Though Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Anansi Boys novels feature some key bits of crossover, Amazon’s upcoming Anansi Boys series is set to reintroduce the world to the trickster god Mr. Nancy. It will also be wholly independent of the character’s depiction in Starz’s American Gods adaptation. Beloved as Orlando Jones’ Mr. Nancy was, Amazon has picked a different great name for its project.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods, Crooklyn) has signed on to portray Mr. Nancy, the assumed identity of the mythical Ghanaian trickster deity who often takes the form of a spider in many different stories. Unlike American Gods, where Mr. Nancy was one of the many anthropomorphic gods who end up waging a war for relevance, Anansi Boys’ more intimate story focuses on Nancy’s sons—Charlie and Spider—who are generally unaware of their father’s otherworldliness. Though Anansi Boys was largely Charlie’s story in the novel, Lindo’s casting may point to Mr. Nancy having a larger presence in Amazon’s version which, as is usually the case with adapations, is likely to differ somewhat from the source material.
Much of the magic humming in the background of the Anansi Boys novel stemmed from the tenuous connection it had to American Gods, not for any specific plot reasons, but because of the texture and context it added to Mr. Nancy’s life. While the Anansi Boys and American Gods TV shows might not have any canonical connections to one another, it’s going to be interesting to see how the new series differentiates this Mr. Nancy from his counterpart beyond the difference in casting and production studios.
Anansi Boys is set to begin production and filming in Scotland later this year. Besides this, Gaiman is also working on the Sandman series for Netflix and, oddly, a second season of Good Omens for Amazon.
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