Mr. Nancy, the human persona of the African trickster god Anansi, will make his first on-screen appearance as part of a “Coming to America” vignette. These vignettes were littered throughout Gaiman’s novel and told of how immigrants arrived in America and brought their gods with them. According to Vanity Fair, those vignettes, and some new ones will be used as cold opens in the American Gods TV series.
“I thought, I had no idea that Bryan Fuller and Michael Green were black dudes!” Jones jokes about first reading the scene. “Like, what is this amazing oral history of the Middle Passage and the African-American experience? Who are these black guys? I need to meet them! No, it’s a wonderfully written, incredible scene clearly in keeping with the way Neil Gaiman saw the character. Like you, I’m a massive fan of American Gods, so I was really just excited. At first, I kept flipping the pages, and I thought, This is like eight pages long. This is going to be fun. But are they going to run out of tape? What is this, an eight-minute take? I’m so excited to play Mr. Nancy—one of my favorite characters ever—this is really like a pinch-yourself moment the entire way. I’m just giddy about it.”
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Mr. Nancy was a breakout character in American Gods, and Gaiman later penned a spinoff novel titled Anansi Boys. With Jones now part of the American Gods cast, fans are already wishfully speculating that an Anansi Boys TV shows may be on the way as well.
“All I know for sure is that when Michael and Bryan had called me and asked me about playing the character and walked me through what they were thinking, part of the discussion at that time was Anansi Boys and that they wanted to spin it off and pursue that character. As you know, the first season is really about setting up the world of American Gods and introducing you to all the wonderful characters. If there is a spin-off of any kind, I’d love to do it. I love this character. I love these writers. I’ve been fortunate that this is one of the most exciting and incredible experiences I’ve been able to do as an actor, and I’ll continue for as long as I possibly can.”