The casting news trickling in over the past few weeks for American Gods has been plenty satisfying. ! Ricky Whittle! ! ! It’s even been fun to speculate on who will make appearances in the show based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name. But nothing beats getting a taste of the actual show, which is set to air in early 2017, and today the gods have been gracious!
Entertainment Weekly has an exclusive first look at an early scene in the television show. A scene fans of the book will easily recall as an important one to the beginnings of the story. In these exclusive pictures we can see Shadow (Ricky Whittle), the show’s main character, at Jack’s Crocodile Bar with Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) his new employer. This is where Shadow first meets Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber), a hard drinking, fist fighting Irishmen who calls himself a “Leprechaun,” even though in the book he’s described to be nearly 7 feet tall.
This is a fun scene to get a glimpse of as it rather perfectly encapsulates both the seedy and yet Americana ambiance of the novel, which is somewhat of a road trip type tale as the duo of Shadow and Mr. Wednesday travel throughout America to gather the old gods for a brewing battle against the new ones.
Exec producer Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) had this to say about the scene:
“It was one of the sets that we were the most excited about and an opportunity to do a tonal landgrab for what we are and what the style of the show will be, [Jack’s] is a kind of hillbilly chic aesthetic for Shadow’s entrée into the world of the gods.”
They certainly went big with the crocodile theme of the bar. And Mr. Wednesday casually leaning against the bar as his new employee fights Mad Sweeney is so perfectly in character. Fuller agrees McShane is perfect as Wednesday, saying:
“I think the comedy and charm and ease of Wednesday’s appeal is very well-suited for Ian McShane. He has a vibrancy as Wednesday that could have gone so many different ways in other actors’ hands, but has such a specificity and reality, despite the situation at hand.”
As for the fight between Shadow and Sweeney, it’s a literal rude awakening. Producer Michael Green says Ricky Whittle as Shadow is “very genuine and grounded” adding “we want to watch him be introduced to and beaten up by this new reality.”
Ouch, poor Ricky. But considering his character is meant to serve as a body guard of sorts to Wednesday, it makes sense he’ll be in plenty of fights throughout the show. As for what else we can expect from the show, Fuller praises Neil Gaiman’s writing and the way its set the show up for success.
“Neil created this wonderfully stuffed toy box filled with all sorts of cultural points of view on how American operates as a system, and that was so fascinating and mythological in and of itself.”
In a world full of superheroes (a different sort of American god), who have now made their way to the small screen in the past few years, Green clarifies that this show will stand out.
“It’s really much more of an immigration story than it is a god story. One of the biggest challenges was stripping the idea of gods as X-Men or giant empowered creatures who stomp on cities and throw the oceans. We wanted them to be people with problems. It’s not about lightning bolts – it’s about the question of day-to-day survival.”
Thus far this all sounds like excellent news for fans of the book as it keeps so well with what the novel explores and represents. Not to mention, do we really need another superhero show at the moment? Though, to be fair, Wednesday (or Odin as he’s known more commonly) gets plenty of comic book representation in Thor’s film’s. Gods and heroes will never get old and American Gods could easily become our .
How’s the show look to you? Will you watch it on Starz next year?
“Only the meek get pinched. The bold survive.” – Ferris Bueller