There are old gods, there are new gods (beyond the ones created by Jack Kirby), and both are preparing for some sort of war in Starz' American Gods.
Based on the 2001 novel by Neil Gaiman, the series has been created and overseen by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, and brings together a wide variety of performers who are breathing life into the author's creations. What follows is Empire's guide to the actors and their characters. Beware spoilers!
Ricky Whittle Is Shadow Moon
The British born actor began his career as a Reebok model, and first became recognized as an actor for the UK series Hollyoaks. He also starred on The 100 and recurred on Single Ladies. Shadow Moon is an ex-con, who, on the eve of his release, learns that his wife has died in a car accident (as it turns out, in the midst of providing oral pleasure to his best friend). As a result, he ends up working for the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday.
Ian MacShane Is Mr. Wednesday
There's no place to really begin here, except to note the man has an incredible number of credits to his name, including the TV series Lovejoy and Deadwood, and the films Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (in which he played Blackbeard) and the John Wick films. As to Mr. Wednesday, he's the guy who more or less gets things in motion, and he also happens to be the Norse god Odin.
Emily Browning Is Laura Moon
She first came to fame in a number of productions produced in her native Australia, including the series Blue Heelers and Something In The Air. In 2002 she starred in the film Ghost Ship, and two years later starred in Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events. Other credits include The Uninvited, Sucker Punch, The Host, Pompeii and Legend. Laura Moon, cheating on her husband, Shadow, with his best friend, dies in a car accident shortly before his release from prison. Which doesn't necessarily negate the possibility of her still hanging around.
Crispin Glover Is Mr. World
A wide variety of credits, among them Back To The Future, Wild At Heart, The Doors, Charlie's Angels, Willard, Alice In Wonderland and Hot Tub Time Machine. Not much is known about this character, although Mr. World is one part of the god of mischief, Loki.
Bruce Langley Is Technical Boy
Outside of some shorts, his only credit up to this series is 2015's Deadly Waters. Technical Boy is the New God of computers and the Internet, and is one of the strongest believers that the new should reign over the old.
Yetide Badaki Is Bilquis
The Nigerian-born Yetide has appeared on a number of TV shows (Lost, Masters Of Sex and Aquarius among them) and in the feature film Cardinal X. Her character is actually the Queen Of Sheba, walking the Earth as a prostitue to make it easier for her vagina to quite literally devour men and women. You don't see that on every TV show.
Pablo Schreiber Is Mad Sweeney
He's starred on several series, most notably The Wire, Orange Is The New Black, The Brink and Law And Order: Special Victims Unit, as well as Michael Bay's 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi. His character is American Gods' resident Leprechaun, or at least that's what he calls himself.
Jonathan Tucker Is Low Key Lyesmith
Numerous TV guest appearance, plus a starring role in The Black Donnellys, as well as recurring parts on Parenthood and Justified. His character, like Crispin Glover's Mr. World, is part of the god of mischief, Loki.
Cloris Leachman Is Zorya Vechernyaya
This veteran actress has a career that has spanned over seventy years and encompassed roles on film, television and the stage. She's a multiple Emmy winner and an Academy Award winner (for 1971's The Last Picture Show). Just two of her roles were as Phyllis Lindstrom on the classic sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and her subsequent spin-off, Phyllis; and as Frau Blucher in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein. On American Gods, her character is one of three sisters who guard over the "doomsday hound."
Peter Stomare Is Czernobog
Acting since 1978, the Swedish born Stomare has appeared in such films as Fargo, Armageddon, The Big Lebowski, Minority Report, Constantine, Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters, 22 Jump Street, and John Wick: Chapter 2. To television audiences he's probably best known as John Abruzzi in Prison Break. A dark god who wields a hammer against his enemies (imagine a deranged Thor unleashing his fury).
Chris Obi Is Mr. Jacquel
While he's made guest starring appearances on television and had small roles in films, Obi is on his way to more recognition not only from American Gods, but from Star Trek: Discovery, on which he will be playing the Klingon leader, T'Kuvma. On AG, his character is the Egyptian god of the dead, specializing in mummification.
Gillian Anderson As Media
Oh, sure, she's done lots of films, but the actress is best known as Dana Scully on The X-Files. Here, she is considered to be the "mouthpiece" and public face of the New Gods, tending to come to people as famous celebrities, among them Lucille Ball.
Orlando Jones As Mr. Nancy
He first caught public attention with his role on MADtv (appearing on forty-one episodes), which eventually led to his own self-titled series, and, more recently, in the role of Captain Frank Irving on the supernatural series Sleepy Hollow. As Mr. Nancy, he's a "trickster" from African folklore who mocks people for their stupidity. This is demonstrated early on when he brings a modern sensibility to a slave ship en route to America, provoking those stolen from their homeland into rebellion, mostly by pointing out how stupid they are.
Kristen Chenoweth Is Easter
There is such power — both as a singer and performer — in Chenoweth, whose credits range from television (The West Wing), stage (Promises, Promises; Wicked) and film (The Pink Panther remake, RV). She had previuosly collaborated with Bryan Fuller on Pushing Daisies. On AG, her character of Easter is the Germanic goddess of the dawn.
Corbin Bernsen Is Vulcan
He first caught people's attention as lawyer Arnie Becker on the eighties series L.A. Law. Since then he's starred in the Major League films, and on television in Psych. His character of Vulcan was created by Neil Gaiman for the TV version, and he's been described as a New God connected with guns.
Jeremy Davies Is Jesus
Primarily known for his roles in Saving Private Ryan, Lost and Justified, Davies is now taking on the role of the Son Of God. It's going to be interesting to see what sort of a part of this show Jesus plays.