American Gods @ Comic-Con: Easter Appears, Raven Tales and More Scoop

American Gods Starz New Series

Oh. My. Gods.

Those who’ve read and loved Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel American Gods are in for a big treat, the creators and stars of Starz’s upcoming adaptation told the crowd at the show’s Comic-Con panel in San Diego Friday. And if you’re among those who haven’t been formally introduced to Shadow Moon, Mr. Wednesday et al, executive Bryan Fuller said, prepare to have a religious moment of your own.

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“However you come to this” — whether you’ve read the 2001 book or are a complete neophyte — “you’re in good hands,” Fuller said after the panel merited a raucous welcome, complete with standing ovation for Gaiman, from the audience.

The biggest news to come out of the afternoon, in addition to the debut of the series’ first official trailer (which you can watch here), was the announcement that Pushing Daisies‘ Kristin Chenoweth has been cast in the role of the goddess Easter — followed by the actress joining her castmates on stage. (Details here.)

The panel — which included stars Ian McShane, Ricky Whittle, Yetide Badaki, Pablo Shreiber and Bruce Langley as well as executive producers Bryan Fuller, Michael Green and Gaiman and David Slade — was moderated by Community alum/The Odd Couple star Yvette Nicole Brown. Here are some of the best bits:

* Gaiman said he wrote the first chapter of the American Gods novel on the train to Comic-Con in 1999. “It all sort of started for me on the way to San Diego.”
* When Gaiman mused that he had lost count of how many audition tapes the show made Whittle submit before nabbing the role of protagonist Shadow, Whittle interjected: “I know. I did 16. That’s very unusual, by the way.” Gaiman laughed. “We made him work for it,” he said with a laugh. “He had to convince us, and he did.”
* McShane summed up Shadow and Mr. Wednesday’s road trip, which starts at the beginning of the series, this way: “It gets weirder and stranger and more sexy and interesting and funny.”
* Badaki noted that she became an American citizen three years ago. “My friends say, ‘Three years from American citizen to American god,'” she noted, grabbing big laughs from the crowd.
* Though it deals with weighty issues such as faith and immigration, “The show is funny,” McShane assured the crowd, calling Schreiber’s Mad Sweeney an “idiot leprechaun” who gets himself into humorous situations.
* Gaiman said he had one mandate for the adaptation of his work: “that there was not going to be any kind of whitewashing [of characters]. I wanted that absolutely held in stone,” he said, noting that, “There was no pushback, there was nothing but absolute agreement.” Green replied, “We shouldn’t get credit for that. That should be the baseline assumption for adaptations.”
* When asked by an audience member whether any of Anderson’s Hannibal co-stars would join the American Gods cast, Fuller said, “The door is always open for those lovely folks” and “As soon as schedules sync up, yes. We would love it.”
* The coming-to-America interludes in the book will be part of the TV series. “They’re so rich and they’re such fantastic departures,” Fuller said, calling the interstitial narratives “trampolines” into other stories.
* Shadow and the ravens, Media asking if Shadow would like to see Lucy’s top shelf? “As a general rule, if you love it in the book,” Gaiman assured the crowd, “it is probably going to turn up on your screen.”
Are you now even more excited to see American Gods? Hit the comments and tell us about it!