All together now: YAAAAS KWEENS. Or rather, YAS Goddesses! Get ready to slam a big old high-five in the direction of showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, who've not only acknowledged the minimal female presence in Neil Gaiman's American Gods, but have worked on massively expanding their influence in the upcoming show. And that, let's be real, was really needed.
Unfortunately, though Gaiman's #AmericanGods is a veritable fantastical masterpiece, the female characters in the story rarely get a moment to shine — they're pushed to the side, dressed up as sexual entities, and their backstories are glossed over — and when they do shine, it's just a brief twinkle. Even Bilquis having a good old fashioned vag-munch upon a fellow is digested within a couple of pages. The #TV show is going to fix that.
Talking to Den of Geek, Emily Browning and Yetide Badaki (who play the #AmericanGodsCharacters Laura Moon and Bilquis) addressed their character expansion, stating plainly that the show benefits so much from this narrative shift:
Browning: "That was the first thing that I talked about with Bryan and Michael when I met them. There are some really cool, interesting female characters in the book, but they're tiny. They're just sort of small parts of the book. And they were saying it's really important to them to kind of expand the stories of the women, which is great. And, frankly, if they didn't do that, I think it would just be nowhere near as interesting of a show. It wouldn't be as fun to watch."
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Preach, sister. While I adore the novel, it aches for a deeper investigation of its women. There's a dead wife, a prostitute goddess, and a trio of star-gazing Slavs for cryin' out loud; who wouldn't want to learn more about them? Even Audrey, Laura's ex-best friend and Robbie's widow, gets a bigger part — a character Fuller and Green could really play with, given her minute appearance in the book.
In the same interview, Badaki addresses her initial thoughts when reading American Gods, adding that the Starz adaptation "dives" much deeper into their psyche:
"I remember reading Laura and reading Audrey and reading Bilquis and going, 'Oh, they’re…. Oh, they’re gone.' Like, I was just getting into them and then they were gone, so it’s really fun to get to dive in a little bit deeper to what these people are going through and you get to see all these different women in different three-dimensional forms, fully realized with flaws."
Browing added, in reference to her character Laura Moon:
"Laura’s Shadow’s wife and she’s sort of integral to the story in the book, but you don’t get to learn very much about her personally. And, in the show, we get to go back into her past and learn about her history and how she meets Shadow and how Shadow goes to prison in the first place and what made her such an awful person, I suppose ... When you see her in her everyday life kind of struggling and going through this mundane routine, I think it’s slightly easier to empathize with her and the shitty things that she does."
American Gods airs on Starz this Sunday at 9/8c. Are you ready to worship?