Season 2 of American Gods, debuting on March 10, picks up ongoing squabbles between the Old Gods and New Gods.

“I think Season 2 is really a great way back to the book, which I thought we got away from in Season 1,” Ian McShane, who plays Mr. Wednesday, told rapt TV critics at TCAWe needed to get back to the book … and the characters we become invested in. Season 2 does that.”

Should there be a Season 3, McShane said, it can go “wherever it wants, so long as it’s true to the roots. It’s not Harry Potter and it’s not the Marvel universe.”

Speaking of Season 3, shortly before the TCA, a source close to production on the series told Deadline’s Dominic Patten that a renewal is likely, saying “We didn’t make Season 2 of American Gods not to make a Season 3.”

American Gods is based on the 2001 novel by Neil Gaiman, who is series EP and was on the TCA panel with McShane.

“I read the book again, and I was very moved,” McShane told Gaiman. “The first time was for practical reasons, when I got offered the part.”

For his part, Gaiman thinks Season 2 “feels like the same show we had for Season 1.”

American Gods

He credited the “amazing actors” and behind-the-camera crew, who did not change. “It still looks and feels like American Gods.

The No. 1 concern for a Season 3 of the FremantleMedia North America-produced show is the near-overwhelming issue of timing, Patten wrote. No one involved wants a repeat of the nearly two-year gap between the series premiere and Season 2’s March 10 debut. To that end, sources say, in the search for a new showrunner includes emphasis on someone with a “rock-solid blueprint in place.”

At the American Gods TCA panel, Gaiman acknowledged it’s taken “awhile” to get to Season 2, “but it takes a while to get good things out and we’d rather have it good than have it quicker – though we’d rather have it quicker too.”

McShane got asked how he keeps up his pace on his various projects, also including David Milch’s upcoming Deadwood movie for HBO.

“Good genes, and drugs,” he answered simply. He added that he is mourning “the loss of Albert” — who, McShane wanted TV critics to know, “was 10 years older than me, but always an inspiration.”

“He liked to work,” McShane said of Albert Finney, who died last week at 82.

Starz

Still taking about his energy level and work schedule, McShane called TCA “part of the fun and games” but drew the line at awards ceremonies, calling them “the most boring f*cking things in the world.”

“Did you see the BAFTAs last Sunday?!” he ranted. “Why did they even have to vote? Roma is such a work of art.”

American Gods stars Ricky Whittle (The 100Nappily Ever After) as Shadow Moon and McShane (Deadwood, John Wick) as Mr. Wednesday. The one-hour drama centers on a war brewing between Old Gods and New Gods, as the traditional gods of mythological roots from around the world steadily lose believers. Their challengers are an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs.

In Season 2, the battle moves toward a crisis point, as the destinies of gods and men collide. While Mr. World plots revenge for the attack against him in the first season, Shadow throws in his lot with Wednesday’s attempt to convince the Old Gods of the case for full-out war, with Laura and Mad Sweeney in tow.