The long-awaited season three of American Gods launches globally on Starz, January 10th, 2021.
American Gods chronicles a war brewing between the Old Gods of ancient mythology and the New Gods of modern technology. Shadow Moon spent two seasons accompanying his boss, Mr. Wednesday, around the country, only to discover the Old God is actually his father.
This season, Shadow attempts to break away and assert himself as his own man. Putting down roots in the idyllic, snowy town of Lakeside, Wisconsin, he uncovers a dark secret while exploring questions of his own divinity. Guided on this spiritual journey by the gods of his black ancestors, the Orishas, Shadow must decide exactly who he is.
The Knockturnal had the pleasure of speaking with Ricky Whittle, Yetide Badaki, and Bruce Langley about their favorite scenes and why American Gods is arguably the most timely show out there.
The Knockturnal: How are you doing Ricky?
Ricky Whittle: I’m very well. How are you doing today?
The Knockturnal: Good. It’s great to hear some positivity in 2020.
Ricky Whittle: That’s all you get from me. This is a positivity locomotive.
The Knockturnal: I love it. I love it. Alright. Well you know I really am a huge fan of the show and the book. So I’m so excited to speak to you about it. Since season 1 we’ve seen this battle of the new and the old reach these new heights. I want to know, how you
think that conflict has evolved in season 3 and how your role in that has evolved, in that as well?
Ricky Whittle: I mean obviously it’s always evolving. This is a fantastic adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s book. So, if you’re a fan of the book then you know where we are going , if you are not hold tight cuz this roller coaster is about to take off because it is escalating. You know, Wednesday kinda continues to try and build towards what he’s trying to do. He’s bringing in a new character called Cordelia played by Ashley Reyes. So to manipulate that situation you have world coming back as Dominique Jackson, Danny Trejo, as well as, our very own superstar Crispin Glover. So, that’s exciting too! it’s just going to bring more and more attention with that battle and then with Shadow Moon you find a man who’s just not willing to face his destiny, yet. He’s not ready. He doesn’t want it. You know, we find him in season three in hiding. He’s growing his hair out. His beard out. He’s hiding from the police, the FBI. He doesn’t want anything to do with Wednesday who he’s just found out is his father. You know, It’s not like he was working at the local store, or the local bowling alley. This guy is a god. You know, his mother died when he was 15 and he’s been alone. He’s had a terrible life and Wednesday could have been there at any moment, so you find a petulant teenager in Shadow who just doesn’t want to speak to dad, this season. Which was a lot of fun to shoot um a lot of comedy with myself and Ian. And then it’s that kind of journey of self-discovery. Until Shadow is comfortable with who he is and what he is now, as a demigod. It’s about what kind of god he wants to be moving forward and then how does he fit into this puzzle.
The Knockturnal: Of course, I’ve been sorta thinking about the show in terms of what’s going on in the world right now and I think it’s very safe to say we’re living in this crazy, confusing,chaotic time, right. How do you think american gods, you know, as a vehicle of almost cultural commentary can help us navigate the moral quantities we’re going through right now?
Ricky Whittle: I mean one of the things i’m really truly proud of in in the show is is the diversity and the fact that we shine a light on all of it we’re not taking sides we’re not saying one’s good one’s bad we’re saying look how beautiful all these races are, look how beautiful all these genders are, these these sexual orientations, these nationalities. It’s shining a light on the beauty of everything and I feel it’s that education and awareness is what’s important will move us forward in life. I feel fear comes through a lack of education and what we kind of have with our show is a platform to kind of show how everyone’s the same at the end of the day we’re all from different backgrounds but we all just want to get home at the end of the day and get into bed with a cup of tea. Maybe not, a cup of tea. I’m British. But, you know, you want to get to bed at the end of the day, after a long day. We’ve all got our struggles and it doesn’t matter what they are, their struggles. And we have to overcome them like anybody else. and then we go. It’s all relative and then we get to bed. And for our show, I’m so proud that we’re able to shine a beautiful light on all of that. But, then also the fact that we showed the diversity in the cast and in the writing room. You know, the writing room is full of the LGBTQ, too. You got formerly incarcerated, black, white, biracial. You know, it’s about that inclusion. I think representation is so important because you can’t show true diverse stories without having that diversity behind the camera in the creative,too.
The Knockturnal: Yeah. Totally, totally.
Ricky Whittle: You know, everyone’s posting black squares. And, that’s great! But, you need to facilitate change properly. And what Chic Eglee and Neil Gaiman have been able to do is do that in that writing room so that you have real authentic voices speaking for their characters on screen which I’m really proud of them and I’m excited for everyone to see this season.
The Knockturnal: Well that’s all the time I have. That was such a beautiful answer. Thank you for your time Ricky and have a wonderful rest of the year in 2021! Let’s hope for the best.
Ricky Whittle: You got it. Stay positive brother! You got this! You stay SAFE
Yetide Badaki: I mean, Neil Gaiman is so prescient. His ability to somehow tap into the psyche years ahead is just beyond belief. We see a lot of individual journeys this season um a lot of journeys of self-discovery where characters are forced to look inward uh to find out more about themselves uh in order to figure out how they fit into the larger story and that is pretty much what we are living through right now where we’re forced um to really sit with ourselves in isolation and really look at the things that need to be re-examined so that we can all move forward together. We see that with Technical boy’s journey, you see it with Bilquis’s journey, as well. That you see them and that very much mirrored going through these isolated spaces. But, having hope and faith in something, at least. Speaking in regards to Bilquis having hope and faith, that there’s something more. That we’re part of something beyond that. We are not alone.
The Knockturnal: What do you think is unique about that relationship between Bilquis and tech boy?
Bruce Langley: That’s an interesting question. In broad strokes I’d say that’s something that’s explored in a lot more detail this season. I’m not sure exactly how much of this material I can flirt with without going into spoiler territory. That’s the thing, I don’t want to tiptoe around it. No I can’t. I can’t, I literally can’t think of a way to phrase this that wouldn’t spoil anything.
Yetide Badaki: Maybe, I can help. One thing that we realized that even though they do appear to be on very opposite sides of the spectrum, that they find they have more common ground. Than, may have previously been expected.
Bruce Langley: There you are.
The Knockturnal: I guess my other question might also reveal another spoiler, but I’m curious if there was a moment in the script that really challenged you and how you prepared for that scene? I guess without giving too much away I know I wasn’t.
Bruce Langley: Yes
Yetide Badaki: Yes
The Knockturnal: I mean given that you know um there’s a lot of character development and evolution. Did you find that this script was perhaps the most challenging, that you’ve faced yet?
Bruce Langley: That’s an interesting question. I would say it’s the scripts this season have undeniably been incredibly rich. There’s been so much to play with and across the board with all of the characters we’re going more into who they are on more of an actual personal journey that leads into the greater journey of the overarching plot. So with that in mind we get to learn more about them and who they are, why they are. So with that in mind there’s such a wealth of material to play with with this season, in particular. So that’s been really fun!
Yetide Badaki: Yeah and I definitely say that there were some things that maybe took a little more preparation. That dug. Perhaps, a little whereas as an actor you had to kind of dig in spaces that may ask for a lot. I think people are going to be very pleasantly surprised by these journeys that these characters take on.
The Knockturnal: Well I really loved what I saw so far and I wanted to say congratulations on the new season and I wish you all the best luck in 2021 in the rest of the year!
Yetide Badaki: Yes you do.
Bruce Langley: Thank you very much.