Starz has given the American Gods adaptation a straight-to-series order.
American Gods is a 2001 urban fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman. The novel has been translated in 30 languages since its release and it won the science fiction and fantasy Hugo and Nebula awards. The drama adaptation comes from FremantleMedia North America, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The novel is about the impending battle between old and new gods. The traditional gods with mythological and biblical roots being to lose believers worldwide to the new contemporary gods that reflect society’s love of money, technology, media, drugs, and celebrities.
The novel focuses on Shadow Moon, an ex-con who becomes a bodyguard and a traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday. Mr. Wednesday presents as a conman but is actually an older god who is traveling across the country to recruit forces in preparation for the battle with the new gods, according to Variety.
In a statement about the announcement, Neil Gaiman said, “I am thrilled, scared, delighted, nervous and a ball of glorious anticipation. The team that is going to bring the world of American Gods to the screen has been assembled like the master criminals in a caper movie: I’m relieved and confident that my baby is in good hands. Now we finally move to the exciting business that fans have been doing for the last dozen years: casting our Shadow, our Wednesday, our Laura…”
The series was developed and written by Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller and Kings creator Michael Green. Fuller and Green are also executive producers and showrunners for the adaptation. Gaiman will also executive produce along with FremantleMedia North America’s Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk. Starz will have pay TV and SVOD rights, but Fremantle will distribute the series in the rest of the world, according to Variety.
In an effort to generate buzz for the adaptation, Starz has started the social media hashtag #CastingShadow, asking fans to weigh in on who should play Shadow Moon.
“Starz is committed to bring American Gods to its legions of fans,” said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht in a statement. “With our partners at FremantleMedia and with Bryan, Michael and Neil guiding the project, we hope to create a series that honors the book and does right by the fans, who have been casting it in their minds for years. The search for Shadow begins today!”
American Gods was originally with HBO in 2011 but the project never went forward. Starz put the project in development last summer.
“Almost 15 years ago, Neil Gaiman filled a toy box with gods and magic and we are thrilled to finally crack it open and play,” Fuller and Green said in a statement. “We’re grateful to have Starz above us and FremantleMedia at our backs as we appease the gods, American or otherwise.”
At the ATX Television Festival in Austin, Fuller discussed how the series may differ from the novel, “Neil Gaiman has given us a lot of room to really dig into the characters and he’s shared them with us. It’s an immigration story really, at its heart, so it feels like we can unpack that in a way that allows us to tell a signature story.”
Production on the series will begin as soon as the lead is cast.