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Bryan Fuller and Michael Green on AMERICAN GODS’ Women, S2, and Moving Beyond the Book

If you thought American Gods was Peak Bryan Fuller in season one, just wait until its sophomore outing arrives on your screen and the god squad get into the fight for real—because it’s going to get even crazier.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Bryan as happy as when we were walking through [the House on the Rock],” explained co-executive producer, Michael Green. The House on the Rock, as fans will recall, is where we saw Bilquis heading at the end of season one (which is available for download now and out on Blu-ray and DVD October 17). Readers of Neil Gaiman‘s source material also know it as, perhaps, one of the most pivotal moments in the story. And it’s also a real-live place in Wisconsin.

“It’s unlike any other place I’ve ever been to; it is a wonderful amalgamation of kitsch, camp, and curiosity. It’s my favorite place on the continent,” Fuller quipped to us.

It’s hard to imagine anything being as unreal and imaginative as the first season of the series. For all the ways in which it messed with perception and framing, using unique visualizations and story structuring to bring Gaiman’s opus to life, it was perhaps most successful in its expansion of its female characters and their importance to the story.

“For us, it was wanting to have a more balanced voice on the show,” said Fuller. “The book has a limited amount of page count in order to tell its story, and if the female characters were fleshed out in a way that Shadow and Wednesday were fleshed out, it would be quite the tone. Neil didn’t have the real estate, and we did as a TV series. Michael and I both love writing for women, and exploring female characters. It just felt like it was absolutely necessary, and there wasn’t ever any choice in the matter.”

In fact, the expansion of Bilquis and Easter were part of the first conversation the duo ever had with Gaiman. Fuller said, “It went to our first conversations with Neil, the idea that this series was going to take a book we love and accordion it out. We asked him, ‘What do you think about expanding those two roles, especially, being in the beginning?’ and his eyes lit up with interest, because those are characters he wanted to do more with himself, but he couldn’t as a first-time novelist [Editor’s note: American Gods wasn’t Gaiman’s first novel] that was already writing a book that was probably frustratingly too long for his editors.”

Thankfully, there are no length issues when it comes to TV (or at least, very few that would be a problem for Starz), and it gives Green and Fuller the opportunity to, essentially, play at great length with Gaiman’s story and his characters.

According to Green, working on last season and this one has been a joy of fanboyish proportions. “It dissolves it in the best way possible. We get to walk into the toy store, play with any toys we want, leave a mess on the floor and keep playing, and never have to clean up. It’s challenging in actualizing it [but] those challenges were always fun because we were building our LEGO houses more and more intricately.”

And we’re in for a much more frenetically paced second season, sure to thrill fans of the book and show alike, if Fuller is to be believed. “The second season has so much more energy and drive than the first season, because we spent eight episodes trying to establish a vocabulary, not only for the audience, but for Shadow Moon to understand the world that he’s been plunged into. We ended that season with an awareness that gives us the opportunity to go further and dig deeper for these character stories now that everybody’s on the same page.”

He added: “Now that everybody’s on the same page, it’s like jet fuel.”

Images and GIFs: Starz

Alicia Lutes is the Managing Editor, creator/host of Fangirling, and resident Khaleesi of House Nerdist. Find her on Twitter!

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