American Gods' Neil Gaiman pens letter on season 3's relevancy: 'America must be for everyone'
The "Godsfather" of the show (author of the original novel and executive producer on the series adaptation) penned a letter that touches on the newfound relevancy of the story in the current climate.
"When we embarked upon making season 3 of American Gods, we had no idea how timely it would turn out to be," Gaiman writes. "We knew we wanted to return to what people loved and responded to in the book: that it was time for Shadow to go to the little town of Lakeside and try to lose himself in normality. And at the same time, in season 3, we wanted to focus on the characters and their journeys. To show Shadow forging a path guided by the Gods of his ancestors, becoming more himself while deciding who he is and what side he's on — humanity's or that of the Gods."
Gaimain continues, "We knew also that we wanted to continue to root the show in the landscapes of America. To explore what 'America' means to its people and to talk about immigrants — about the very different people who came to this remarkable land and brought their gods with them. The new gods of phone and app and glitter demand our attention and our love, and the old gods want to mean something again. America must be for all of us, and American Gods must reflect that. This season truly feels as if it does. It's full of drama and emotion, the very real and the utterly strange, and it features some of the finest performances the show has yet seen. It brings back favorite characters, some in remarkable new ways, and we will encounter people and gods we've never met before. I'm proud of our brilliant cast — of Ricky and Emily, of Yetide and Ian, Bruce, Demore, Omid and all the rest — and of what the writers have done to bring the story back on track."
Concluding the letter, Gaiman writes, "The struggles of the gods and the people in season 3 of American Gods are the struggles of America. We didn't think it would prove as timely when we plotted it, nor did I think the novel would still be relevant when I wrote it over 20 years ago. But I'm glad it's happening now, in a year when it feels as though diverse stories are being heard, and honored, and allowed to change the future."
American Gods season 3 will arrive this Jan. 10 on Starz at a time that is not just poignant because of Hollywood's current reckoning with past portrayals of Black people and other minorities, but also in light of the show's own drama.
Former cast member and writer Orlando Jones spoke out on social media in December, saying he was fired from the series because new showrunner Robert Eglee said his character, the African trickster god Anansi, sent "the wrong message for Black America" with his "get s--- done" attitude. A spokesperson for the show said Jones' option was not picked up because Anansi doesn't factor into the Lakeside storyline from the book. In a separate interview with EW, Jones called that assertion "ridiculous on its face" because he "didn't have a writing option" but was one of the people "who laid out the direction for season 3 at the end of season 2."
Jones isn't the only one not returning for season 3. Mousa Kraish, who plays the Jinn, is also sitting this one out. In terms of the story, Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) is heading to the town of Lakeside, a location from the mid-section of Gaiman's book, after learning the truth about his godly lineage at the end of season 2. He will then encounter and be guided by the Orishas, the gods of his Black ancestors.
The premiere announcement also comes with a teaser image of the Lakeside Clunker Board from inside Hinzelmann's shop.
Among the newcomers are Ashley Reyes as Mr. Wednesday's techie new-hire Cordelia, Devery Jacobs as Sam Black Crow, Blythe Danner as Greek goddess of the harvest Demeter, Marilyn Manson as Viking death metal rocker Johan Wengren, Julia Sweeney as Shadow's Lakeside welcome wagon Hinzelmann, Iwan Rheon as leprechaun Liam Doyle, Denis O'Hare as Tyr, Lela Loren as Lakeside reporter Marguerite, Herizen Guardiola as Yoruban goddess of love Oshun, Wale as an Orisha named Chango, Eric Johnson as Lakeside Chief of Police Chad Mulligan, and Danny Trejo and Dominique Jackson as new forms of Mr. World.