American Gods star Orlando Jones talks possible spinoffs from the Starz series and compares Neil Gaiman's world to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The shared universe model has grown exponentially more popular in Hollywood in recent years, arguably due to Marvel Studios' expansive and interconnected superhero world. However, there are a number of other shared universes in various stages of development, including Fox's X-Men, Warner Bros.' DC Extended Universe, Disney and Lucasfilm's Star Wars franchise, Paramount's Transformers and Hasbro film universes, Legendary's MonsterVerse, and Universal's Classic Monster universe - just to name a few.
However, television isn't immune to the shared universe model, ranging from The CW's four-show DC Comics universe to NBC's various Chicago series. Now, with the premiere of Starz's American Gods -- adapted from Neil Gaiman's 2001 novel of the same name -- one star believes the expansive world of new and old gods provides the perfect mythology for a shared universe on par with the MCU.
Screen Rant had the chance to attend a roundtable interview with star Orlando Jones during which he spoke about the fact that there has already been talk of spinoffs even before American Gods season 1 premieres on Starz. When asked which characters he'd like to see get their own spinoffs from American Gods, Jones said:
I really think that all of these characters deserve their own world and planet to come alive in and I’m really hoping that, like the Marvel Universe, that begins to happen -- the Gaiman universe -- just because these are superheroes that I have a different kind of connection with for whatever reason and I’d just be excited to see them come to life.
Following the main plot of Gaiman's book, American Gods season 1 introduces viewers to Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) who takes a job offer from a man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane). Shadow is slowly introduced to a number of olds gods who exist and live in America as they prepare for a war against the new gods. Characters like Jones' Mr. Nancy, the goddess of love Bilquis (Yetide Badaki), the leprechaun Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber), Technical Boy (Bruce Langley), Czernobog (Peter Stormare), Media (Gillian Anderson), and Easter (Kristin Chenoweth) all make up the expansive world of American Gods. However, while these characters are instrumental to the overarching plot of the series, they also exist in their own corners of the world.
Jones said of the opportunity Gaiman's characters and world provide for plenty of interconnecting stories:
There are so many other characters in this show that I think can spin into their own worlds where they’re doing their things and also come back into this world. We’ve obviously seen that a lot on Netflix now where there’s Luke Cage and all these characters in Daredevil are all interchanging with each other’s worlds. This seems like an opportunity to do it even more so in a way that’s I think even a tad more authentic because we all were born of a very specific universe. That’s what I hope happens, I hope we all find ourselves in these different universes up against each other.
Certainly, Netflix's street-level corner of the MCU has been praised for telling compelling stories about each of its individual heroes -- Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and the most recent release Iron Fist -- before they unite in the team-up miniseries The Defenders this summer. But Netflix has also given the green light to a spinoff in the form of The Punisher, so the streaming service is opening up their corner of the MCU even more. Jones makes a good point that the massive universe established in American Gods could provide the jumping off point to tell standalone stories following any of the new or old gods.
Of course, whether that happens remains to be seen. American Gods season 1 is only now gearing up to debut on Starz and any potential spinoffs depend upon the success of the network's flagship series. Early buzz for American Gods has been positive, but we'll know better how viable spinoffs from the show are once the it premieres.
American Gods premieres Sunday April 30 @9pm on Starz.