[3:09PM PDT] – I am live at San Diego Comic-Con, and the Wifi is WORKING! I'm in Ballroom 6BCF for the Amerian Gods panel. It allegedly begins at 3:15PM but these things usually begin late. Hang tight!
[3:19PM PDT] – A little late but with FOOTAGE! We open with Shadow in prison and then being released because she died. So far, so good as being true to the book The gold coin is thrown on her grave and sinks in. We meet Mr. Wednesday on the plane. So far this looking amazing. Huge vistas, the reborn wife, Mads Mikkelsen, the white trees, the gods, the tree!
[3:20PM PDT] – Yvette Nicole Brown is our moderator! She introduces the crew, cast, and author(!) of American Gods. We've got Bryan Fuller, Michael Green, David, Slade on the production side. For the talent there is Bruce Langley, Yetide Badaki, Pablo Schreiber, Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, AND Neil Gaiman!
[3:23PM PDT] – Gaiman wrote the first chapters of American Gods – first was 1989 – but in 1999 he came by train and on the way here (three days from Chicago) he wrote the first of the books.
[3:24PM PDT] – Bryan Fuller promises to take care of people who haven't read the book. Gaiman adds the way the show is built is you're ahead of the game if you've read the book but they have put in things to keep us guessing too. We also spend more time with characters when they are not with Shadow (Ricky Whittle).
[3:28PM PDT] – Yetide jokes that she just became an American citizen three years ago. Three years from American citizen to American God. Audience goes wild.
[3:29PM PDT] – David Slade says you start a project like American Gods by being terrified. Then you make a post-it note with an idea and eventually you have 10,000 post-it notes and by the end it's satisfyingly weird.
[3:31PM PDT] – Neil was and is still very involved. The process of finding an actor for Shadow took several months. Ricky did 16 audition tapes for the role before they decided he was the one. With Ian it was as simple as Bryan Fuller giving Gaiman a call and saying “What about Ian?” But then we made him do 16 audition tapes to be fair. Audience laughs.
[3:32PM PDT] – But now Gaiman is stepping back as the casting goes on as the show gets it”s own flavor. He likes that because he gets to be surprised.
[3:33PM PDT] – Ian McShane says a character like Mr. Wednesday comes along only once in a while for an actor of his age and it”s a fantastic role. Describes Mr. Wednesday as a “Dressed by GQ grifter.”
[3:35PM PDT] – The bunny security is here because they cast the goddess Easter! We're being introduced to her now and it's KRISTIN CHENOWETH. Said creepy bunny security.
[3:37PM PDT] – Kristen is so new she hasn't even met much of the cast. She can't wait to “get in the playbox and scratch around…and maybe lay a few.”
[3:42PM PDT] – Technical Boy doesn”t see himself as a hero or a villain. He doesn”t care. You never see the same version of him twice. Like technology, he”s constantly in flux.
[3:43PM PDT] – Bryan Fuller talks about how we lose empathy online because we don”t see faces. People say things and it proliferates a climate of hate. We can do better. Audience claps and cheers. Love is being lost among us as technology grows and grows, add Yvette. I'm guessing that has something to do with Technology Boy.
[3:45PM PDT] – Ricky Whittle adds it”s okay to believe in something and everyone can believe in something different and that”s fine. Old gods, new gods, media gods. Everyone has something or someone to put faith in to get through the day.
[3:49PM PDT] – The show will be dealing with gun control issues, racial divides, women”s issues, and how technology divides us. Michael Green says confirms American Gods is not here to crap on religion. but to explore what happens with faith. Bryan Fuller just brought up Donald Trump and the absence of tolerance in our current political climate and things have taken a weird turn…but I like it. It”s hard to talk about a show that deals with religion (both old and new – such as putting faith in guns or technology) without going into these volatile subjects.
[3:51PM PDT] – Gaiman says there was no pushback from Starz when he put down a line in the sand saying the show would be cast the way it was written as far as ethnicity. Michael Green says they got a lot of credit for not whitewashing the cast but they shouldn”t get credit for something that should be a baseline in casting.
[3:53PM PDT] – We're now in the audience question portion of the panel. I'll put anything good here but it'll be sparser!
[3:54PM PDT] – Neil Gaiman is asked if there is a god of atheism and he tells a great story about the drive in last night. He passed a median with about 200 people on it and he thought it was some religious thing. Then he saw they all had their phones out. Looking for Pokemon. And they were worshipping.
[3:55PM PDT] – Someone asked if we'd see a specific scene from the book. Neil Gaiman jumps in to say that as a general rule, if you loved it in the book it is in the show.
[4:02PM PDT[ – Gaiman says there were chunks of American Gods that didn”t make it. The original manuscript lost 15-20k words and that got restored in the preferred edition. There were stories and things that didn”t even get written. One example: Japanese internment camp during the WWII. It was all plotted out and did months of research, and ended up nixing it because the manuscript was so long. Gaiman says the plot may show up in the show or if he does another American Gods novel, which is looking more and more likely. Audience goes wild.
[4:07PM PDT] – Kristen Chenoweth says she”s religious but she understands why Easter is pissed that Jesus stole her holiday. Audience loves it.
[4:11PM PDT] – That's all she wrote for me, guys! Thanks for joing me for the panel!