Fans of the Starz dark fantasy series American Gods were hit with some troubling news in December. The show had lost Bryan Fuller and Michael Green over budget disputes with production compan, Fremantle. Fans of the show, Fuller, and the Neil Gaiman novel on which the series is based, were rightly concerned. But now, the show has snagged a new showrunner for season 2 and new details of the reason behind the change suggest this may not be such bad news after all.
The Hollywood Reporter broke that Jesse Alexander will take over as showrunner of the series for the upcoming second season. Alexander has experience on past Fuller series, working on Hannibal and Star Trek: Discovery. Along with his promising experience with Fuller, Alexander joins the show with glowing praise from Neil Gaiman himself.
“I’m thrilled that Jesse is [the] showrunner. He loves and understands the book, he loves and understands the TV series and he’s dedicated to making future seasons of American Gods as good and as beautiful and as unique as they can be,” Gaiman told THR. “Shadow’s journey is going to take him, and Mr. Wednesday, and the New Gods and the Old, to some very strange places. I’m glad that we, and the cast and crew, will have Jesse shepherding us on the way.”
While reports that Fuller and Green departed primarily over a budget conflict with Freemantle, THR reports there may have been a creative factor to the conflict as well. Gaiman was reportedly unhappy with the direction Fuller and Green were taking the show in Season 2. Gaiman apparently wanted a showrunner who would create a more faithful adaptation of his acclaimed novel.
While Fuller and Green completed scripts for the first six episodes of season 2, sources say those scripts may be tossed so that Alexander can start fresh. This would help correct some of the creative divergence that Gaiman was unhappy with. Season 2 of American Gods was originally set to return in January 2019. But the production shake up is likely to delay that return in some way. Nevertheless, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht remains optimistic. “We’re very committed to American Gods,” he told THR. “The show did very well for us. We’re hoping for many more years of American Gods to appear on Starz.“
As a massive fan of the novel and the first season of the show, I was extremely disappointed to hear of the behind the scenes trouble. But this announcement, along with the details of Gaiman’s issues with Season 2, gives me hope. The Gaiman novel is a masterpiece, and I don’t think departing from it would make for a better show. I was already uneasy with some of the changes Fuller and Green had made, so if Gaiman thinks this move is for the best, I’m inclined to trust him. What about you? Are you still excited for season 2? Are you a fan of the novel, the show, or both? Share your thoughts with us on twitter, Facebook, and in the comments!