American Gods season 2 has been through hell and back during the show's nearly two years off screen, thanks to numerous problems with production, but it “feels like the same show that we had in season 1”, Neil Gaiman — author of the book of the same name it's based on, and executive producer on American Gods — said at the 2019 Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday in California. Gaiman was the only executive producer present at the panel — with new showrunner Jesse Alexander having been reportedly sidelined during filming — alongside stars Ian McShane, Ricky Whittle, Emily Browning, Pablo Schreiber, and Orlando Jones. Browning revealed that American Gods season 2 begins “30 minutes after season 1”.
“It's definitely taken awhile to get season 2 out, but it takes a while to get good [episodes],” Gaiman added, according to Variety, addressing the 21-month gap between American Gods seasons, with the new season slated to premiere next month. “I think we'd all rather have it good than have it quicker.” Expanding on why the show still feels the same, Gaiman pointed to the continued involvement of second unit director Chris Byrne, who he said was “responsible for a lot”. Additionally, he thanked the “amazing actors” who stayed with the show, unlike guest stars Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth, who played gods Media and Easter, respectively.
Gaiman claimed that Easter was never planned to be part of American Gods season 2 — earlier reports said that she couldn't reprise her role due to scheduling conflicts — while Media's role has been updated for the times to include a new character called New Media, to be played by Kahyun Kim (Freaky Friday), because “the new gods of 20 years ago already feel very dated”, Gaiman said. He also called her “one of the coolest” gods.
“Gillian Anderson was glorious,” Gaiman added, according to IndieWire, but having a supposed ‘New God' play old-timey characters such as Judy Garland and Lucy Ricardo — Lucille Ball's character in I Love Lucy — didn't “really feel like anything that's relevant to anyone under the age of 25 who's interested in media.” Instead of having to explain them, New Media is representative of today, with a few “irritating” qualities in a “Mark Zuckerberg-like” manner.
And as with the first season, the second season of American Gods will use its seventh episode to dive into the backstory of Mad Sweeney (Schreiber), a glimpse of which we got in the trailer. Season 2 will also look at the past of Technical Boy (Bruce Langley), which includes his other monikers such as Telephone Boy and Telegraph Boy. Gaiman also teased “the death of Thor” — McShane plays Mr. Wednesday, who [spoiler alert] is revealed to be Odin, Thor's father, at the end of season 1 — as part of a storyline.
“We needed to get back to the line in the book,” McShane said. “The characters you were invested in needed exploring more. […] Gaiman wrote a great blueprint for a TV series that can go wherever it wants as long as it remains true to the roots of faith.”