The American Gods TV Show, which marks a collaboration between two of the most creative minds out there — Bryan Fuller and Neil Gaiman — is going to be rad. According to Fuller, it’s also going to do the seemingly impossible: give Marvel a run for its money.
“What we’re looking at with American Gods is developing a Marvel Universe, not with superheroes but with gods,” he told Crave. Aside from being an intriguing concept, this gives us something to jump off, since little is known about the show at the moment aside from when production begins. We don’t even know if they did the right thing and cast Jason Momoa as Shadow, yet. Though if they aren’t planning on it, we know a guy who can help them reconsider.
But even though the American Gods characters are different and the whole thing will be a different beast with a darker, stranger, and more R-rated tone, Fuller might be onto something. Here are some unexpected similarities between the new project and the aging Marvel universe.
Joss Whedon is the king of nerds and quips, as well as being a lord of the dance. As a storyteller, he stands in a class of his own. His fanbase is loyal, his charm infectious, his deft hand infuses the most pedestrian material with spark and verve. His departure from Marvel was a big deal that left fans floundering because he’s really a one of a kind.
Similarly, Neil Gaiman — from whose mind Coraline and The Sandman sprang — is a visionary artist and ridiculously charming man who stands in a class of his own.
Bryan Fuller, too, is a uniquely talented storyteller. Hannibal was a show like no other, and its cancellation instantly prompted eulogies from fans.
In short, both the Marvel Universe and the American Gods universe exist in the hands of wizards who use their powers for good, evil, and strange. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
The long-suffering gods of American Gods say things like:
“This is the only country in the world that worries about what it is. The rest of them know what they are. No one ever needs to go searching for the heart of Norway. Or looks for the soul of Mozambique. They know what they are.”
Unlike Zack Snyder’s uber-gloomy, under-crafted vision in the DC universe, both Marvel and American Gods dance between light and dark and enjoy a generally playful spirit. Although the TV show will be darker than The Avengers, thanks to Neil Gaiman’s involvement, no matter how macabre things get, the dialogue will always be tongue-in-cheek.
People generally don’t say, “My favorite part of The Avengers was the last 20 minutes when they battled anonymous bad guys and shit blew up!” The best thing the Marvel Universe has going for it is its character dynamics, not its occasional straying into Michael Bay territory.
American Gods is all about Shadow, his dead wife, his mysterious employer, and the legions of odd characters he meets on his travels. Does this not sound like something Iron Man would say?
“I guess it’s just another one of life’s little mysteries.”
“I’m tired of mysteries.”
“Yeah? I think they add a kind of zest to the world. Like salt in a stew.”
As every storyteller worth their salt knows, a story is nothing without its characters. If you think the Marvel universe is populated with entertaining superheroes, just wait until you hit Gaiman and Fuller’s cast.
And if you think being on Starz might make it lame, between Ash vs Evil Dead, Outlander, and especially Black Sails, Starz is currently giving HBO a run for its money. Its place on that network only means there will be more nudity than you’d see in a Marvel movie, and probably better music.
American Gods is in so many pairs of strong hands, it would be a shock if it doesn’t blow the whole Marvel Universe out of the water. We’re calling it now, American Gods is going to be the best show of 2017.