Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller‘s latest project, a television series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, already boasts an impressive cast. Fellow Hannibal alum Gillian Anderson was announced in early June, and three months before that, Deadwood‘s Ian McShane joined the production as the mysterious, string-pulling Mr. Wednesday. Now it seems that Wednesday’s old pal Mr. Nancy, otherwise known as the African trickster god Anansi, has a new human face with which to cover his spidery legs.
So who gets the honor of toying around with Rickey Whittle’s Shadow Moon while annoying the hell out of McShane’s Wednesday? None other than Orlando Jones, whom Deadline and several other outlets named as American Gods‘ Mr. Nancy. In addition, the show also added The Flash and 12 Monkeys actor Demore Barnes to the roster as Mr. Ibis.
Anansi is a famous character from West African and Caribbean folklore who enjoyed — much like the Norse god of mischief, Loki, the basis for Marvel‘s fan-favorite frenemy — messing around with his human counterparts. Ibis, meanwhile, is based on Thoth, the Egyptian god of writing and knowledge.
Gaiman adapted both characters for his 2001 novel, in which Mr. Nancy is an old man fond of telling stories, while Mr. Ibis runs a funeral parlor and writes biographies. Whenever the former isn’t caught in a tangent, however, he more or less aids Mr. Wednesday and the other old gods and goddesses’ quest to rid the modern world of its new, younger deities.
For his part, Jones seems genuinely excited about the role. In addition to retweeting and responding to several rounds of congratulations from friends and fans on social media, the 48-year-old MADtv alum shared a fine photo of himself and a quote from Gaiman’s book.