Adaptation is always a tricky process, creatively speaking. On one hand, you’re reworking a property that already boasts a built-in audience, while there are also titles – just like American Gods, in fact – that may require a slight facelift to bring it up to date with the times.
First published in 2001, Neil Gaiman’s fantasy tome is packed to the rafters with intriguing deities, but in repackaging American Gods for the small-screen, the creative minds at Starz – Gaiman included, who serves as executive producer on the upcoming show – have decided to fine-tune the character of Vulcan, an old ally to Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane).
Played here by Corbin Bernsen (Psych), Entertainment Weekly has today lifted the lid on a new image showing both Vulcan and Mr. Wednesday in action, with the former being described as a fiery, metal-forging deity. What’s arguably more interesting, though, is the story behind Vulcan’s creation, after co-showrunner Michael Green revealed how Neil Gaiman settled on the idea.
“He’s a brand-new addition who came from an experience Neil had. He was going through a small town in Alabama where he saw a statue of Vulcan. It was a steel town and, as he told the story, there was a factory that had a series of accidents where people were killed on the job and they kept happening because an actuarial had done the numbers and realized that it was cheaper to pay out the damages to the families of people who lost people, rather than to shut down the factory long enough to repair, and that occurred to him as modern a definition of sacrifice as there might be.”
For a show that draws comparisons between old gods and new – and, specifically, how humans worship each – Vulcan will no doubt fit right in to Starz’s roster of deities. But if Bernsen’s being was originally portrayed as a volcanic god, Bryan Fuller explained the decision to draw upon American’s “obsession with guns and gun control.”
“We started talking about America’s obsession with guns and gun control and, really, if you’re holding a gun in your hand, it’s a mini volcano, and perhaps, through this character, there’s a conversation to be had.”
Pitched as a fusion of Clash Of The Titans and The Grifters, Starz is expected to summon American Gods onto the airwaves at some point in April 2017.