going to bring the world of American Gods to the screen has been assembled like the master criminals in a caper movie: I’m relieved and confident that my baby is in good hands. Now we finally move to the exciting business that fans have been doing for the last dozen years: casting our Shadow, our Wednesday, our Laura…”
The start date for production on American Gods is “dependent on casting the lead role,” according to the official Starz press release. Fuller, however, has suggest this should happen sooner than later, and that it’s not outside the realm of possibility that American Gods‘ main cast could be unveiled as soon as International Comic-Con 2015 (which will take place in San Diego next month). Starz will be hosting a panel for Outlander – which, like American Gods, is a fantasy series adapted from best-selling literature – as well as the upcoming Ash vs. Evil Dead TV show at Comic-Con this year. That is, it’s plausible that an additional American Gods announcement will be made at the event.
For those unfamiliar, here’s the breakdown of Gaiman’s American Gods book, from Starz’ press release:
The plot posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of biblical and 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. Its protagonist, Shadow Moon, is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.
As you can see from that description alone, there’s a relative wealth of mythology for American Gods the TV show to adapt (and change) as it sees fit. Fuller in particular has already demonstrated his talents in the adaptation department, having re-molded Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon novel (and related works) into another sort of monster altogether, in the form of critically-acclaimed cult series Hannibal. Hence, it will be all the more interesting to see what he and Green make of Gaiman’s American Gods literature – which, on its own, is frequently as surreal, imaginative, and downright (creatively) weird as Fuller’s previous television show creations.
American Gods doesn’t have a premiere date yet, but is tentatively expected to debut on Starz in 2016.