Former Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller's next project is going to be American Gods, a TV series adaptation of the best-selling Neil Gaiman novel of the same name - which Fuller is serving as co-showrunner on, along with Heroes and Everwood alum Michael Green. Gaiman has also been actively involved with development on the TV show as both an executive producer and episode writer; and with American Gods slated to premiere on Starz, the TV series will be able to fully embrace the mature tone and dark fantasy elements of Gaiman's source material, while expanding upon its basic narrative at the same time.
American Gods tells the story of Shadow Moon, a convict fresh out of prison who is hired to serve as the bodyguard (and traveling companion) to a mysterious fellow who calls himself Mr. Wednesday - a fellow who, in reality, is one of the old gods now trekking across the United States in an effort to unite his fellow ancient deities for a war against the "New Gods" of the world: technology, media, celebrity, and so forth. Shadow, being a regular human protagonist, helps to ground that fantastical narrative in Gaiman's source book; as such, it's fitting that he should be the first character in the TV adaptation to be officially cast.
Starz and FremantleMedia North America have officially announced that English actor Ricky Whittle, who many will know best for playing Lincoln on The CW's post-apocalyptic series The 100, is going to be playing Shadow Moon in the American Gods TV series. Furthermore, production on the show is now formally scheduled to begin this upcoming April. Here's the official statement on the casting new issued by Gaiman:
“I'm thrilled that Ricky has been cast as Shadow. His auditions were remarkable. The process of taking a world out of the pages of a book, and putting it onto the screen has begun. American Gods is, at its heart, a book about immigrants, and it seems perfectly appropriate that Shadow will, like so much else, be Coming to America. I'm delighted Ricky will get to embody Shadow. Now the fun starts.”
Whittle, whose resume also includes recurring appearances on such TV series as Hollyoaks and Mistresses as well as appearances in such movies as Austenland, is a promising candidate to play the lead in American Gods based on his past work (though, no doubt fans of The 100 are concerned about what the future holds for Lincoln on the series now). Fuller has also spoken in the past about how the American Gods series naturally lends itself to a "very ethnically diverse cast" - seeing as its character roster includes such deities as Anasi, Czernobog, and Egyptian gods Thoth and Anubis, among others - and Whittle's casting ensures that so much will also hold true for the everyday mortals featured in the series too.
American Gods sounds all the more promising following on the heels of Fuller's work on Hannibal: a show that often pushed the boundaries of what TV is capable of, in terms of both genre conventions and visual style, even within the confines of network television. Starz, as it were, has now quietly put together an eclectic collection of original TV series (Black Sails, Blunt Talk, Outlander) that makes the channel a nice place for American Gods to call home - allowing Fuller and his collaborators to travel even further down the road they paved with Hannibal. One imagines that Hannibal alum David Slade will likewise establish a visually impressive template for the series to follow, with his work on the American Gods premiere - and any additional episodes on the show that he ends up directing, for that matter.
American Gods is expected to debut on Starz by either late 2016 or the first half of 2017. We'll let you know when an official premiere date is set.
Source: Starz and FremantleMedia North America