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October 05, 2017 at 07:31 PM EDT

The Old Gods came to New York City for an American Gods panel at New York Comic Con featuring Ricky Whittle (Shadow Moon), Pablo Schrieber (Mad Sweeney), and Yetide Badaki (Bilquis). The trio avoided any talk of season 2 of the Starz series — “There’s a book!” Whittle joked — but was quick to share stories about experiences on set.

Schrieber and Whittle spoke of filming one of their most challenging scenes, both physically and emotionally: the fight scene in the Crocodile Bar, which took nine hours to shoot. Schrieber head-butting Whittle actually split open Schrieber’s head for real. “All the blood from his nose, that’s fake,” Whittle said. “But there was a massive gash on his head, and that’s real.”

 

Badaki’s challenges were less physical — no fight choreography — and more in creating an interesting, nuanced character. The goal with Bilquis was to find her vulnerability and express her sexuality in way that didn’t rely on the male gaze. “I’ve had men come up to me on the street and say, ‘I like the character, but I’m scared of you,’” she said. “And I thought, yeah. I like that.”  

Another challenge: Badaki almost didn’t make it to set one of the days they were shooting Bilquis’ backstory. Badaki, whose goddess character is homeless and living on the streets for a time, was in full costume and makeup when she was turned away at the set by security: “They didn’t recognize me!”

The second season of the Starz series from showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green was confirmed just two weeks into the run of season 1 and is expected to be released sometime in 2018.

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