The creative team for American Gods discuss a potential Anansi Boys spinoff. The upcoming Starz series American Gods is based on the 2001 novel by Neil Gaiman that introduces a world in which not only are gods real, but they're at war among themselves. As the world has evolved, the power of the old gods is diminishing as those who believed in and worshipped them shift their focus to new things, like technology and media.
Throughout the first season of American Gods, viewers will meet a number of the gods introduced in Gaiman's book, including Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane), the goddess of love Bilquis (Yetide Badaki), the modern iteration of Anansi who calls himself Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones), Easter (Kristin Chenoweth), Vulcan (Corbin Bernsen), Mr. World (Crispin Glover), Technical Boy (Bruce Langley), Media (Gillian Anderson), and more. With so many characters who come in and out of the American Gods story, talk has already begun about potential spinoffs, but perhaps the most obvious is Anansi Boys - Gaiman's 2005 followup to American Gods that focuses on Mr. Nancy's two sons.
Screen Rant had the chance to attend roundtable interviews with the cast and creative team of American Gods - including Gaiman, Jones, as well as showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green. Each of them expressed interest in an Anansi Boys spinoff, but Gaiman said that the American Gods team don't hold the film rights to the novel:
The rights to Anansi Boys are currently elsewhere, they’re with a couple of UK production companies … who have been working on putting it together for the BBC for a few years. What will happen there remains to be seen. I hope they get to make it, if they don’t, probably the rights will wander back here, unless someone swoops in and decides to make a movie of it first.
The rights to Anansi Boys currently reside with Red Production Company, and it was first announced the company would produce a TV adaptation of Gaiman's novel back in 2014, but there has been little momentum on the project since. It remains to be seen what will happen with Anansi Boys at Red/BBC, but Fuller revealed an adaptation of the 2005 novel is his first choice for an American Gods spinoff:
If we ever get the rights to Anansi Boys, that will be the first spinoff of the show because Orlando is so fantastic and deserves his own show. That character is so rich and has such a giant history that if we are so successful that we get to have a spinoff, [Anansi Boys] would probably be our first choice.
Further throwing his hat into the ring, Jones believes Anansi Boys would make for a compelling series because Mr. Nancy is a modern version of the African trickster god Anansi, who is the spirit of knowledge and stories. Mr. Nancy's ability to weave stories and narratives, Jones argued, makes him the perfect character around which to build a television show - though the actor did concede that in Anansi Boys, "Mr. Nancy’s not really the focus of it, more the impetus to it."
Still, American Gods isn't quite a literal adaptation of Gaiman's novel, and an Anansi Boys series wouldn't have to be either. That said, real discussions of an Anansi Boys spinoff won't be able to start unless Starz and the American Gods creative team are able to get the film rights - and with Red still holding those rights, it's unclear whether that will ever be possibility. However, early buzz for American Gods has been largely positive and if the show is well-received by viewers, it's likely talk of an Anansi Boys show will gain traction - but whether it becomes a reality at BBC or Starz, or elsewhere, remains to be seen.
American Gods premieres Sunday April 30 @9pm on Starz.