A month remains before the world rediscovers its devotion to the gods — or the American Gods, at least.
Starz’ ambitious adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s cherished fantasy novel is a doozy of a tale, and it helps to know the cast of characters who will tell the story of old gods (brought to America by immigrants), new gods (born in America from technology and consumerism), and the humans caught in the crossfire of both.
Thankfully, the network just dropped a series of explosively neon character posters that should serve as a properly colorful introduction to the main cast, which includes Ricky Whittle as protagonist Shadow Moon and Ian McShane as his partner in clerical crime, Mr. Wednesday.
American Gods comes from executive producers Bryan Fuller and Michael Green and will premiere on April 30 on Starz.
Ricky Whittle, a recently buzzy alum of The CW’s The 100, steps into American Gods’ leading role as Shadow, a convict doing time for a petty crime who’s released from jail on the same day that his waiting wife dies in a car crash. Untethered and unsure what to do next, he’s hired by a mysterious grifter who offers Shadow not only a job but a glimpse into a world where gods of old and new eras exist — and he might be the most important person in their battle for the hearts and minds of America.
Ian McShane’s all-knowing swindler is the audience's conduit into the world of the old gods, all of whom came to America through the prayers of now-fading generations of immigrant believers, and sort of just stuck around. Wednesday has fallen out of favor with many of them, but as the old gods' most vocal de facto leader, he employs Shadow to assist him on a countrywide journey to alert each of the old gods about the coming war for fealty with a new generation of rising, technology-driven gods.
Newcomer Bruce Langley plays one of the most powerful new gods, borne from America’s obsession with technology (beginning in the ‘80s). Always upgrading his look and chasing the precipice of innovation, Technical Boy is among the most significant and influential new gods — and also one of the least respected, making him a high-tech liability.
Meet the ravishing Yetide Badaki, who gives life to the American manifestation of the goddess Queen of Sheba. In modern times, she’s figured out how to use prostitution to feed her need for sexual worship, but it can only help her survive on her own for so long.
Shadow’s morally ambiguous wife (Emily Browning) wasn’t a happy spouse in life, but it’s only through death that she awakes from numbness and discovers a way to make up for the misdoings of her time spent with limbs intact.
Not all of the old gods are struggling to make their way in America. Enter Easter (Kristin Chenoweth), who has more than mastered her place in the country and is doing far better than most of her fellow deities.
Don’t expect to learn too much about the de facto figurehead of the new gods, but expect Crispin Glover to go full creep as the mysterious villain who is a threat to the existence of both sides of this war of worship.
To understand this Slavic deity of darkness is to see him swing his mighty hammer and claim lives in the bloodiest of ways. Though Czernobog (Peter Stormare) is wholly intimidating, he’s also a fair player and a reluctant old friend of Mr. Wednesday.