Season 2 of the STARZ series American Gods comes to Blu-ray on August 20, with a selection of special features including ‘random musings from the cast,’ an in-depth look at the season with creator, Neil Gaiman, and a behind the scenes look at the set of The House on the Rock.
For those of us with questions after that last episode, a few ‘random musings’ from the cast sound pretty good right about now. Which is why, when afforded an opportunity to speak with the show’s leading man, Ricky Whittle, this tv nerd jumped at the chance.
The second season of American Gods begins with Shadow Moon taking a leap of faith—misplaced, perhaps—to support Mr. Wednesday in swaying his allies toward war. However, when asked about the state of Shadow’s faith heading into season three, Whittle explains, “I don’t think he’s really thinking about faith…His biggest concern is, he’s just found out who his father is, and that he may have been there his whole life, and manipulating it every step of the way. Because you don’t find Odin, he finds you…you can’t escape him. Shadow’s going to have to sit with this information, and that’s what weighs on his mind first. He wants out of this world…and he’s wanted answers. And in season three, he has more power and is in a position to demand those answers.”
As for whether this means Shadow is aware of exactly what he is, in terms of this newfound power, the actor says his character is definitely aware of something. “If his possible father is a god, that makes him [Shadow] a demigod. Is that something he’s going to develop and harness in season three?” he teases, then adds, “It’s a story I’m interested in telling.”
Of course, it was made apparent from the onset of the show that Shadow isn’t entirely human. Yet, it’s clear he’s very different from the other gods, both old and new, so being a likely demigod…what does that even mean? Whittle explains, “That’s what we’re going to find out in season three, and that’s where we’re going with it. He is finding out he’s a part of this world, it wasn’t a mistake…he’s a part of the puzzle, and now he has to figure out how to harness this power.”
If you’re picturing a superhero training montage right now, Ricky describes this exploration of Shadow’s powers as a Superman phase (score!). “We’re going to see Shadow have fun with that, and really grow next season. There’s a lot of Easter eggs in Season 3. I’m excited to see the audience’s reaction when we reveal some of the answers they’ve been searching for the past two seasons.”
Speaking of unanswered questions, I had quite a few about the nature of Shadow’s power. All the gods and demigods we’ve been introduced to require worship, or recognition at the very least, in order to amass and exercise their power. In Shadow’s case, however, it’s fairly obvious—to this writer anyway—that his power comes from a different source entirely. Yet, when pressed about the influence of Shadow’s mother, and her singular faith in her son, on his abilities, Whittle replies, “I feel that you’re asking too many questions, and you’re far too intelligent.”
We agree that I’m to take that as a compliment, and he kindly elaborates, “This is something we will talk about in the future. It seems Shadow is developing and growing into his power, and who he is, without any need of that [worship] to move forward.” He posits, “Are we seeing something greater than Odin? Is that why all the other gods are enamored of him? Does he know this secret?”
I’m not the only one posing questions here, it seems. Which is unfair, because I already have too many, especially regarding the familial implications between Odin and Shadow. To this, Whittle says, “This is all stuff we’re gonna see in season three. The great thing about the show, that I really love, is we’re watching this show through Shadow’s eyes. So, we confuse you in season one, because Shadow was confused.
“In season two, the reveal comes at the same time, and we toyed with having someone tell him [about Wednesday], but…that took away from the character. So, they learn together—Shadow and the audience—in that moment.”
Regarding how that dynamic will resolve itself between Shadow and Wednesday, and whether Odin learned anything from his missteps with Thor, the actor remains somewhat evasive. “Mister Wednesday always has an agenda; always has his one eye on the bigger picture.
“When Shadow asks him what happened to Thor, that was one of the instances where we really saw the pain in Mister Wednesday. Will he learn from it, or is this just how he moves forward? It’s all about perspective…there’s no good guys or bad guys. In season three, we’re going to learn a lot about Wednesday, about why he is who he is, and if he does really feel pain.”
Well, that doesn’t sound ominous at all (yes, it does). Regarding season three, and how soon we might expect to see it, Whittle informs that filming begins at the end of September. “We’re currently in the writing room. We’re going to put it together, my favorite part of the book—Lakeside—into one season.” There was some trepidation, he admits, about how they would manage to squeeze all of Lakeside into one season, but that he's impressed with the results so far. “It’s an incredible story, and I’m really looking forward to telling this story. It’s so much fun. It’s going to be a lot of work, growing that character and learning more about what he’s going to go through inside Lakeside—and outside of it. So, we’re all looking forward to what is going to be our greatest season yet.”
Pressed to elaborate, Whittle shares, “To me, the exciting thing [for season three] is a love interest for Shadow. We’re going to finally see Shadow start to want things, because he’s living his life [sic]. He’ll be surrounded by humans…he’s the one in the room that has the most information…We’re going to see some very natural human interactions this season for Shadow. He’s going to smile; he’s going to be happy. Which is something I know the audiences want to see for him. It won’t last long, being this is American Gods…but at least we can screen shot it, and say, ‘Shadow was happy in that moment. He smiled.’”
Well, I tried. Sensing that I’ve gotten all I can from Mr. Whittle about the next season of the show, what I really want to know is where the bloopers are for season two! Apparently, I’m not the only one. “This is something I was actually upset about,” the actor agrees. “My favorite thing about any release is the blooper reel. Getting to see the actors make mistakes and laugh. Especially our cast…we pull pranks on each other, we’re always giggling. Season three, we need to have a blooper reel, for sure.”
An absence of outtakes is certainly a bummer, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t shenanigans. According to Whittle, the cast of American Gods is rife with them. “Oh my gosh,” he laughs, “there are too many. I mean, there’s plenty of times when actors are just mocking everyone else. You can tell a cast gets on when they turn up to work on their days off and that’s what most of this cast was doing. That’s a true tell-all [sic] of a group of people who really love each other, and love to be around each other. There were a lot of things going on off camera that we can’t talk about. We’ll all be fired!”
Honestly, that’s too bad. If only there’d been more time, perhaps I could have pried a few examples loose. As it is, we had to hang up rather quickly after that, but a huge thank you to Ricky Whittle and his representatives for facilitating our interview, and taking time to answer some of our burning questions. It seems American Gods fans have much to look forward to, though there’s still the better part of a year to get through first. For now, fans can add season 2 of American Gods to their Blu-ray collection on August 20.
Are you an American Gods fan? What are your hopes for season 3? Sound off in the comments!