Many a "Fan-nibal" is still reeling from the recent conclusion of cult-favorite TV series Hannibal, which was canceled after three seasons on NBC. Fortunately, even if Hannibal season 4 never happens, fans of the show's creator Bryan Fuller already have something else to look forward to: American Gods, the TV show adaptation of Neil Gaiman's popular novel that Fuller is developing for Starz.
Fuller is serving as co-showrunner on American Gods alongside Michael Green (Smallville, Heroes), with Gaiman lined up to help with the writing process of turning his award-winning book into a cable television program. A new update on the project reveals that one of Fuller's key Hannibal production collaborators will also be working behind the scenes on Fuller's latest small screen literary adaptation.
Deadline is reporting that David Slade - the longtime executive producer on Hannibal who also directed a handful of episodes (including the pilot, "Apéritif") - is set to helm the premiere episode for American Gods; like on Hannibal, Slade will both call the shots on additional American Gods season 1 episodes, while also serving as one of the main EPs. Slade, whose film directorial credits include Hard Candy and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, also directed the pilots for Awake and The American Housewife; as far as his cable television experience goes, Slade's resume includes Breaking Bad episode "Open House" (and he recently worked on season 1 of Sony's Powers comic book TV adaptation).
Hannibal certainly benefited from Slade establishing a heightened reality and semi-cinematic aesthetic template from the very beginning of the show's run, and it's fair to presume that he (along with Fuller and Co.) is setting out to accomplish a similar task with the American Gods premiere. Gaiman's source material is rooted in the fantasy genre, but like Hannibal it too explores elements of horror - ones that vary from fairly grounded to much more fantastical in their nature - as well as darkly offbeat comedy, among other things. As such, Slade's involvement comes as welcome news.
Here is an official plot synopsis for the American Gods TV show:
[American Gods] 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.
The highly atmospheric tendencies of Hannibal seem all the more appropriate for an American Gods TV show too, seeing as the world of Gaiman's source novel - like Fuller's take on Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lecter literature - can get (to be blunt) downright weird at times - especially when more gods, undead individuals, and/or similarly supernatural beings enter the equation. Sade seems as good a pick as any to handle such material, now with the greater creative freedom afforded by cable television.
Meanwhile, Fuller has voiced his excitement about getting to examine quite a diverse assortment of deities (brought to life by a similarly diverse cast) and cultural influences through the American Gods narrative - something Hannibal began to do increasingly over the course of its run, in particular during season 3. In short: if you're missing Hannibal, American Gods should help to fill the hole it left behind. There might even be some equally interesting emotional subtext to Fuller's new TV show too, at that...
American Gods is expected to premiere on Starz by either late 2016 or early 2017.