American Gods casting is great, but what does it mean for The 100?
Like many others, I’ve been following the development of the TV show version of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I’m a big fan of Gaiman’s work, but I also worry that Gaiman’s works are inherently difficult to adapt.
With American Gods, I am on board.
The soon-to-be Starz show has made all the right moves so far. It hired a proven showrunner in Bryan Fuller, made sure that Gaiman himself was actively involved, and even announced that the show will incorporate the book’s “cousin,” The Anansi Boys.
The casting of Ricky Whittle as the lead, Shadow Moon, is another good move. The character is taciturn and physically imposing, but with a brooding nature. Whittle checks all those boxes.
But it may have some significant consequences.
If you aren’t familiar with Whittle, he is one of the stars of the CW show, The 100. If you don’t know the show, it’s understandable, but you should give it a try.
The 100 is set almost a century after a nuclear war has sent survivors into orbit to await the revitalization of the planet. When the ark in space begins to fail, 100 juvenile prisoners are sent to the planet to see if it is viable. They not only find that it is, they discover that others have survived on the surface, and their assumption that the Earth is their to resettle is quickly shattered.
Many have dismissed the show as “Post-Apocalypse 90210” thanks to the bevy of hot and broody young stars – The CW certainly has a type – but it is more than that. It’s actually a really good show.
At first glance it seems almost frivolous, with pretty people running through the woods, and plenty of characters hooking up as sexy music plays and the camera lingers just long enough for it to be gratuitous. A few episodes in though, after something like the third or fourth major death, you begin to realize it is much darker – and deeper.
One of the breakout stars of the show is Whittle, who plays one of the surface dwellers named Lincoln. He appeared as a recurring character in season one, then took on a much bigger role in the second.
He fills a familiar role: the quiet, noble warrior. Whittle does it well, but he’s a little limited by the character – the writers seem to realize they need to do more with Lincoln, but they aren’t sure what.
The role in American Gods should be much more robust.
“I’m thrilled that Ricky has been cast as Shadow. His auditions were remarkable. The process of taking a world out of the pages of a book, and putting it onto the screen has begun,” Gaiman said in a statement. “American Gods is, at its heart, a book about immigrants, and it seems perfectly appropriate that Shadow will, like so much else, be coming to America. I’m delighted Ricky will get to embody Shadow. Now the fun starts.”
American Gods follows the character of Shadow, a recently paroled convict on his way home to his wife’s funeral. On the way, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday. Shadow reluctantly agrees to act as Wednesday’s bodyguard, and the two proceed to rally the old gods that have immigrated to America for a war against the new.
The big question now though, is what will happen to Whittle on The 100. Either no one knows, or no one is talking at the moment.
The 100 just aired the second episode of the third season, and recently concluded filming the 16th and final episode of the season. If the third season continues the ratings that the first two earned, it should have no problem earning a fourth as well.
American Gods is set to begin filming this April, so there won’t be overlap at first. An exact number of episodes for the show hasn’t been announced yet, but it will likely be between 10 to 13. Whittle may miss some of the next season of The 100 (assuming there is one), but that’s easy enough to write around – assuming, of course, Whittle’s Lincoln survives the third season. Given the nature of the show, that’s hardly a certainty.
The American Gods casting will continue, but so far it is off to a great start.