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The TV gods have turned their favor away from American Gods, at least for now. The series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel starring Ricky Whittle and Ian McShane will not return for a fourth season on Starz, the network confirmed Monday.
The news of the premature end to the often-troubled series is not altogether unexpected, and follows the Season 3 finale on March 21. That season-ender saw Whittle’s Shadow Moon seemingly killed after a vigil at the mythical Tree of Life for his seemingly deceased and estranged father, Mr. Wednesday/Odin, played by McShane. A pivotal point in Gaiman’s book, the incident set up American Gods‘ fourth season with Wednesday taking advantage of Shadow Moon’s sacrifice for Wednesday’s own resurgence in the battle against the New Gods.
“Everyone at Starz is grateful to the dedicated cast and crew, and our partners at Fremantle who brought author and executive producer Neil Gaiman’s ever-relevant story to life that speaks to the cultural climate of our country,” a network spokesperson told Deadline today.
In typical small-screen fashion, where nobody ever says never anymore, we hear there are discussions about wrapping up the Toronto-themed series to align with Gaiman’s 2001 novel as either an event series or a TV movie. However, based on the fact American Gods has seen double-digit ratings declines from season to season, any hopes of a continuation might be more smoke than fire from the premium cabler.
Developed for TV by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, American Gods has seen almost as much drama behind the camera as in front of it since its April 2017 premiere with the original cast that included Whittle, McShane, Orlando Jones, Emily Browning, Yetide Badaki, Bruce Langley, Crispin Glover, Kahyun Kim, Omid Abtahi, Mousa Kraish and Pablo Schreiber.
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Fuller and Green exited the series during pre-production on Season 2, replaced by Jesse Alexander, and, to a lesser extent, Gaiman, in what became a problematic year as behind-the-scenes sharp elbows and long delays pushed its return to March 2019. Schreiber, Kraish and most publicly, Jones did not return for Season 3, which debuted January 10.
Gaiman is currently ramping up work on Netflix’s fantasy adaptation of his comic book series The Sandman, with casting earlier this year setting Tom Sturridge, Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Charles Dance, Asim Chaudhry and Sanjeev Bhaskar among others. The prolific author already has Good Omens at Amazon.
Produced by Fremantle, American Gods is executive produced by current showrunner Charles Eglee, Gaiman, Anne Kenney, Damian Kindler, David Paul Francis, Mark Tinker, McShane, Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk.
Starz’s upcoming slate includes Run the World; Blindspotting; Power Book III: Raising Kanan and Power Book IV: Force; Black Mafia Family; the second seasons of Hightown, Power Book II: Ghost and P-Valley; and Season 3 of Step Up among others. Earlier this month it renewed Outlander for a seventh season.
Upon hearing the news, Shadow Moon himself responded to the cancellation. Whittle remembered his time on the Starz series, thanking all who were involved in the process – from the cast and crew to Neil Gaiman.
“This has been an amazing journey thus far and I am so grateful to my fellow cast and crew who have worked so hard on this award winning show. We have the best fans around the world and thank each of you for your passion and support, so know that Neil Gaiman, Fremantle myself and the cast are still committed to completing Neil Gaiman’s critically acclaimed story,” he wrote.
See Whittle’s post below.