McShane will play Mr. Wednesday, the mysterious drifter who employs Shadow Moon, played by Ricky Whittle, when Shadow gets out of prison. The duo embark on a cross-country road trip that leads up to a clash between gods old and new.
According to THR, McShane's Mr. Wednesday is described as "powerful and charismatic — a Casanova of sorts — who is a con man and an incarnation of All-Father Odin, who's traveling America recruiting his fellow forgotten deities to wage an epic battle against the new American gods."
McShane has also appeared in American Horror Story, and has a major upcoming role in Game of Thrones. McShane earned a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in the Starz miniseries Pillars of the Earth.
Production on American Gods begins in April. Bryan Fuller and Michael Green are writing the script for the pilot and will serve as showrunners. David Slade will direct.
Gaiman said in a statement, "When you write a beloved character (beloved with, or despite, or because of all his faults) like Mr. Wednesday, you get to watch the Internet trying to cast the role. I've seen a hundred names suggested, but few make me grin like Ian McShane does. I've already been lucky enough to have him in one film (he was bright blue in it, animated, and probably Polish). Now I count myself even luckier: he's made the journey from Lovejoy to American Gods. Yesterday was Super Tuesday. Today is Wonderful Wednesday."