Welcome to the age of New Media.
A dangerous new deity makes her entrance on Sunday’s American Gods, one who is unfamiliar to both the readers of Neil Gaiman’s novel and the show: New Media, who rises from the digital footsteps of season 1’s Media, played by Gillian Anderson.
In the exclusive EW clip below, New Media, played by Kahyun Kim, emerges fully formed from a digital pool of selfies, emojis, and techno-pop beats. “We really wanted to show this new wave in our generation,” Kim tells EW. “The way she comes out… for me, it was almost like an iPhone coming out for this generation, this new shiny present.”
A precocious and self-assured god, New Media is built from the age of social media, drawing her strength from the millions of “worshippers” who base their happiness, validation, and relationships on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. As soon as she emerges and Mr. World calls her Media, she cockily replies, “Ugh, that’s just so old. This here is new.” She’s different from Anderson’s Media, who emerged from the 20th-century mediums of television, radio, and pop culture, channeling I Love Lucy, David Bowie, and Marilyn Monroe.
“I love Gillian’s work, she is brilliant, and when I read American Gods, [Media] was definitely my favorite character,” Kim says. “When I got to step into this role, it was clear to me that it is very much New Media, a totally different character. It wasn’t that I had to recreate what Gillian was doing, which was very liberating to me.”
New Media will get to wear her own set of costume disguises — in the clip below, she wears a schoolgirl outfit. “She is poppy, she is this Japanese manga thing that people are seeing, but actually when we were discussing the costume, it was more Gwen Stefani, pop culture, like Lady Gaga,” Kim explains.
As an entirely new character, New Media’s role in the impending battle between the Old Gods and the New Gods is unknown, but Kim teases her influence.
“She knows how to manipulate, like social media, and knows how to use people,” Kim says. “She reaches the mass, she has the power of followers — as in worshippers, but also, legit followers — and Mr. World uses that.”