American Gods, old and new, are coming back to life in the new year, at least on the small screen. It’s timely too, because “the struggles of the gods and the people in Season 3 of American Gods are the struggles of America,” according to author Neil Gaiman.
With former Walking Dead EP Charles “Chic” Eglee in the seemingly ever-changing showrunner seat, the 10-episode new season will take viewers to one of the chiller parts of the divinely inhabited book.
The teasing art work that Starz dropped today reveals not only the debut date of the new season, but a visual reference to Lakeside Clunker Board from Hinzelmann’s shop, a pretty heavy piece of knowledge for fans of the book and the show.
Starting in Chapter Nine of the battling deities novel, Shadow Moon, played by Whittle in American Gods the TV series, finds himself hiding out from the New Gods in a sub-zero Badger State town where mystical forces and the body count both seem to be rising. Icy Lakeside and its mysteries return poignantly later in the book as the war between the Old Gods led by Odin (McShane) and the New Gods of digital media and more heats up.
A war that has apparently taken on new significance for Gaiman in this year of election.
“America must be for all of us, and American Gods must reflect that,” Gaiman said in a manifesto of sorts on the new season of the sometimes-rocky series. “This season truly feels as if it does,” the scribe continues. “It’s full of drama and emotion, the very real and the utterly strange, and it features some of the finest performances the show has yet seen. It brings back favorite characters, some in remarkable new ways, and we will encounter people and gods we’ve never met before. I’m proud of our brilliant cast — of Ricky and Emily, of Yetide and Ian, Bruce, Demore, Omid and all the rest — and of what the writers have done to bring the story back on track.” (Read the full letter below.)
Developed for TV by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, American Gods has seen almost as much drama behind the camera as in front of it since the April 2017 premiere of the show that also originally starred Orlando Jones, Emily Browning, Yetide Badaki, Bruce Langley, Crispin Glover, Kahyun Kim, Omid Abtahi, Mousa Kraish, and Pablo Schreiber.
In a flurry of finances and dark clouds, showrunners Fuller and Green exited the series during pre-production on Season 2. The high-profile duo was replaced by Jesse Alexander, and, to a lesser extent, Gaiman himself in what became a problematic year. The likes of Gillian Anderson and guest Kristin Chenoweth left the Toronto-made show too from Season 1 to Season 2. Additionally, behind-the-scenes sharp elbows and long delays pushed the return to March 2019.
Schreiber, Kraish and most publicly Jones will not be returning for Season 3, which does see Power alum Lela Loren, Devery Jacobs, Blythe Danner, Marilyn Manson, Julia Sweeney and Danny Trejo on the series now. What kind of America that third season will open to next year we will hopefully get a sense of on November 3 — at least in the real world.
Produced by Fremantle, American Gods is executive produced by Eglee, Gaiman, Anne Kenney, Damian Kindler, David Paul Francis, Mark Tinker, McShane, Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk.
Here is Gaiman’s full letter:
When we embarked upon making Season Three of American Gods, we had no idea how timely it would turn out to be. We knew we wanted to return to what people loved and responded to in the book: that it was time for Shadow to go to the little town of Lakeside and try to lose himself in normality.
And at the same time, in Season Three, we wanted to focus on the characters and their journeys. To show Shadow forging a path guided by the Gods of his ancestors, becoming more himself while deciding who he is and what side he’s on — humanity’s or that of the Gods.
We knew also that we wanted to continue to root the show in the landscapes of America. To explore what “America” means to its people and to talk about immigrants — about the very different people who came to this remarkable land and brought their gods with them. The new gods of phone and app and glitter demand our attention and our love, and the old gods want to mean something again.
America must be for all of us, and American Gods must reflect that. This season truly feels as if it does. It’s full of drama and emotion, the very real and the utterly strange, and it features some of the finest performances the show has yet seen. It brings back favorite characters, some in remarkable new ways, and we will encounter people and gods we’ve never met before. I’m proud of our brilliant cast — of Ricky and Emily, of Yetide and Ian, Bruce, Demore, Omid and all the rest — and of what the writers have done to bring the story back on track.
The struggles of the gods and the people in Season Three of American Gods are the struggles of America. We didn’t think it would prove as timely when we plotted it, nor did I think the novel would still be relevant when I wrote it over 20 years ago. But I’m glad it’s happening now, in a year when it feels as though diverse stories are being heard, and honored, and allowed to change the future.
Thank you so much,