Spoiler Warning: This article contains character tidbits that some sensitive souls may deem spoiler-ific, so if you don't want to know which character engulfs men whole via her vagina, or who dies straight off the bat in American Gods, please turn away now.
With Starz's adaptation of Neil Gaiman's #AmericanGods set to rival Game of Thrones and Westworld in terms of fantastical content, otherworldly hype and convoluted narratives, it's pretty important to get your who's-who down before the show launches this April. But, first things first, check out the teaser #trailer below:
Below you'll find a comprehensive guide to the cast members who make up most important characters in American Gods, organized from humans to the Old Gods and the new.
'American Gods' — The Humans
Character info: After spending three years in jail, Shadow is released to a considerably different world; a world in which magic is real and Gods walk among men. Hired as a (reluctant) body guard to Mr. Wednesday — a man who seems to know Shadow better than Shadow knows himself — the pair venture across America, blowing Shadow's mind in the process.
Played by: Ricky Whittle
Where have you seen him before? Originally destined to bend it like Beckham, Whittle's dreams of becoming a professional footballer were dashed due to injury; but the pitch's loss is definitely our gain. After starring in a number of British soap operas such as Hollyoaks and Dream Team, Whittle switched shores for American TV shows like Single Ladies, Mistresses, The 100 and now American Gods.
Yet it's not just acting roles that've made this guy renowned within the industry — his body has a lot to do with it, too. He once modeled for sports brand Reebok and bagged second place in reality show Strictly Come Dancing.
Character info: Only a few pages into the novel, you learn that Laura Moon a.k.a Shadow's wife, died in a tragic car accident — yet she remains a familiar character throughout American Gods thanks to love, memory and a mysterious gold coin.
Played by: Emily Browning
Where do you know her from? This Australian actress got her breakthrough hit in 2002 via the horror movie Ghost Ship and his since starred in productions like A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Uninvited, Sucker Punch and Legend.
Character info: Shadow's best friend — and thanks to his actions, also his worst enemy. Robbie — or something of Robbie's, rather — was directly involved in the death of Shadow's wife, Laura.
Played by: Dane Cook
Where do you know him from? Being a stand-up comedian, actor and director, there are multiple arenas in which you may have seen or heard Cook's work. It could be from his five comedy albums, one of which — "Retaliation" — became the highest grossing comedy album of all time. Or perhaps you know him from Workaholics, Good Luck Chuck, Mr. Brooks and Employee of the Month. If you're super old school, you may even know him for being one of the first people to build a huge fan base via MySpace!
'American Gods' — The Old Gods
Character info: Described by Shadow as a "two-bit con artist," Mr. Wednesday is a charismatic, perverse, wise and mysterious soul with grand plans of uniting the Old Gods in a battle against the new — characteristics you'd expect from Odin, the Norse God of knowledge and power.
Played by: Ian McShane
Where have you seen him before? Another native Brit, McShane has been working the scene since the '80s, and though he's mostly known for television roles in Lovejoy, Deadwood and Game of Thrones, you'll also recognize him as Blackbeard from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Hot Rod's Frank.
- The New 'American Gods' Trailer Just Announced Your Next Biggest TV Obsession
- Jeremy Davies To Play Jesus In Upcoming Starz Series 'American Gods'
- 'American Gods' In Action: First Look At The Starz Show
Character info: Mad Sweeney is a leprechaun who lost his luck, and spends a great deal of time complaining about that fact. He's unbelievably tall — like, at least 7ft — has bright red hair and loves a good fight, which is handy as it goes with the territory when working for Mr. Wedsneday.
Played by: Pablo Schreiber
Where have you seen him before? This American Gods cast member is a dude who's appeared in so many awesome shows it can be hard to keep track. You may know him as Nick Sobotka in The Wire, Ricky Falcone in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Demetri Ravitch in Weeds, or the awful Officer George "Pornstache" Mendez in Orange Is the New Black.
Low Key Lyesmith
Character info: Shadow's prison cellmate, Low Key Lyesmith, is in fact Loki, the Norse God of mischief and trickery.
Played by: Jonathan Tucker
Where have you seen him before? He played one of the obsessed neighborhood boys in The Virgin Suicides before starring as Morgan in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dennis Kelly in Hostage, Matthew Brown in Hannibal, Bob Little in Parenthood, and Boon in Justified.
On top of all that, Tucker is generally just a good human; a number of years ago he founded The Pegasus Fund, which provides financial support to high-performing students in under-served communities.
Character info: Biliquis (a.k.a Queen of Sheba) is an enticing woman suspected of being half human, half jinn (demon). In American Gods her character works as a prostitute and literally devours men whole via her vagina.
Played by: Yetide Badaki
Where have you seen her before? All things going well, American Gods will likely be Badaki's break-out hit. Her previous work includes roles in The Failing Man, Masters of Sex, Sequestered and Aquarius.
Character info: Based on Slavic mythology, Czernobog is a "black god" — the god of darkness — causing all the world's misery. His twin brother, Bielebog, is the god of light. There is confusion, or debate, over whether these brothers are in fact the same person.
Played by: Peter Stormare
Where have you seen him before? Considering he's been working in the industry since the late '70s, there are a bunch of places in which you've probably seen this American Gods cast member. He acted in the Coen brothers' Fargo, in The Lost World: Jurassic Park and The Big Lebowski, he was in 8mm, Minority Report and Bad Boys II, and projects like Prison Break and 22 Jump Street.
Character info: The three Zorya sisters also hail from Slavic mythology and represent different stages of the star; their primary task is to guard the doomsday hound, Simargl, who's chained to the Little Bear constellation. Should that chain ever break, the hound will devour the world. Vechernyaya is the "Evening star," and develops a special bond with Shadow.
Played by: Cloris Leachman
Where have you seen her before? Leachman's career goes back to the late '40s (!!!) so allow me to just pick out some of the highlights. The Oscar-winning actress played Ruth in the original Lassie series, Mrs. Fremont in The Twilight Zone, the titular Phyllis Lindstrom in Phyllis, Dot Richmond on The Ellen Show, Ida in Malcolm in the Middle, voiced Old Marceline in Adventure Time and Meryl in Bob's Burgers. She voiced Gran in The Croods, Mrs. Tensedge in The Iron Giant and played Frau Blücher in The Young Frankenstein. Among many, many, others.
Character info: Also known as Anasi, Mr. Nancy is a trickster spider-man who hails from African folklore. Often patronizing, he mostly likes to make fun of people's — or Shadow's — stupidity.
Played by: Orlando Jones
Where have you seen him before? American comedian actor Orlando Jones is mostly known for being an original cast member on sketch show MADtv, but you may also recognize him from movies and shows such as Sour Grapes, Magnolia, Bedazzled, Evolution, Rules of Engagement and the TV series Sleepy Hollow.
Character info: Also known as Thoth, the Ancient Egyptian god of knowledge and writing, which comes in handy when writing up short bios for those who brought folklore to America. He runs a funeral parlor in Illinois with Mr. Jacquel (below).
Played by: Demore Barnes
Where have you seen him before? This Canadian actor is mostly known for his role in TV series The Unit, though you may have also spotted him in 12 Monkeys, The Flash, Supernatural and Hannibal.
Character info: An incarnation of Anubis, the Ancient Egyptian god of mummification and the afterlife, you first meet Mr. Jacquel as a long-muzzled black dog. He runs the the funeral parlor with fellow American Gods character, Mr. Imbiss (above).
Played by: Chris Obi
Where have you seen him before? Comedy fans may remember Chris Obi from The Peter Serafinowicz Show, but most will know him as the Mirror Man in Snow White and the Huntsman, Kintango in Roots and soon, as Ambassador Kiyoshi in the Ghost in the Shell adaptation.
Character info: An old pal of Wednesday's, Vulcan is the old god of weaponry and fire, and has done pretty well for himself living in America's new gun-obsessed world. However, because of his cushty, he's not so keen on joining the other old gods on their mission.
Played by: Corbin Bernsen
Where have you seen him before? The West Wing, General Hospital, L.A. Law, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Young and the Restless
Character info: This buxom goddess also goes by the names Ēostre and Ostara and is one of the Old Gods who teams up with Mr. Wednesday in the battle against the new. She also knows how to throw a splendid picnic, and is still fairly relevant thanks to Jesus and bunnies.
Played by: Kristin Chenoweth
Where have you seen her before? Bewitched, The West Wing, Ugly Betty, Pushing Daisies, The Good Wife, Glee, Rio 2, Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie
'American Gods' — The New Gods
Character info: Mr. World is the leader of the New Gods, but pay close attention here for not all is as it seems — this devious deity is also Low Key Lyesmith, the Old God of trickery.
Played by: Crispin Glover
Where have you seen him before? So. Many. Places. As George McFly in Back to the Future, Bobby McBurney in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Thin Man in the Charlie's Angels franchise, Grendel in Beowulf, and Stayne in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.
Character info: Simply put, Media is the personification of television and she appears in many forms throughout the saga — as the titular Lucy in I Love Lucy, as Diane from Cheers, and as a TV newscaster who winks at Shadow from within the set.
Played by: Gillian Anderson
Where have you seen her before? The X-Files, obviously, is where most of you will know American Gods cast member Gillian Anderson. If you're a Dickens fan, you may remember her from Bleak House and Great Expectations (TV mini-series), or from watching thriller series like Hannibal and The Fall.
Character info: Technical Boy represents the internet and is described as an acne-riddled fatty. One would assume, considering American Gods was penned in 2001, his character will be the most developed within this adaptation.
Played by: Bruce Langley
Where have you seen him before? Unless you happened to watch 2015's Deadly Waters in which Langley starred as Jake, you probably haven't seen him anywhere — yet!
Keep coming back for casting / character updates when American Gods kicks off in 2017!