‘American Gods’ Plays God With Neil Gaiman’s Mortals – What Are Laura And Shadow Moon?

Neil Gaiman serves as executive producer on the Starz adaptation of his American Gods novel to ensure that the story told on the series is in line with the novel. Even so, some deviations are necessary and Gaiman has proven he’s open to a liberal retelling, where the circumstances demand it, such as is the case with Emily Browning’s Laura Moon. In the American Gods novel, Laura’s existence is short-lived, but the Starz series brings Browning’s character back in a surreal and sometimes comedic way, suggesting she’s not quite what she seems. And there’s Ricky Whittle’s Shadow Moon, who, at times, seems a little too insightful for a mere mortal. Together, this troubled couple have been thrown into the war between America’s old and new gods, but are they more than they seem? More than their counterparts in the Neil Gaiman novel?

Emily Browning Details Her Experience As The American Gods Zombie, Laura Moon

Speaking with Buzzfeed News, Emily Browning discussed her character’s new lease on life and how her reanimation has influenced the way she now looks at life. Coming back from the dead, Laura certainly sees how her bad choices in her past life have affected her loved ones, Shadow Moon (Whittle) in particular, but there’s more going on than a heightened sense of hindsight.

While Browning admits her American Gods character is eager to mend fences with Shadow, she’s also dealing with a curiosity about death and about her own condition.

American Gods, Laura Moon
‘American Gods’ gives Laura Moon a new life and a strange journey. [Image by Starz]

“Everything she does is informed by her fascination with death,” says Browning.

In creating this separate journey for Laura, American Gods producer Bryan Fuller has made the character a second lead, sharing the spotlight with Shadow and Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane). The fact that Emily’s character figures so prominently is no accident. As Fuller explains, the idea of giving Laura Moon a wider story arc serves two purposes: to create a stronger female presence in the series and to keep American Gods readers on their toes.

“We were going to sneak up on them and say, ‘you forgot there’s a third lead in this show, and that’s Laura Moon!'” Fuller cackled. “The two most important points of view in this world are Shadow’s and Laura’s.”

While Laura’s American Gods existence is relatable in the sense that she’s trying to find where she fits into this new world, it leaves fans wondering where the character is headed. Is her reanimation solely the doing of that lucky coin, a coin that may be taken from her at some point, or is she something otherworldly? Another god, perhaps?

While Browning will only say that she enjoys playing a flawed, complex character, the American Gods producer confirms that Emily Browning and Laura Moon will be inextricably tied together for as long as actress and character are happy with the arrangement.

We’re in love with Emily Browning,” Fuller said. “She will be on the show for as long as she wants to be on the show.”

American Gods Has A Place For Ricky Whittle, But Is He Another Divine Entity?

While both Neil Gaiman and Bryan Fuller have confirmed that the plot of American Gods will involve both the divine and the mortal, Romper suggests that those thought mortal might, in fact, be gods. One such character is Ricky’s Shadow Moon.

At present, Shadow seems perfectly human and, as far as American Gods viewers know at this point, there aren’t any unexplained memory losses and Shadow wasn’t orphaned before his parents could reveal their secrets. He’s just an ex-con, who happened to meet up with Mr. Wednesday.

American Gods, Shadow Moon
Is Shadow Moon mortal, a god, or something else? [Image by Starz]

Next thing he knew, Shadow was swept up in this world of warring gods and supernatural beings. Speaking of supernatural entities, we’re again drawn back to the existence of undead Laura Moon, because she sees a golden aura around Shadow.

Most have assumed that aura surrounds Shadow, because he was the one to have gifted Laura with the lucky coin, but perhaps Browning’s American Gods character now has otherworldly gifts. Can she recognize something about Shadow of which he, himself, is completely unaware?

Going back further to the first episodes of American Gods, Ricky Whittle’s character made it snow at the behest of Mr. Wednesday. It’s certainly possible that McShane’s mysterious character helped Shadow bring about the flurries, but, then again, maybe Wednesday knows something about Shadow.

It’s beginning to look that the only one unaware of Shadow’s true nature is Shadow himself.

Warning: This article concludes with spoilers from the Neil Gaiman novel that may play a part in the American Gods series.

In Gaiman’s novel, Shadow isn’t a full-fledged god, but, as the son of Odin (a.k.a. Mr. Wednesday) and a human woman, he is a demigod.

In the first episodes of American Gods, it seems unlikely that Shadow meets Mr. Wednesday out of pure happenstance. As the American Gods novel suggests, this is not so and Odin has orchestrated this entire relationship, because Shadow is an integral part of his plan.

Of course, that’s not to say for certain that the series will strictly follow this story arc of Gaiman’s American Gods novel. The producers have altered Laura Moon’s existence, so the same may have been done for Shadow Moon.

Maybe Shadow is just a very fortunate fellow.

The next episode of American Gods airs tonight on Starz.

[Featured Image by Starz]