“So that’s how they find Anansi the next morning, when his wife and his sons come down to the pea patch by the old breadfruit tree: all stuck to the tar man, and dead as history.” -Anansi Boys
As a fan of the book American Gods by Neil Gaiman, I’m finding that there are fewer and fewer reasons to watch the Starz show. First came the exits of showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green after the conclusion of the breakout first season, which caused the show to then lose both Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth who left in solidarity. Rumor has it that conflicts regarding the show’s budget and adherence to the source material lead to the row.
Neil Gaiman chose Jesse Alexander to replace Fuller and Green, but shorty thereafter, Alexander found his role on the Starz drama severely reduced. Friction between Starz executives, Freemantle, the production company handling the show and Gaiman, who serves as an executive producer on the show, have been responsible for multiple delays, which at one point caused the show to go on a forced hiatus, as it fell 6 weeks behind schedule during season 2.
Now, another prominent figure within the cast has fallen. Orlando Jones, who portrayed the god Anansi/Mr. Nancy has, in his words, been fired from the show. Jones not only played the god, but also served as a producer and writer on the show during the troubled season 2. Fans of Gaiman’s work will also recall that Mr. Nancy is also the subject of his other novel, Anansi Boys, so this loss might hit particularly hard.
— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) December 14, 2019
In his tweet concerning his firing, Jones thanked fans, Fuller, Green and Gaiman for his role on the show while blasting a showrunner who he did not name, but mentioned that he was from Connecticut and went to Yale. Starz only named one new showrunner that fits that description and that would be Charles Eglee.
Shortly after his tweet, a spokesperson for Fremantle had the following to say to Deadline
“The storylines of American Gods have continually shifted and evolved to reflect the complex mythology of the source material. Mr. Jones’ option was not picked up because Mr. Nancy, among other characters, is not featured in the portion of the book we are focusing on within Season 3.”
To be quite honest, that’s a lot of words that don’t disprove what Jones said, especially considering that he was also a writer and producer on the show. This also follows a similar firing/non renewal that involved Gabrielle Union and America’s Got Talent, a show that is also handled by Fremantle.
For my part, given the lackluster season two and the continued drama behind the scenes, the loss of this standout character is really the last straw. As I said, I enjoyed the book and it seems that’s all I really need or will be getting, for that matter. Hasta lasagna, American Gods. It’s been…interesting.
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