War is brewing between Old and New Gods in Season 2 of ‘American Gods’

‘American Gods’ – Tension between Shadow and Wednesday

Ricky Whittle (left) and Ian McShane star in “American Gods,” returning for its second season Sunday on Starz.

The destinies of gods and men collide, bringing the battle to a crisis point as Starz’s “American Gods” returns for its second season this week.

Premiering Sunday, March 10, the eight-episode sophomore round finds Mr. World (Crispin Glover) plotting revenge for the attack against him in Season 1, while Shadow (Ricky Whittle) joins Mr. Wednesday’s (Ian McShane) attempt to convince the Old Gods of the case for war, and Laura and Mad Sweeney (Emily Browning, Pablo Schreiber) tag along for the ride. A council at House on the Rock explodes, sending Old and New Gods on quests across the country that end in Cairo, Ill., thus forcing Shadow to establish his place as a believer in a dark new world of living gods, where change demands commitment and faith requires sacrifice.

“He’s been awoken into a world, but just because he now believes, it doesn’t mean he understands,” explains Whittle to a recent gathering of journalists in Pasadena, Calif. “And he’s a smart, intelligent man and he needs to understand his place in this (world). He wants to know the stakes. He wants to know the size, the players and where he fits in this puzzle. Now he knows that everything is real around him and he wants answers. He’s going to be very much more proactive.

Ian McShane stars in “American Gods,” returning for its second season Sunday on Starz.

“You know, we’ve got a lot more layers to add to Shadow this season and he’s going to start searching for answers which is going to cause a lot of friction between Shadow and Mr. Wednesday, who is reluctant to give that information. Knowledge and information is power on this show and he doesn’t want to give it. So, the two are going to be tense this season.”

The new season will also bring aboard several new characters: New Media (Kahyun Kim, “Spa Night”), the goddess of global content and a master of manipulation; Sam Black Crow (Devery Jacobs, “Rhymes for Young Ghouls”), a two-spirited wanderer who lives life with an openness and a fierce confidence; Mama-Ji (Sakina Jaffrey, “Timeless”), a Hindu goddess of war and waitress at the Motel America; and Mr. Town (Dean Winters, “Rescue Me”), a believer in progress tasked by Mr. World to find out about Mr. Wednesday’s plan.

As for Wednesday, McShane relishes playing this capricious character he calls a “distant cousin of Al (Swearengen, his role on ‘Deadwood’),” who figures to be a major factor this season.

“Wednesday’s stirred (the Old Gods) up again but do they want to go to war?” McShane says. “There’s a sly humor that goes throughout the series, I think, about how serious is he about this war. But he’s serious, as you’ll find out as we go on.”

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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