Prayers to both the old gods and the new have been answered today, as the Starz hit series American Gods has finally found a new showrunner. Jesse Alexander will take the helm for Season 2 of the Fremantle-produced show, which is adapted from the book by Neil Gaiman.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the hiring comes after "an extensive search" for the right person to fill the position after Bryan Fuller and Michael Green departed the show a few months ago. Though it had been rumored that Neil Gaiman would be taking the duties on himself (rumors he continually denied, as he's already showrunning his own adaptation of his co-written novel Good Omens over at Amazon), Alexander is set to "run the Starz and Fremantle drama alongside Neil Gaiman." This doesn't mean that Gaiman is co-showrunner (co-runner?), but he's still very much involved -- and that is a great thing.
Alexander is a natural choice to fill the distinctive shoes of Bryan Fuller, as he has worked with him on Hannibal (before that show ended) as well as Star Trek: Discovery, a show Fuller left in order to work on, weirdly enough, American Gods. Fuller and Green departed the show that they themselves created after reportedly clashing with Fremantle about the show's ever-increasing budget. As Gaiman has "an overall deal with Fremantle," the plan was always to find someone new to work alongside him.
Though Fuller and Green already wrote the first six episodes of Season 2, THR's sources are reporting that not only does Fremantle intend to "toss those scripts and start from scratch with Alexander," but that "... Gaiman was also unhappy with the direction Fuller and Green planned to take Season 2, as their vision was not a straight adaptation of the source material."
Gaiman himself has weighed in on this on Twitter, and he is quick to point out that reports of him being unhappy with the work of Fuller and Green are untrue. Responding to a fan, Gaiman tweeted that the claims are "fictional."
He did, however, confirm that Alexander is indeed the new showrunner.
Season 1 certainly had its departures (an expanded role for Laura Moon, the entire Vulcan episode, more Mad Sweeney, etc.), but they were all in keeping with the tone of the book. According to Gaiman, all of this was planned from the start.
He addressed this as well, confirming that these expansions were "definitely something planned from the off. And something that should increase in season two." He followed that up by tweeting that there are "no plans to change anything that works."
Gaiman was originally quoted as saying that he is "thrilled" with the choice of Alexander, noting that "he loves and understands the book" and that "he loves and understands the TV series." Gods actor Bruce Langley (Technical Boy) posted the following photo of Gaiman and Alexander, which Gaiman then retweeted:
Hopefully, with all of the confusion out of the way, the show can now continue on course — though specifically how it will do that is still a question. The episode count and the return date seem to be up in the air, and given the delay in production that this shuffling has caused, the show may end up with a smaller sophomore season than anticipated.
Starz seems to be betting on Alexander, relying on him for a vision "that can be executed on a regular basis," as CEO Chris Albrecht stated last month. Though the show was supposed to return in January of 2019, the delay in finding Fuller and Green's replacement makes that seem questionable, though Albrecht maintains that Starz remains "very committed" to the show and hopes for "many more years" of it.
Here's hoping that's the case. American Gods was one of the most dynamic, beautiful, and exciting shows of 2017, and any fan of that season (or the original novel) is doubtless clamoring for the return of Ricky Whittle's Shadow and Ian McShane's Mr. Wednesday. Their journey has barely even begun; they have a certain House on the Rock to visit, after all.
Does this news excite you, or do you think that nobody can fill the shoes of Fuller and Green? Should Orlando Jones be required to be in every episode? Let us know your thoughts below, and we'll be sure to dedicate these comments to Ostara!
(via The Hollywood Reporter)
This article was originally published on Feb. 2 and was updated on Feb. 7.