The novel American Gods already has an intriguing roster of gods borrowed from cultures ranging from Nordic to Slavic to African. But Neil Gaiman has invented a new god for the television adaptation, who is distinctly American: Vulcan, god of guns.
Between having an all-star cast, an epic trailer, and smart, progressive writers, there were enough reasons to worship the American Gods TV show. But Neil Gaiman’s invented new character makes the show even more provocative and relevant.
Vulcan is the god of weaponry and fire, who is thriving thanks to modern-day America’s fixation with guns. Showrunner Bryan Fuller told Entertainment Weekly, “We started talking about America’s obsession with guns and gun control and, really, if you’re holding a gun in your hand, it’s a mini volcano, and perhaps, through this character, there’s a conversation to be had.”
Co-showrunner Michael Green added in the same interview,
He’s a brand-new addition who came from an experience Neil had. He was going through a small town in Alabama where he saw a statue of Vulcan. It was a steel town and, as he told the story, there was a factory that had a series of accidents where people were killed on the job and they kept happening because an actuarial had done the numbers and realized that it was cheaper to pay out the damages to the families of people who lost people, rather than to shut down the factory long enough to repair, and that occurred to him as modern a definition of sacrifice as there might be.
He will be played by Corbin Bernsen, shown below with Ian McShane’s Wednesday and Ricky Whittle’s Shadow.
This is far from the only change from the source material, as Jesus will play a role in the show (where he’s a mere footnote in the novel), and leprechaun Mad Sweeney is getting an expanded role and a makeover.
Typically, when an adaptation diverges from its source material, this is a cause of ire for fans. But with the author himself enthusiastically championing changes to make the show fit the times, American Gods might just be the most innovative fantasy show of 2017.