“It was the most efficient season yet, which was a great gift to have a knowledge of where your characters are going,” said Ricky Whittle, who plays Shadow on the series, which will air in 2021.
Picking up where season 2 left off, the new season finds Whittle’s Shadow still grappling with learning that Wednesday — a.k.a. the Norse God, Odin — is his father, a discovery that significantly destroys their relationship. Shadow sets off on his own and settle down in a small Wisconsin town called Lakeside, which should ring a bell to fans of the book. Unfortunately, destiny still finds him there.
“It becomes a very relevant storyline in today’s current climate where you have a stranger come into the town, an old kind of all-white traditional town, and you have this man of color come in and [there’s] an overwhelming surface positivity, but an underlying kind of darkness and suspicion. You kind of really feel that when you get into Lakeside, not everything is as it seems,” said Whittle during the panel. “It’s incredible that we get to tell such powerful stories and that’s something that I’ve really been excited by in season 3 is the fact that we are telling truly powerful stories. We’re seeing a really diverse cast [that’s] possibly the most diverse of all three seasons, that has a lot of representation, which I feel is very important nowadays.”
During his time in Lakeside, Shadow is trying to make his own path, guided by the gods of his black ancestors, the Orishas. But he’ll soon discover that this town’s still waters run deep, and dark, and bloody, and that you don’t get to simply reject being a god. The only choice — and a choice you have to make — is what kind of god you’re going to be.
Discovering his true parentage also forces Shadow to wonder if he has powers. “I kind of liken it to, Clark Kent’s just found out he’s an alien and [wonders], can I fly? Can I see through things?” said Whittle. “We kind of have a little bit of fun where Shadow’s trying to learn who he is.”
It seems as though Shadow finds some clarity, because he makes quite a declaration at the end of the teaser. “You have no idea who I am. I am a God,” Shadow says.
During the Season 3 panel Whittle joined co-stars Emily Browning (Laura Moon), Yetide Badaki (Bilquis), Bruce Langley (Tech Boy), Omid Abtahi (Salim) and series newcomer Ashley Reyes (Cordelia), as well as Neil Gaiman, who wrote the original book.
Gaiman and new showrunner Charles H. Eglee developed brand new stories for the rest of the characters: Wednesday hires the brilliant Cordelia (new series regular Ashley Reyes) to handle all of his tech needs; Shadow’s ex-wife Laura (Emily Browning) goes from “being dead to being even more dead,” said Gaiman, and eventually embarks on an adventure with Salim (Omid Abtahi); and Badaki’s Bilquis embarks on a journey into her past.
“It’s something that we see with every single character along the way. There is this journey of self-discovery,” said Badaki. “We see that with Shadow. We see that with Laura. We see it with Technical Boy [Bruce Langley], with Salim. We see it with Cordelia. I think it’s been an interesting thing to see because we’re going back to, I think Neil said it best — that American is this country that’s trying to figure out who it is, what it is. As each of these characters go on these journeys finding themselves, they then start to see further how it all interconnects.”
Gaiman continued, “I think season 1 was terrific, but it felt a little bit like an anthology from time to time. It felt like, ‘Okay, we’ve got this story, but we’re going over here and we’ve got this story and we’re going over there. Season 2 had its own quirks. Season 3 just feels like it’s telling this fabulous story and it’s all come together,” said the author. “What I loved about it was sitting, starting to watch episode 1 [of season 3] and being drawn in and getting to the end and not believing that 50-something minutes had just passed, and just wanting to find out what happened next. Feeling that about American Gods was a wonderful thing to feel.”
American Gods also stars Ian McShane, Crispin Glover as Mr. World, Demore Barnes as Mr. Ibis, Devery Jacobs as Sam Black Crow, Blythe Danner as Demeter, Marilyn Manson as Johan Wengren, Julia Sweeney as Hinzelmann, Iwan Rheon as Liam Doyle, Danny Trejo as Mr. World, Peter Stormare as Czernobog, Denis O’Hare as Tyr, Lela Loren as Marguerite, Dominique Jackson as Ms. World, Wale as Chango, Herizen Guardiola as Oshun, and Eric Johnson as Chad Mulligan.
Check out the trailer above for more.