Neil Gaiman is one of the most well-respected fantasy writers of our time, and yet only Stardust and Coraline have gone beyond the printed page.

Well, we can add another one to the list with American Gods – possibly Gaiman’s most critically successful work after Sandman – which is currently being developed as a series for HBO. Recently, HBO’s Michael Lombardo and Richard Plepler talked about fealty to the book and how far along in development the show is.

On whether or not they’ll stick closely to the source material, a la Game of Thrones (courtesy of Collider):

Michael Lombardo: We haven’t gotten out of the business of developing from source material. We haven’t said, “Ah,Game of Thrones, we’re not taking pitches anymore.” I think it’s a challenge, always. We want to satisfy as many of our consumers as we can. But, at the end of the day, what we respond to is great storytelling. We had three psychiatrist shows on at almost the same time. So, all I’m saying is, with source material from the fantasy world – and I don’t know how much you can extrapolate about George R.R. Martin because he’s very unique in the world – some pretty compelling shows can come from genre and source material. We’re open to it, we’re developing it, and we’ll see.

Richard Pepler: The key is what the auteur does with the source material, not the source material itself being dispositive or not. What Alan [Ball] did with Charlaine Harris was masterful. What David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] did with George R.R. Martin was masterful. But, it’s what they did with it.

When asked if they were committed to six seasons of American Gods, as had been previously reported, they said:

Plepler: No, no, no, no, no.

Lombardo: It’s very early development. It hasn’t gotten to the place to even talk about that yet.

Plepler: What happens is that things like that get announced as development projects, and then somebody writes about it, as if there’s a 10-year commitment, and we haven’t even seen a script yet. That happens frequently. It’s in early development.

It seems like the series isn’t quite as far along in development – or even a sure thing – as we had been led to believe. Still, with Tom Hanks’ production company, Playtone (Band of Brothers, John Adams), behind the wheel, one presumes that a more extensive commitment shouldn’t be too difficult.

Neil Gaiman, Author of American Gods

Hopefully, American Gods is a massive success so we can see the cinematic or televised adaptations of Gaiman’s other works, from Sandman to Death: The High Cost of Living to The Graveyard Book and so on. This particular Screen Rant writer would love to see his short story “A Study in Emerald” – which, in short, is Sherlock Holmes meets H.P. Lovecraft – adapted as a film at some point, as well.

Are you disappointed American Gods isn’t as much of a sure thing as we were previously led to believe? Let us know in the comments.

Stay tuned for more American Gods news.

Source: Collider

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.