EXCLUSIVE: If you are an American Gods fan, you have to have seen that Orlando Jones announced that he was fired from the show. Jones played the ever-so-personable Mr. Nancy for seasons one and two. Arguably one of the biggest draws to the series for many fans, it was shocking to hear that he had been let go from the show. It was especially shocking that the reason behind this firing was due to his character being too “angry” for the show. You can watch Jones’ announcement in his Twitter video here:
Correction: I was fired Sept 10, 2019 like @itsgabrielleu @OfficialMelB @NickCannon @heidiklum all have said @FremantleUS is a nightmare. They treated you like a 2nd class citizen for doing your job to well. Stay tuned. More to come. #AngryGetsShitDone pic.twitter.com/DQYtaMfs8O
— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) December 14, 2019
It should be noted that Jones says that he and season three showrunner Chic Eglee have never met, so the clash that Fremantle (the production company for the show) claims Jones and Eglee had never transpired. Fremantle is also the same company that fired Gabrielle Union from America’s Got Talent. SAG-AFTRA is looking into Fremantle for the claims of racial discrimination brought up by Jones, Union, and Nick Cannon.
The Interview: Recap
In the wake of all of this, I was fortunate enough to speak with Mr. Jones today. As a superfan of American Gods, it was a dream come true to speak with Orlando Jones. Not only is he an eloquent speaker, but is highly intelligent, and a superfan himself. While the conversation, of course; leaned on what had transpired, we also spoke a lot about the story of American Gods itself. Jones loved playing Mr. Nancy. He loved his castmates and the characters. Keep in mind, he didn’t just write his own lines in season two, but a lot of other characters’ lines as well. This means he was invested. On top of all of this, he praised author Neil Gaiman and Bryan Fuller, the showrunner of season one (along with Michael Greene).
Behind the Scenes Info
Jones revealed a lot. He spoke about how he was only on set [collectively] twenty-one days out of the two seasons. He spoke highly of Ian McShane. He revealed even that, at a party with the “big brass”, he had virtually been told that the show was about Mr. Wednesday and Shadow Moon on the road. The underlying message here is, they really didn’t care about anyone else, as long as they had McShane and Ricky Whittle.
We see that with the announcement that Mousa Kraish won’t be returning for season three and that Crispin Glover will only have a couple of scenes in season two. Jones described a conversation he and Glover had, where Glover stated that he was sat down and told that the company was going to bring in other actors to play Mr. World and he would only be in it for a few scenes, ultimately betraying his contract. This is heartbreaking enough, but as Jones pointed out – why was Glover given a sit-down and not him? Fremantle and co. are trying to back peddle and say that they simply did not need Jones for season three, but that he wasn’t fired. Jones says this simply is not true.
What Did Jones Plan for Season Three?
At some point, I asked Jones what he had planned for Mr. Nancy in season three. His answer will make you even madder/sadder that he is not returning:
“You’re the only person to ask me that. That’s funny. What I was mindful of was that decision wasn’t going to be 100% mine, but what I always thought…what we started in the funeral home, Bilquis is sitting on a fence that she can’t sit on. She cant be old gods and new gods. Based on the narrative that’s already been set up, Tech Boy is sort of in a no man’s land with no allegiances right now. He just became Quantum Boy. And in Bilquis’s world he’s sort of the king maker, sort of the one who liberated her with tech.
Then Nancy (Odin’s a war god, of course he’s racing towards war – that’s what war gods do) I think for me, Nancy is born of a matriachy – the idea that a war effort led by a man is an alien concept [to Nancy]. In the cult he grew up in, men don’t have that power – only his mom goddess of goddesses [does] – that’s the world he’s from.
In his world, he’s not following nor would he ever follow Wednesday, he’s just a tactical partner. He’s gonna follow Bilquis. For me, season three was about Bilquis going back, Nancy doing whatever he can to restore her power – with her power and leadership would he would wage war and her power would lead her to join forces with Tech Boy – they’d sit present at the rebirth of Argus. Nancy would have eyes on people and be able to put his narrative out there with the power of tech.”
Friggin cool, right? He continued:
“Imagine a world where Nancy can push his narrative – imagine the army he can build. The fight and con is that Mr. World – is just a puppet of Mr. Wednesday. It’s a con. He makes up a foe to go to war with so he can go to war. Bilquis uses power of love and Nancy’s power of rage – defeat the New Gods. Either way Wednesday gets his war.”
I did want to bring up one question though. I brought up that Quantum Boy seemed like a monotone, complicit version of Technical Boy. One that was easily molded by and for Mr. World and New Media. How would that god help Bilquis and Mr. Nancy when he was essentially now a puppet for the New Gods? Jones explained:
“They made the complicit version they wanted – the problem is Tech Boy can be in more than one place. There are remnants – Tech Boy’s remnants are still there. The one who is smoking toad skins and talking trash – he’s on Bilquis and Nancy’s side. Quantum Boy is on the New Gods side.”
Don’t Expect to See Mr. Nancy Again
The sad part about all of this is that Jones really does love this story. I asked Jones if he would return to American Gods if he was asked back. He originally said yes, but quickly changed it to no. It’s the principal of the matter. He would, however; team back up with Neil Gaiman for an adaptation of Anansi Boys for another network. Mr. Nancy, though; as we know him, won’t ever be seen again. As a fan, that is awful news. It felt disheartening at times even speaking with Jones, because just talking about the story, you can tell how passionate he was and how much thought he had put into his character and the show.
It did not have to transpire that way and no one should be treated how Jones was. I’ll always remember Mr.Nancy and the first two seasons of American Gods fondly. Moving forward, Jones will star along with Ethan Hawke for a Showtime series in 2020 ‘The Good Lord Bird”. For the full interview, please check it out here:
A girl with too many fandoms to count.