Ian McShane Says the American Gods Showrunners' Firing Had to Do With 'Ego, Hubris, and Money'

Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday.
Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday.
Image: Starz

It’s no secret that—as fantastic as the first season of Starz’s American Gods was—there was enough behind-the-scenes drama involving the show’s co-creators and showrunners Michael Green and Bryan Fuller that they parted ways with the network, casting a certain amount of uncertainty over American Gods’ future.


But American Gods has carried on into its second season, and despite whatever impressions the public might have gotten from the show’s creative shakeups, actor Ian McShane is confident that the new season’s an improvement over the first. Speaking to Den of Geek, McShane expressed his elation to be back in his role as American Gods’ Mr. Wednesday, and spoke briefly about how Green and Fuller’s departure played out from his perspective:

“Lawyers were involved, you couldn’t talk about shit. I think it’s a lot to do with ego, hubris and money. Who knows what the hell happened between Fremantle and Michael and Bryan?

I think a lot of the other actors worried about Michael and Bryan leaving. People at the time were upset, they were all over the place. I’ve been around a little longer, that’s all. Life moves on.”

Obviously, there’s only so much that McShane is allowed to divulge about whatever specific things went down and how they played out on American Gods’ production end. But, given that a number of the show’s other stars departed amidst the drama, McShane’s insistence that American Gods is still very much a show punching above its weight is interesting, if nothing else.

American Gods’ second season hits Starz on March 10.

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Charles Pulliam-Moore is an NYC-based culture critic whose work centers on fandom, pop culture, politics, race, and sexuality. He still thinks Cyclops made a few valid points.



. . . given that a number of the show’s other stars departed amidst the drama. . .

Well, the stars who departed are Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth, both of whom have history with Bryan Fuller and would be expected to support him in the case of a dispute. I am of 2 minds regarding Fuller. I am a huge admirer of his work when he can do what he wants as in the cases of Hannibal, Pushing Daisies or Wonderfalls. I think that the success of the first season of Heroes is largely due to him, and the episodes that he returned to write afterwards were standouts in an otherwise declining show. Having said that, I find it disappointing that he continues to find himself in disputes with producers and networks that regularly result in his acrimonious departure from other shows. Why does this keep happening? It’s getting hard to argue that it isn’t his own problem that continually gets in the way of his work and tarnishes his reputation. Isn’t the first rule of a successful career that you must learn how to get out of your own way?