Just when things seemed quiet (maybe a little too quiet) over at STARZ's American Gods, it looks like the series' habit for finding itself in serious off-screen drama is back with full force. More than two months after Orlando Jones announced via social media he would not be returning for the third season – accusing "the new season 3 showrunner" (assumed to be Charles Eglee) of using race and racial considerations to remove his other characters of color from the upcoming season – the ex-Mr. Nancy has escalated his pushback… and this time, it's directed at series star Ricky Whittle (Shadow Moon).
On Saturday, Jones posted an image that had a screen cap of what appears to be a DM/text conversation with Whittle on the left side; followed by Jones' "For the record…" response on the right. While the tweet with the image is posted below, some of the points that stand out include Whittle accusing Jones of playing the "race card", Jones questioning whether or not they are or were "friends", Whittle accusing Jones of insighting "public trolls" to attack the series through social media, and Jones calling into question Whittle's motivations and timing for reaching out.
Fremantle US responded by saying that Jones and others were not brought back for the third season because their characters are not a factor in the portion of the book being covered during the third season. During January's Television Critics Association (TCA) winter press event, STARZ President and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch addressed Jones' departure directly.
Defending the series as "one of the most diverse shows on television", Hirsch also stated that Gaiman's novel was the reason for the cast changes: "Chic [Eglee] and the team decided to be in an area where Mr. Nancy didn't play a prominent role". Hirsch referred to Jones as "a tremendous talent and a really great person".
STARZ's adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods is bringing on a number of new faces for the upcoming season – including Blythe Danner, Ashley Reyes, Herizen Guardiola, Marilyn Manson, Eric Johnson, Dominique Jackson, Lela Loren, Danny Trejo, Julia Sweeney, Wale, and Iwan Rheon.
● Danner's Demeter is the Greek goddess of the harvest – and a god with an unresolved romantic history with Mr. Wednesday. As if that isn't enough of a hurdle to challenege even Odin, there's one more glitch in the plan: Demeter was involuntary committed to a mental institution.
● Reyes' Cordelia is a whip-smart but rebellious college dropout facing mounting legal bills and student debt before Mr. Wednesday arrived in her life. Now, she road trips across the country meeting her boss' eccentric friends and helping him with "tech stuff," unaware she's caught up in a divine battle for the soul of America.
● Guardiola's Oshun who is the Yoruban goddess of love, purity, fertility who uplifted and empowered the enslaved people who built America. While known as the maintainer of balance, and the mother of sweetness, Oshun is formidable and known for her spiritual strength. This season, Oshun and her fellow Orishas play a mysterious but vital role in Shadow's spiritual awakening.
● Johnson's is Chad Mulligan, Lakeside's Chief of Police who spends his days mediating disputes between townsfolk he's known his whole life. This trademark low-key diplomacy works well for Chad until a local teenage girl goes missing, igniting a panic of paranoia and blame that threatens to tear Chad's beloved town apart.
● Jackson's Ms. World is an an incarnation of Crispin Glover's Mr. World – who is looking to control destiny with a mysterious new piece of technology that, if brought online, will have the power to dominate humanity's attention. And in this modern age, attention is worship.
● Manson's Johan Wengren is the bloodthirsty front man for Viking death metal band Blood Death. Wengren and the band play an important role in Mr. Wednesday's war against the new gods.
● Loren's Marguerite Olsen is not native to Lakeside, but she has become part of the fabric of the town as a trusted reporter for the local paper, a committed single mother of two, and a no-nonsense property manager. She is understandably wary of the pain vulnerability brings – but when Shadow moves into her building, he begins to chip away at her defenses and uncover a side to Marguerite she thought she'd locked away for good.
● Trejo will portray one of Mr. World's forms (similar to Jackson's "Ms. World").
● Sweeney's Ann-Marie Hinzelmann is the disarmingly warm one-woman welcome wagon for Shadow when he arrives at Lakeside. She's the owner of a small convenience store, a world-famous fishing lure artisan, and the unofficial self-appointed mayor.
● Wale's Chango is one of the Orishas, the gods of his ancestors, guiding Shadow on this journey. Armed with two axes, an electrifying charisma, selfless passion, and warrior spirit, Chango could guide Shadow to his true place within the world of gods.
● Rheon's Doyle is a charming, good-natured leprechaun who once embraced his stereotypical Lucky Charms-St. Paddy's Day image now on a path to a more dignified and honorable existence.
STARZ's American Gods season 3 follows Shadow as he attempts to break away and assert himself as his own man, setting down roots in the idyllic snowy town of Lakeside, WI, where he'll uncover a dark secret while exploring questions of his own divinity. Guided on this spiritual journey by the gods of his black ancestors, the Orishas, Shadow must decide exactly who he is: a god seeking veneration or a man in service of the "we."
American Gods stars Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, Pablo Schreiber, Crispin Glover, Yetide Badaki, Bruce Langley, Omid Abtahi, Demore Barnes, Peter Stormare, Sakina Jaffrey, Dean Winters, Devery Jacobs, Kahyun Kim, Derek Theler, Laura Bell Bundy, and Christian Lloyd.