This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
With a pantheon of divine characters returning and arriving for the first time in American Gods Season 2, here’s what you need to know about the gods old and new. And here’s our spoiler-filled refresher on what happened in season one.
Played by Kahyun Kim
Gillian Anderson’s departure from American Gods was announced a few weeks after the exit of original showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green (as a result of conflict about season two’s development and direction).
That left the series Media-less, without one third of its modern deity team. Instead of re-casting the same role, the show’s solution was to create an updated version of the God – New Media. Where Anderson’s persona-adopting deity had concentrated firmly on 20th century media icons from television, film and music – Lucille Ball, 1970s David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe, Scarlett O’Hara… this new God would be the supreme being of social media. Think Facebook, but a person, with superpowers.
Kahyun Kim, best known so far for comedic roles in US film and TV, is playing New Media, a glimpse of whom could be seen in the season two trailer.
Played by Sakina Jaffrey
When a battle is coming, you need a goddess of war on your side. Hindu deity Kali, in the guise of Mama-Ji, is one of American Gods‘ new recruits. The skull-necklace-wearing motel waitress will be played by Timeless, House Of Cards and Mr. Robot‘s Sakina Jaffrey.
In the Hindu religion, Kali has been variously worshipped as a destroyer of evil forces, the divine mother, protector and liberator. In lore, she is often associated with her consort Shiva the Destroyer, but here, seems to be alone, waiting tables and waiting for the war to come.
Played by Dean Winters
Law And Order: SVU and Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Dean Winters plays one of Mr. World’s acolytes, Mr. Town. In the Neil Gaiman novel, he’s associated with Mr. Road, Mr. Wood and Mr. Stone, also employees of Crispin Glover’s modern gods. For the TV series, those characters may have been bundled into one.
Played by Ian McShane
He’s a hustler, a swindler, a cheater, a liar, and the Norse god All-Father. As he tells Shadow in the season one finale, he has as many names as there are winds, as many titles as there are ways to die. His ravens are Huginn and Muninn, thought and memory. His wolves are Freki and Geri. His horse is the gallowed. His Cadillac is Betty. He is Odin! He can control the weather and he’s currently recruiting the old gods to join him in a war against the new deities, Media, Technical Boy and Mr. World.
Played by Orlando Jones
The West African and Caribbean spider god Anansi works as a storytelling tailor in modern-day America. He’s an ally of Mr. Wednesday’s and made new suits for him and Shadow Moon to wear to Ostara’s Easter Sunday party while telling them the story of Bilquis’ rise and fall and rise to power.
AKA The Queen of Sheba
Played by: Yetide Badaki
She’s the goddess of love, an ancient Ethiopian deity who was worshipped in mass orgies that concluded with her absorbing the bodies of her lovers through a liquid she absorbs into her body. In modern-day America, she became a symbol for female power that was repressed by misogyny and violence. At her lowest ebb, she accepted the new gods’ offer of a modern altar on which to be worshipped—dating apps—and regained her power, growing stronger with every lover she sucks into her “vagina nebula.” In return for this favor, Technical Boy tells her to seduce (and therefore absorb) an enemy that we presume is Shadow Moon.
Played by: Kristin Chenoweth
The Pagan goddess of spring, Ostara’s festival, like that of Saint Nicholas, was usurped by Christianity. Jesus’ resurrection, helped by Media, turned the spring festival into Easter weekend, after which Ostara’s worshippers became Christians and non-believers. Odin urges her to punish mankind for forgetting her and showing them her power over nature to inspire them to sacrifice to her once more. She does, taking away the spring and turning America’s green fields into a barren wasteland.
AKA The Slavic God of Death and Darkness
Played by: Peter Stormare
A god with a gift for death, Czernobog lives with the Zorya sisters and makes his living working at a cattle slaughterhouse. He bemoans how modern technology has changed the slaughter business, with bolt guns stripping away the need for precision and talent in death. The dark god to his brother’s light, Czernobog bets on a game of checkers that if he wins, he can kill Shadow Moon with a hammer blow to the head at sunrise, and if he loses, he will join Wednesday’s fight against the new gods. Czernobog wins, but loses a rematch, so agrees to go with Wednesday to Wisconsin and to delay killing Shadow until after the war.
The Zorya Sisters
AKA The Morning, Evening and Midnight Stars
Played by: Cloris Leachman, Martha Kelly, Erika Kaar
Three Eastern-European fortune-telling sisters, one of whom has a romantic fling with Wednesday while another—the Midnight Star—encounters Shadow in a dream-like state, and gives him the gift of the moon in the form of a gold coin.
AKA The Roman God of Fire
Played by: Corbin Bernsen
When Wednesday visits Vulcan, he has renewed his powers through the new gods, accepting their offer to make every bullet fired a prayer to him, and every gun death a sacrifice in his name. He’s a gun manufacturer living in a country that worships the weapon. Wednesday brings a sword to a gunfight, however, and slices off Vulcan’s head with the weapon he forged for him, kicking his body into a fiery pit.
AKA Anubis, the Egyptian God of Death
Played by Chris Obi
In a mystical realm, Anubis is the god who weighs your heart at the end of your life and determines how you’ll spend the afterlife. On Earth, he’s fittingly the partner in a funeral home where Laura Moon gets an undead makeover after she climbs out of her grave as a revenant (thanks to Mad Sweeney’s enchanted gold coin, which he didn’t mean to give to her husband Shadow). He promises Laura that once her business on Earth is finished, he will take her to the afterlife.
AKA Thoth, the Egyptian God of wisdom
Played by Demore Barnes
Mr. Ibis is a partner at Mr. Jacquel’s funeral home, and one of the funeral directors who helped to stitch up Laura Moon when she rose from the grave.
Played by Gillian Anderson
One of the new gods, Media appears in iconic forms from popular culture, including Lucy Ricardo from I Love Lucy, David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe from The Seven Year Itch and Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind. She’s the god of television, the internet and the press, she works for Mr. World, and is more powerful than Technical Boy. Following Gillian Anderson’s departure, she will be replaced in season two by New Media (see above).
Played by Bruce Langley
A high-tech youngster who dresses in sci-fi fabrics, vapes toad-skin and claims to have reprogrammed reality, Technical Boy works for Mr. World and Media. He’s an angry beast who has his faceless goons (the Children) savagely beat and lynch Shadow Moon when he refuses to join the new gods.
Played by Crispin Glover
Odin’s opposite number in the new god camp, Mr. World is the god of modernity and the boss of Media and Technical Boy. His powers are unspecified as yet, but he and his goons (into whom he can ‘jump’ as a form of teleportation) are savage killers who sacrifice human lives. He tries to persuade Wednesday to join the old and new gods together in a merger, but after Odin kills his men and Ostara takes away the spring, Mr. World declares war.
AKA an Ifrit
Played by Mousa Kraish
A character from Arabic mythology, the Ifrit is a rebellious Jinn, or fire-spirit. In season one, we met Mousa Kraish’s mystical character driving a taxi in America. That’s how he meets Salim, a young Muslim man and newcomer to the US trying to make it as a salesperson. Salim and the Jinn have an instant connection when Salim recognises the Jinn’s true nature and fiery eyes. They make passionate love, but in the morning, the Jinn goes, leaving Salim his taxi behind. After his taxi was hijacked by Laura and Mad Sweeney, Salim was released, and allowed to go searching for the Jinn.
Played by Pablo Schreiber
Not a God, technically but a cursed Medieval Irish king who was once transformed into a bird and now calls himself a leprechaun. Mad Sweeney came to America thanks to the folk stories and devotions of believers like Essie MacGowan, where his enchanted gold coin brought him an unending stream of luck. Until that is, his luck ended when he accidentally gave the coin to Shadow Moon, who dropped it on his wife Laura’s grave, resurrecting her. Mad Sweeney grew closer to the undead Laura throughout season one, and chose to return the coin to her and bring her back to life a second time when he had the chance to take it. Acting on Wednesday’s orders, it was Mad Sweeney who ran Laura and Robbie’s car off the road, killing them both.