SDCC’s Friday slate gave us a first look at the Starz’s American Gods television show, adapted by Bryan Fuller, Michael Green and David Slade, from Neil Gaiman’s iconic novel. The show took over a packed room, introducing a beautiful new trailer. Attending the panel were co-showrunners Fuller and Green, director/producer David Slade, actors Bruce Langley, Yetide Badaki, Pablo Schreiber, Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane and Gaiman himself. Yvette Nicole Brown moderated the event.
Gaiman kicked things off by first revealing the book’s connection to SDCC, in that he originally wrote the book’s first chapter on a train ride to SDCC in 1999, a trip that lasted three days. “It’s so glorious that sort of round two of American Gods, the television version, is happening today”, he remarked.
When it comes to book versus show, Fuller and Green assured that they would compliment each other. “For those who haven’t, we’ll take care of you,” assured Fuller. “You come to this TV first/book second, book first/TV second, you’re in good hands.” Gaiman commented that if you’ve read the book, the show is constructed so that “you’ll be ahead of the people who’ve not read the book. But we have surprises for you too. But of course, we get to spend time with a lot more characters on the show.”
For the cast, joining the show was a no brainer when it came to the caliber of the cast and material at hand. “This incredible team of Michael Green, Bryan Fuller, Neil Gaiman, David Slade, Starz, FreemantleMedia- they’ve come up with this incredible team of fantastic departments. Not just the people you see here, but Emily Browning couldn’t be here today because she’s filming stuff, Jonathan Tucker, and Gillian Anderson- I could be here for hours listing the incredible talent,” said star Ricky Whittle.
“To start with source material like this is the richest playground you can have. Bryan, Michael, and the cast, I think we all just feel incredibly lucky to get to play in this world,” added Schreiber.
Fuller surprised the crowd when he revealed that Kristin Chenoweth would be playing the goddess Easter. “The first time I saw Kristin Chenoweth perform was actually her last performance as Glinda in Wicked. Very strangely, I got amazing seats and the poor woman came down in a bubble and couldn’t get two notes out because everybody was up on their feet applauding and I was like ‘what is the big deal?’ Then she started singing and I said ‘Oh’” Fuller recounted.
The panel also discussed that the show tackles important issues such as gun control, women’s rights, social media and racial divides amongst other. “These things become real if you put your time, passion and faith into it,” said Green, “and we’re in a very strange place in America right now. That’s not to say that we’re doing a show that has religion in it, there’s an assumption that we’re going to crack on religion and that’s not it. We come at it with a lot of reverence.”
American Gods debuts next year on Starz, check out the first stunning footage below.