Obviously, American Gods bosses Michael Green and Bryan Fuller couldn’t stuff every single character from Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel into the Starz adaptation’s first season. But one of Gaiman’s creations came a lot closer than the others.
“There was a character in Season 1 and a whole storyline that we removed for scope and production issues,” Fuller told TVLine. “Looking back, it was the best decision for the show to remove that. And it was to call in the characters from the novels who represented the Intangibles, who are the modern gods of the stock market.”
In the book that serves as the drama’s source material, the Intangibles are New Gods who represent the idea of the invisible hand of the market — aka in a free market, supply and demand will level out without much intervention — made popular by Adam Smith in 1776’s The Wealth of Nations. Unlike Technical Boy’s violent “children,” the Intangibles don’t have a heavy presence in Gaiman’s work; that’s likely because, like the concept they represent, they seem inclined to let things settle themselves naturally.
In fact, the Intangibles are referenced by name only a few times in the novel, including when Mr. World is trying to figure out a location for a “policy meeting” (“The techies want it in Austin, or maybe San Jose, the players want it in Hollywood, the Intangibles want it on Wall Street,” he tells an associate. “Everybody wants it in their own back yard. Nobody’s going to give.”) and when Technical Boy wonders why Mr. World is so bent on destroying the Old Gods when they’ll likely just fade away with time (“I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’ve checked with the crew at Radio Modern, and they’re all for settling this peacefully; and the Intangibles are pretty much in favor of letting market forces take care of it.”).
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Fuller and Green, who spoke with us in advance of the show’s Season 1 Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD release on Tuesday, Oct. 17, said the Intangibles would “hopefully” be seen in the 10-episode Season 2, the writing of which has just begun. The executive producers also hailed the more than two hours of extras included in the Season 1 package.
“I’m a process junkie. Nothing makes me happier than documentaries about how the Swiss make cheese,” Green said, citing executive producer David Slade and the series’ effects and music teams as integral parts of the extras. “So we wanted to make sure that people could see how our cheese got made, too.”