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Bryan Fuller Talks Neil Gaiman, AMERICAN GODS, and Its GAME OF THRONES Connection

Oh Bryan Fuller, you mad television genius, you. As if we weren’t already tickled by his small screen endeavors — the brilliant Hannibal being chief among them at the moment — the prolific writer/producer/doer-of-all-things has also undertaken the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed novel, American Gods, hopefully coming to Starz in the near future.

It’s a move that’s both excited and terrified fans of Gaiman’s novel and Fuller’s work in general. But if anyone could pull off such an expansive and impressive story with visual aplomb, surely it is the man who invented the wendingo.

Speaking with the author, Crave Online got the scoop of the series’ anticipated trajectory, in addition to tidbits about the involvement of Gaiman and whether or not the series will deviate (and to what degree) from the book’s original story line.

First thing’s first — don’t expect this one right away. In fact, don’t expect it next year, either. “If it does go [to series],” Fuller explained in the interview, “it would start filming sometime mid-to-late 2015 and probably wouldn’t be on anybody’s television until 2016.”

No doubt chief of the concerns amongst readers of Gaiman’s source material is the question of just how loyal the series would be to the story he told, Fuller compared his endeavor — at least in terms of characters — to HBO’s epic series to end all epic series, Game Of Thrones. “It’s basically the following the events of the books but expanding those events, and expanding the point of view to go above and beyond [main characters] Shadow and Wednesday. In that way, as with Game of Thrones, there are dozens of characters that you’re tracking through the events and that’s probably the biggest similarities between the worlds, in that there’s a wide variety of characters at play.”

But Fuller has more to work with, event and character-wise, given that American Gods also has a follow-up novel, Anansi Boys, from which to cull from and create further storytelling from. He confirmed as much in the interview. “Since Anansi Boys are in the world of American Gods – that we would be allowed to use those as well.”

And, perhaps the biggest question on people’s minds? How involved will Neil Gaiman be in the day-to-day of the series’ creation? “Neil’s executive producing and he’s very involved,” explained Fuller. “He is absolutely integral to the process and also very excited just to see it coming together in the fashion that it is.”

It’s no surprise, really, considering Gaiman’s recent foray into epic storytelling thanks to his episodic writing on BBC’s Doctor Who. His two episodes, “The Doctor’s Wife” and “Nightmare in Silver” were particular highlights in each of their respective seasons. Which, of course, begs the most potentially epic question of all: Will Gaiman write any episodes himself?

“He’d better,” joked Fuller. “He’d god damn well better.”

So — now that we’ve got a few more details going here, just how excited are you all for the continued development of the series? Let’s dissect and discuss it in the comments.

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  1. sophie says:

    Wake me when its over! I can’t look!

  2. sophie says:

    I can’t look!!. Wake me up when its over

  3. N says:

    … He didn’t invent the Wendigo.  The Algonquins did.  

  4. Jack says:

    I would rather they cull extra material from the short story Monarch of the Glen than from Anansi Boys.

  5. Andrew says:

    Aren’t BBC making an Anasi Boys series already?

    • Shanonigans says:

      The story I heard was that they got as far as the script stage when the studio said they wanted to cast primarily white actors for the lead roles, which Gaiman emphatically vetoed.  The whole project sort of fizzled out after that.

  6. Amarie says:

    I am so excited. I’ve been dreaming of an American Gods adaptation since I read the book. I think it has so much potential. I always figured it would be a movie, which would have to be more streamlined and, thus, bits and pieces would have to be cut; but as series there is so much room to explore and it’s a wonderful world to do so. This interview has left me with great confidence that Fuller will make the book justice and just hope the studio just lets him and Neil go with it.
    About the visual quality of the series, I have to say that I’d rather watch a good story, with great characters and crappy effects, than the other way around. From what I read before, I trust that Neil went with this studio because he expects them to respect the story, and that’s enough for me.

  7. Dukes says:

    I have little faith in the production quality of Starz series. There is a lot of historical and cultural research that went into American Gods and Starz has no regard for history whatsoever. It is merely a place we take ideas from and then run all willy nilly like with them into obscurity because face it, everything HBO and Showtime does is vastly superior on many levels. HBO only tuned it down because they didn’t think any script did the book justice. I would be remiss if the only American Gods series we get is a shabby one. 

  8. Skip Mendler says:

    It would be a hoot if they got Tom Hiddleston as Low-Key, wouldn’t it? Or would that violate some cosmic law?

  9. Skip Mendler says:

    You have to wonder what they will do with the djinn’s story – not to mention Bilquis!

  10. Simon says:

    “from which to cull from and create further storytelling from”? Seriously?

  11. Laura says:

    Terrified. Loved the book. No matter how hard they try, they always ruin it. Yes, I AM an optimist…

  12. Martha says:

    Utterly terrified that this almost-perfect masterpiece will be butchered beyond recognition!

  13. Caitlin says:

    The wendigo is a prominent feature in the legends of the Algonquin – so no, not invented, but rather borrowed.

  14. tcbal says:

    To be corrected, though: Larry Fesseden dreamed up a wendigo (not ‘wendingo’ in 2001)….

    • Maggie! says:

      to be further corrected: the Wendigo was not created for Hannibal, but is a monster from Algonquian mythology and are associated closely with cannibalism. so it’s a clever reference, but was not by any means created by Bryan Fuller.

  15. An says:

    Looking so forward to this.

    (P.S.: I love everything Gaiman created, but “Nightmare in Silver” was utter crap. Seriously, what the fuck was wrong with you, Neil? I trusted you! )

    • ben says:

      for that… blame Moffat and his editting… and those damn children!

      • Kendra says:

        That was pretty much a case of Neil writing a beautiful episode, Moffat butchering it, and then slapping Neil’s name back on what was left.

    • Atnaja says:

      Gaiman himself mentioned in an interview that he isn’t satisfied with “Nightmare in Silver” because they (regisseur and others) changed too much of his original script.

    • Justin says:

      It wasn’t that bad.  I thought Warwick Davis was pretty damn good.