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Starz's American Gods Will Differ From the Book With Bigger Female Roles

Expect a lot more Laura Moon

Kaitlin Thomas

American Gods won't make its debut on Starz until 2017, but there's already plenty of buzz surrounding the network's adaptation of Neil Gaiman's beloved novel of the same name.

The first trailer was released last month at San Diego Comic-Con, and on Monday, executive producers Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Michael Green (Kings), who first met when they both worked on Heroes, presented it to reporters at the Television Critics Association fall previews.

Though there is no new footage to share -- the series is currently in production in Toronto -- the duo were more than willing to discuss the opportunity to expand Gaiman's layered world for TV.

Catch up on all the latest news from TCA

For those unaware, American Gods explores a world in which the old gods of biblical and mythological roots are steadily losing followers to the new gods of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. The audience's entry point is Ricky Whittle's (The 100) Shadow Moon, an ex-con who becomes the traveling partner and bodyguard of Ian McShane's (Deadwood) Mr. Wednesday, a conman who is eventually revealed to be Odin, one of the old gods, on a mission to gather his forces in preparation for battle against the new gods.

Emily Browning, American Gods Starz

As big fans of Gaiman's novel, which largely takes place in Shadow's head, Fuller and Green didn't stray too far from the show's source material, promising that "if you loved it in the book, it will show up in the series." However, a notable change is the expansion of the novel's female characters, a decision Fuller and Green made because, as Fuller described it, the novel is largely a "sausage party" as it's about "two guys on a road trip."

The X-Files' Gillian Anderson joins American Gods

One of the characters who benefits the most from an expanded role is Emily Browning's Laura Moon, the late wife of Whittle's Shadow. "That was the character that for us was fleshed out to a good extent in the novel, and yet we got to pick up that baton and run with it," said Fuller, who noted that there's an episode that is told from Laura's point of view. "[She] was one of the [characters] that we really took ownership of, and we're very excited about telling her tale."

"Once we had Emily Browning sharing that costume, she kind of opened up even larger, and we could just see where she was going," Green added.

As for the show's diverse cast, Fuller said they just took their cues from the source material. "It was never really a question of doing otherwise for us," Fuller said about casting Whittle as Shadow. "In order to do the book, you have to cast the character who was written, which is someone who was not white."

American Gods is slated to debut in 2017 on Starz.