Fans of the Starz series American Gods will be champing at the bit to finally get eyes on a second season. The show’s hiatus since the first season ended has been fraught with drama, delays and upset. Although the first offering was met with critical acclaim – this was mainly down to the striking visuals and fearless narrative that accompanied the slightly odd themes. Despite this, former showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green have not been a part of American Gods season 2.
The reasoning behind this change in personnel is not exactly clear. However, it certainly indicates that the production has not been a smooth process. Nevertheless, the second season of American Gods has been completed and is scheduled to air on 11th March 2019 on Amazon Prime Video. After indulging in all 8 episodes from the first season, we were excited and strangely drawn to the prospect of an American Gods season 2 premiere screening event. Here’s what happened.
Held in the glitzy Soho hotel in London, we were treated to an actors Q & A and a screening of the first two episodes. Being interviewed were Ian McShane (Mr. Wednesday), Emily Browning (Laura Moon), and Ricky Whittle (Shadow Moon). It was clear that the three had been told to keep tight-lipped about any potential spoilers, although Ian gave the audience plenty to mull over; he mostly talked about how American Gods season 2 would be better/different from the first.
What’s new about American Gods Season 2?
Hosted by Jamie East, the short but sweet question and answer session threw up a few bits of interesting info. It was nice to see Ian McShane so enthused about the upcoming season, he’s even in an executive producer role from now on.
“Aren’t you just glad that we’re back on the f*cking air! If you enjoyed the first series I think this [season 2] is better, actually, it gets back to the book.”
Remarks Ian to the audience’s delight.
“I think the second season should never be the same as the first anyway, and you have to get back more to the characters like him [Ricky] and her [Emily]. There was too much that got away from the Gods and I think this season you get more of the terrific actors who are in the show, who get to interact with each other.”
A relationship that really flourished in an unexpected way during season 1 was Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) and Laura Moon (Emily Browning). Their journey and time together really struck a chord with viewers and critics alike. When talking about how the two of them are portrayed in season 2 Browning said:
“It definitely evolves, but you know I still throw him around a bit – antagonising one another. Laura’s arc is very different this season, I think the first season was just her, she had Shadow as her North Star and she was myopic and Sweeney was kind of a nuisance for her. Her arc shifts a little bit after she meets Mr. Wednesday.”
American Gods season 2 finds itself starting at a place called ‘The House on the Rock’. A real-life tourist attraction that coincidentally fits the American Gods aesthetic to a T. Here’s what Ricky Whittle had to say about their time spent filming there:
“It’s a very famous part of the book and at the end of the day we’re kinda taking you along this timeline of Neil Gaiman’s, deviating a little bit to keep it fresh, but you’ve got this incredible place that is a real house in Wisconsin. It’s insane, and I still don’t think it translates here or that we’re gonna do it justice. Of all the CGI and special effects we’ve got you’re gonna think we’ve done something in that house and everything in that house is real. It’s bizarre.”
Amongst all the speculation of screenrunners and writers being fired during the hiatus, talk of cast updates really slipped under the radar. Apart from the big name departure of Gillian Anderson (who played a Marilyn Monroe inspired depiction of the world’s media in season 1) little was mentioned. But who is going to be present in American Gods season 2?
“Nancy, Bilquist, Ibis” says Ian, “They’re the old characters” chimes in Emily. “Yeah but you really haven’t met them much, I mean you only had the one scene with Orlando [Mr. Nancy] who’s phenomenal. And you have that great scene on the slave ship and then he just disappeared after that.”
Delving deeper into the question about new characters, Emily and Ricky go on to say:
“We do also have some really cool new characters and new actors like Sakina Jaffrey who’s playing Mama Ji and who is just amazing. Kahyun Kim is playing New Media” describes Emily. “You have Devery Jacobs who plays Sam Crow – a first nation character that Neil put into the show and Dean Winters also. We had a lot of characters that were in the book and that fans were looking forward to seeing because at the end of the day we are following the book” Explains Ricky.
A question everybody wants to know the answer to is what were the production problems down to?
“Hubris, money, greed, sex, love. Who knows?” – Ian
The Q & A finished up with this juicy bit of news about the American Gods season 2 finale. McShane even went on to confirm plans that a third season could definitely be on the cards!
“Then it became how do we end the show again? How do we set the stage for series 3? And I think yeah, we did not a bad job on it. The last episode is really about Ricky, who finds out two enormous things. He finds out two revelations and it’s how he deals with them in series 3.”
What’s set to happen in American Gods season 2?
So, to sum up we learnt quite a lot from American Gods season 2 premiere about the cast and the upcoming storylines. Picking up just a few hours after the end of the first season, we find Shadow et al. in the House on the Rock. As the story progresses, we’re led to believe that the finishing point for this season will happen in Cairo, Illinois. This is potentially not even to the halfway point in Gaiman’s novel.
Much of the initial winning formula remains the same but with a few additional cast members. Shadow initially becomes separated from the others, but viewers will be delighted to see the inexplicably captivating connection between Mad Sweeney and Laura back in full swing.
In terms of how much staying power the series has, well, with all the problems they’ve had it seems precarious at best. But like Mr. Wednesday will tell you in the show, it all depends on how much you believe.