The first season of American Gods, Starz’s adaptation of the novel by fantasy icon Neil Gaiman, was somewhat of an unexpected hit with critics and fans. But it’s really no surprise when you consider the award-winning source material and the pedigree of showrunner Bryan Fuller (Hannibal). Fuller and company have made smart choices adapting the 2001 novel, making just the right changes for today’s audience. That said, there’s one BIG change that could be on the horizon as the story unfolds. The book, for those who don’t know, has a surprise twist that may or may not make it to the screen.
SPOILER ALERT: You probably clicked on this post expecting to see spoilers, but if not be warned. The rest of this post contains possible spoilers for the American Gods TV show and will totally spoil the twist at the end of the book. You’ve been warned…
ICYMI, American Gods depicts the eternal struggle between the old gods and the new.
Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) has a plan to unite the old gods in order to challenge the new gods who are growing in power. But Mr. World (Crispin Glover), the leader of the new gods, isn't going to let that happen without a fight.
But here's the thing: In American Gods, things aren't always as they seem.
SPOILER ALERT: In case you didn't believe us the first time, we're warning you again... spoilers! In the novel, you see, there's a big secret that leads up to a surprise twist. Mr. Wednesday is actually Odin -- yup, the Norse god. There's more: Mr. World is actually Low-key (Loki) Lyesmith in disguise. And the entire plot of the battle between the old gods and the new is revealed as a long con.
Odin and Loki have been working together all along. They plotted to restore Odin's power through sacrifice, and Loki would feed on the chaos of the battle.
Will the American Gods twist ending actually happen in the TV show?
Even after one season, we're still only eight episodes into the story, so it's impossible to say for sure. That said, there are reasons to believe the twist ending from the American Gods novel might not happen on TV.
Low-key, only shows up during one episode of Season One. That could signify that the character isn't as important as he is in the novels. His appearance may have even been a ruse orchestrated by the writers to throw readers off the trail, and ultimately provide a surprise ending that's completely different than the book.
Gaiman even told fans to expect big surprises:
"You don't want the people who've read the book to be able to go, 'I know everything that's going to be happening.' Well, no. You know a lot more than anybody who is starting from here, but we will do things that will surprise you, too."
On the other hand, there have been hints and foreshadowing that seem to indicate the book ending could still happen. Episode 7 may have revealed that Mr. Wednesday had a hand in Laura's death -- that supports the book plot.
The big twist is such a huge part of the American Gods story. It would require massive effort to rework the narrative in a way that provides an equally satisfying ending. That said, wouldn't it be meta if Fuller and Gaiman were conning us all?