American Gods has lost two more cast members, removing two fan-favorite characters from its upcoming third season.
American Gods is the show that can’t seem to catch a break. Season 3 has only just begun its pre-production phase and it’s already been hit with some BTS drama. American Gods has been down on its luck ever since the problems that befell it following Bryan Fuller’s departure and the series was forced to find a new show runner. I’m not going rehash the details, just know that things got ugly for a while and fans were doubting whether Season 2 would ever air or not.
It eventually premiered on March 10, 2019, to a very lukewarm reception. Personally, I couldn’t stand Season 2. It felt as if the series had nowhere to go but because it didn’t want to end after three or four seasons, it decided to tediously drag everything out much longer than necessary. With the exception of Mad Sweeney and Laura Moon and the second half of Shadow’s storyline, the entirety of American Gods’ second season was all filler.
And now, it seems that Season 3 might be even harder to stomach. Earlier this year, I was excited to see the addition of Marilyn Manson, Danny Trejo and Iwan Rheon to the cast but now we’re hit with the sad news that Mr. Nancy, The Jinn and New Media will not be returning, and Mr. World will no longer be played by Crispin Glover.
One of the biggest issues of Season 2 was the dragged on storylines Bryan Fuller created that the show struggled to keep up in his absence. The Jinn (Mousa Kraish) and his love-struck one-night stand that the series claimed was “one half of a pair of star-crossed lovers,” Salim (Omid Abtahi) were victims of this. They certainly had a “star-crossed lovers” vibe after their introduction in “Head Full of Snow.” But, unfortunately, the pair had nothing to do after that.
They spent most of Season 2 running errands. They were utterly wasted, but instead of fixing whatever issues crushed their subplot, the series decided to just cut them out altogether, or just the Jinn. Salim might be next.
Mousa Kraish announced via Twitter that he had not been asked to return for the upcoming season.
Already I see this backfiring. Not just because The Jinn became so popular so quickly but because American Gods is now out a queer Islamic character who also happened to be a Jinn, a creature that almost never appears in film or television unless it’s a villain. In a world where audiences are becoming more vocal about demanding POC representation, and with American Gods promoting itself as a diverse series, I don’t see this news landing well with fans.
Also, what the heck will Salim do now? His entire storyline revolved around The Jinn. Unless Omid Abtahi also gets the boot, I can’t see how Salim could be involved any further.
Author Neil Gaiman, however, replied to Kraish’s tweet, saying how he hopes to see Kraish back in Season 4, so it’s possible that The Jinn will return one day.
Now, to Mr. Nancy, the real tragedy of this story. I don’t know about everyone else, but I absolutely love Mr. Nancy. I could listen to the worst audiobook in the world as long as Nancy was narrating it. Despite limited screentime in its freshman season, the Ghanaian trickster god, Anansi, stood out like a maniacal shining star in an impeccably stylish suit. His scenes were always fantastic and in addition to that, he gave a voice to the black men and women descended from the slaves that brought him over to America.
His storyline in Season 2 was dragged on pointlessly for many episodes and now, he’s been removed from the series completely. Actor Orlando Jones revealed the news in a video posted on Twitter.
Jones claimed that he’d been fired because new showrunner Charles ‘Chic’ Eglee decided that his character sent “the wrong message for black America” with his “get sh** done” attitude. However, in a response statement released to Entertainment Weekly, the American Gods spokesperson claimed that Nancy was removed from the series because his character isn’t featured in the part of the book they’re adapting.
“The storylines of American Gods have continually shifted and evolved to reflect the complex mythology of the source material. Mr Jones’ option was not picked up because Mr Nancy, among other characters, is not featured in the portion of the book we are focusing on within season 3. Several new characters, many of which have already been announced, will be introduced into Shadow Moon’s world that will further contribute to the show’s legacy as one of the most diverse series on television.”
I can’t argue with the statement, but as someone who read the book, I can confirm that the series has never been precise with its adaptation. They’ve expanded several roles, updated characters to fit the modern age, changed several plotlines and even created original characters. When did they suddenly become so interested in following the book word-for-word?
Meanwhile, there’s been no explanation as to why Kahyun Kim as New Media has been cut, but Glover’s replacement has been explained as a change, “update”, of the modern world. He’ll be replaced by both Dominique Jackson and Danny Trejo in a dual role.
American Gods Season 3 doesn’t have a premiere date yet.