American Gods star Ricky Whittle chats about Shadow Moon’s journey in the third season and how the show incorporates the new setting of Lakeside.
When American Gods returns to Starz on January 10 for its third season, Shadow Moon finds himself more estranged from Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) than ever. Rather than face his supposed destiny as the son of Odin, a god who happens to be the same man who had his wife murdered, he resorts to hiding out under an assumed identity.
But it’s impossible for him to stay out of the game for too long, and soon Wednesday has him moved into a home in the picture-perfect town of Lakeside. Shadow interacts with the residents there, adjusting to life as a normal human for the first time in two seasons – but gods Old and New won’t stop calling on him.
Star Ricky Whittle spoke to Screen Rant about how Shadow is affected by his recent discoveries about Wednesday, as well as how the dynamics of Lakeside help shape the tone of the third season.
Last season, the big reveal was that Wednesday is your father. And yet that doesn’t make Shadow any more interested in following his destiny or knowing more about his dad. Where is he at the start of season 3 with the Gods situation?
Ricky Whittle: If anything, it’s done the opposite. He’s running for the hills; it’s or flight. It’s what makes this this kind of world very relatable, where if your dad was working at the local store and you found out that was him, you’d be kind of annoyed that he was watching you from the local store.
This is a God. Shadow’s had a terrible life: his mom died when he was 15 of cancer; he’s been alone his whole life. Then he found Laura, and he found out that Wednesday killed her. Right now in season three, you find Shadow as a petulant child who just doesn’t want to talk to Dad. “I’m done with you, Pops. Over,” and hangs up the phone cursing.
And it’s a lot of fun this season; you really have a shifting in the balance there, in the control. It’s now Wednesday reaching out, trying to push Shadow, saying, “Look, I’ll answer your questions. I’ll answer your questions.” And Shadow’s like, “I’m good. I’m good. You do you, boo. I’m going back to Lakeside. I got me I got me a beautiful young lady over there; I got my best friend who’s a sheriff, Chad Mulligan.” So, it’s a lot of fun this season.
You know, we get to see a lighter side of Shadow in Lakeside. It’s my favorite part of the book. It’s a murder mystery, and Shadow’s the new guy in town. He gets to be surrounded by these humans; interact, finally, with human beings. He’s only ever been surrounded by Gods, so it’s a lot more fun this season.
Speaking of Lakeside: I love how it’s an idyllic village, where everyone comes in like, “What’s up?” But at the same time, there’s still that little bit of, “Hey, this is still America.” How do you play that dichotomy?
Ricky Whittle: I love how you put that. There’s a little bit of America, because that’s what this show is. This show has never been shy to talk about those sensitive topics. What I’m proud of with the show is that we like to shine a light on everything. We don’t take sides, but we like to shine a light and show the beauty of everyone’s race, everyone’s nationality, faith, gender, sexual orientation. We have a great platform to raise awareness, and to show that we all just want to get to bed at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, your background, who you are. I just want to get to bed, I want to put my feet up, watch some TV, have some terrible food that’s really not good for me. And that’s where we are with Shadow.
But like I say, he’s this new guy in a kind of small town. But if you look below the surface, he’s the only black guy in a very white town, and he’s the new guy. Then a young girl goes missing, and you can take it one of two ways. The only thing that’s changed is a new guy’s come to town, and it just so happens that his skin tone is a little bit different to everyone else’s. So, there’s a racial undertone that comes from comes from that.
But there’s some fun stuff with Eric Johnson, and we kind of play with that. Because there is a fine line, and we’re always learning. To me, it’s about education, education, education, education – and that’s how we change this world. The more we learn about each other, the better off we’re all going to be. And I think that’s where Shadow is with some of the people in Lakeside.
More: American Gods Season 2: 10 Questions We Need Still Need To Have Answered
American Gods season 3 premieres Sunday, January 10 at 8PM ET on Starz.
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