Highlights from a political American Gods panel at New York Comic Con


Sorry American Gods fans, the cast was incredibly tight-lipped at New York Comic Con this year and no information for Season 2 was revealed. However, the cast members there were more than happy to spend the time discussing the social relevance of their show as well some behind-the-scenes fun.

The main discussion at the panel involved the themes that American Gods tackled throughout season one. Show star, Ricky Whittle, confirmed many fans’ interpretations that the series definitely dealt with immigration and how it’s dealt with today. In fact, Whittle did not hold back on the panel explaining that their show is meant to tackle racism, sexism, homophobia, and any kind of prejudice out there.

His statements were met with resounding applause, and he encouraged the audience to not normalize hatred by simply thinking things can never change. While the other two cast members also agreed, Whittle was by far the most outspoken and his words had a positive effect on the audience as well as giving them something to think about. His full speech went on for a while, and he brought up the current NFL protests, but nonetheless, it was a very powerful moment for NYCC.

"It’s an important show, and we were just very fortunate. The book came out in 2001. We wrapped before the inauguration and all kinds of shit hit the fan, to be quite honest. We were just fortunate that we happened to feature all these themes in our show. And it’s very important that we don’t make this normal, this kind of way of life that we seem to be living at the moment,” he said. “We were like, ‘Never gonna happen.’ But it did! ‘It’s not gonna get worse.’ It did! ‘Yeah, but they don’t do that.’ They did! That can’t ever, ever, ever, ever become normal, where we’re just like, ugh, what’s happening today? No. Excuse my language, f**k that. No. I don’t want to get too political."

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"I was really inspired yesterday morning, I was in the gym, and a soldier was talking to me, and he said, ‘I didn’t put my life on the line for anyone to tell people–free people, never mind the president–what they’re allowed to kneel for in their life.’ It’s not about the flag. It’s not about the anthem. Colin Kaepernick and all these sports stars love America. They love the flag. They love the anthem. It’s never been about that, and we need to focus on what it’s about. And with our show, we’re keeping stuff in conversation which needs to be happening. We’re talking about immigration. We’re talking about racism, sexism. We’re talking bout homophobia. We’re talking about gay rights. We’re talking about gun control. All of this stuff matters. All of this stuff cannot be normal. We need to be having these conversations every day. And not just having conversations–how about we start making stuff happen?"

On a less serious note, the cast of American Gods spoke about their audition processes along with meeting the legendary Bryan Fuller. Yetide Badaki, who plays Bilquis, talked early on about how she considered herself a true “nerd” and that auditioning for a novel she loved so dearly was a dream come true. A fan of Neil Gaiman as an author, Badaki spoke about how connected she already felt to her character and that she didn’t view Bilquis as a woman requiring male adoration but rather someone who thrives on the full-body love from people. It’s always fun to see an actress to be so excited over landing a part, especially when she loves the story as much as Badaki does.

Pablo Schreiber, who plays Mad Sweeney, didn’t actually have to audition because his agent demanded he be given the role without one. Of course, the producers denied that request and the American Gods pilot was actually shot with a different actor. Luckily, the chemistry just wasn’t there and Schreiber landed the part of the Irishman and bring the fan favorite to life. His first wig was actually too large because it was fit for the former actor, and after they shaved the sides than the character came to life. While he doesn’t actually have the Irish accent in real life, Schreiber did reveal that the easier word to say was, “f**k”.

Yet, Ricky Whittle was the star of the panel where he quickly became a rock star on the Main Stage. He had nothing but high praises to sing about his current castmates (including Ian McShane), and his former on The 100.

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He constantly jumped out of his seat to tell enthusiastic stories, and at one point he got off stage to give a fan a hug as well as a kiss after she encouraged him to “be yourself”. It was definitely disappointing to not get the scoop at all for Season 2, but Whittle’s unapologetic effusiveness made the entire panel worth the wait.