The series posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. The plot centers around Shadow Moon, an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.
Gaiman said in a statement, “I’m thrilled that Ricky has been cast as Shadow. His auditions were remarkable. The process of taking a world out of the pages of a book, and putting it onto the screen has begun. ‘American Gods’ is, at its heart, a book about immigrants, and it seems perfectly appropriate that Shadow will, like so much else, be Coming to America. I’m delighted Ricky will get to embody Shadow. Now the fun starts.”
Showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green added, “We searched every continent and country and all the islands in between for our Shadow Moon, and we are lucky to have found Ricky. Fans of the novel will find he has every bit of the heart of the character they fell in love with.”
British-born Whittle is currently a series regular on The CW’s post-apocalyptic drama “The 100,” and has previously appeared in “Austenland,” “Hollyoaks,” “Mistresses,” “NCIS” and “Holby City.”
“American Gods” is produced by FremantleMedia North America for Starz. Fuller and Green serve as writers and showrunners, with Fuller’s frequent “Hannibal” helmer David Slade set to direct the pilot and additional episodes. FMNA’s Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk are executive producing the series along with Fuller, Green, Slade and Gaiman. SVP of Original Programming Ken Segna is the Starz executive in charge of “American Gods.” Starz retains all network pay TV and SVOD rights to the project, and FremantleMedia is distributing the series worldwide. The show will begin shooting in April in Toronto.
Ricky Whittle is represented by TalentWorks, Creative Artists Management in the UK, and Untitled Entertainment.