If you read Neil Gaiman's original 2001 novel of the same name, which Starz's American Gods is based on, you're probably drawing a blank right now trying to recall who Vulcan is. Well, there's a good reason for that: Vulcan never appeared in the novel. Gaiman himself actually came up the idea for Vulcan while working on the upcoming series — which will debut this spring.
"He's a brand-new addition who came from an experience Neil had. He was going through a small town in Alabama where he saw a statue of Vulcan," co-showrunner Michael Green told EW. "It was a steel town and, as he told the story, there was a factory that had a series of accidents where people were killed on the job and they kept happening because an actuarial had done the numbers and realized that it was cheaper to pay out the damages to the families of people who lost people, rather than to shut down the factory long enough to repair, and that occurred to him as modern a definition of sacrifice as there might be."
In the show, Vulcan will be portrayed by Psych and L.A. Law star, Corbin Bernsen, and is one of Mr. Wednesday's oldest allies — though their friendship will be tested. "Vulcan's the god of the volcano and the forge, and what is the modern-day extrapolation of what that god could do?" co-showrunner Bryan Fuller mused. "We started talking about America's obsession with guns and gun control and, really, if you're holding a gun in your hand, it's a mini volcano, and perhaps, through this character, there's a conversation to be had."
American Gods has been translated into over 30 languages and earned numerous accolades including Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards for Best Novel. The plot posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society's modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. Its protagonist, Shadow Moon, is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.
American Gods is produced by FremantleMedia North America. Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies, Heroes) and Michael Green (The River, Kings, Heroes) are writers and showrunners. David Slade (Hannibal, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) is directing the pilot and additional episodes. FMNA's Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk are executive producing the series along with Fuller, Green, Slade and Neil Gaiman.
The cast features Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon, Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday, Emily Browning as Laura Moon, Pablo Schreiber as Mad Sweeney, Yetide Badaki as Bilquis, Bruce Langley as Technical Boy, Crispin Glover as Mr. World, Jonathan Tucker as Low Key Lyesmith, Gillian Anderson as Media, Peter Stormare as Czernobog, Orlando Jones as Mr. Nancy, Demore Barnes as Mr. Ibis, Kristin Chenoweth as Easter, and Cloris Leachman as Zorya Vechernyaya.
American Gods will premiere on Starz in April 2017.