Neil Gaiman is bringing yet another one of his stories to TV by way of Amazon Studios’ recently announced adaptation of Anansi Boys.
Neil Gaiman is currently the mind behind novels turned into popular TV shows like Good Omens, which just received a long overdue season two order from Amazon, as well as the upcoming adaptation of his beloved comic book series Sandman for Netflix and producers Warner Bros. TV.
Now, the author can boast his 2005 novel of the same name will be making its way to TV in a six-episode limited series, according to Deadline. Neil Gaiman and British comedy legend Sir Lenny Henry will be writing the story. Gaiman notes that the original novel was born out of a conversation he had with Henry, making him the perfect choice to sign on to bring the characters to life on the small screen. The project is expected to begin production in Scotland later this year.
However, this won’t exactly be the first time that one of the characters from Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys was on TV.
The book by Neil Gaiman follows Charlie Nancy, a young man who is no stranger to having his estranged father embarrass him at major points in his life. However, when his father dies, Charlie not only discovers that he was an Anansi or a trickster god the likes of which he previously believed were just stories, but that he has a brother as well named Spider. With Spider deciding to enter Charlie’s life in the wake of their dad’s death, his world is thrown completely out of whack.
Fans of Neil Gaiman’s Starz TV show American Gods, based on his 2001 novel of the same name, may recognize Mr. Nancy and the name Anansi as the character Orlando Jones played before he was infamously fired from the series. After playing a major role in the Fremantle-produced drama and even writing episodes in season two, Jones was let go shortly after showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green were pushed out the door as well, taking some key cast members with them.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that Jones revealed in a since-deleted video shared to Twitter that he was let go because new showrunner Charles Eglee, who was brought on to do what became the final season of the Neil Gaiman adaptation, decided that his portrayal of Anansi, also called Mr. Nancy, who was often vengeful and angry, was not sending the right message for Black America.
However, Starz told the outlet in a statement at the time that Jones was speaking out of turn and that season three of the show simply wasn’t focusing on the part of Neil Gaiman’s original novel that included his character.
The Hollywood Reporter notes in a separate article that, because of the drama surrounding the first show, Anansi Boys will not be considered a spinoff nor a sequel of American Gods. While it would have been great for fans to see Jones’ portrayal of the character live on in another Neil Gaiman adaptation, it seems with all the drama surrounding the Starz series, a clean break is in the best interest of the new show both creatively and for the many people involved with both shows behind-the-scenes.