By Ani Bundel

Good Omens 2

Friday at New York Comic-Con’s Empire Stage was wall-to-wall Prime Video series, starting with the unlikely sequel, Good Omens 2. Neil Gaiman first got the idea for Season 2 in 2019 and pitched it to the BBC and Amazon executives. He also ran it by his co-showrunner and series director, Douglas Mackinnon, and executive producer Rob Wilkins, who the group considers the stand-in for the late Terry Pratchett. However, Gaiman didn’t start writing it until the middle of the pandemic, in the summer of 2020. 

Moderator Ashley Ray-Harris asked if Gaiman ever considered switching Michael Sheen and David Tennant’s roles. Gaiman admitted when he started the project, Sheen was the only one who had committed and he’d envisioned Sheen as Crowley. It took writing a couple of episodes before Gaiman realized that wouldn’t work. So they had an awkward dinner, where both tried to tell each other that Sheen wanted to be (and would be) a better Aziraphale.

However, Gaiman admits it’s tempting, considering Sheen is such a good mimic his Tennant impressions fool even Neil. The actors suggested a Good Omens stage play, swapping roles every other night. But when asked about the idea, Mackinnon, who worked with Tennant during his Tenth Doctor days on Doctor Who, admitted he couldn’t decide which Scottish doctor was his favorite, let alone if Tennant’s Doctor was better than his Crowley. He would never want Sheen and Tennant to switch roles. 

Speaking of swapping roles, both Maggie Service and Nina Sosanya will be switching positions for the new season. Gaiman was so determined to make sure the show recast them that he named the characters “Maggie” and “Nina” so everyone would see it from the start and not argue with him. The actresses were tickled by it, and when he offered to change the names once they’d secured their parts, they said no. Service revealed Maggie (the character) runs a record shop next door to Aziraphale’s bookshop, and both are across the street from Nina’s coffee shop, “Give Me Coffee Or Give Me Death.” Gaiman admitted he didn’t want to lose anyone, so he also wrote a new role for Miranda Richardson. She’ll play a new demon who replaced Crowley after he was sacked.

Quelin Sepulveda is new for Season 2, playing Muriel (a real biblical angel); Gaiman said he added her after realizing, outside of Aziraphale, all the other angels were, in his words, “total bastards.” Muriel is a very well-meaning angel, but she’s also a bit gullible, and rule-following, even when following the rules, will lead to dumb outcomes. She’s not the only new addition either, as Gaiman revealed Donna Preston, who plays Despair in The Sandman, will join the cast as Mrs. Sandwich. There’s also a new Beezlebub, a necessary recasting because Anna Maxwell Martin was already booked and busy.

Asked what the new season was about, Gaiman initially answered, “about 45 minutes an episode, six in all.” Then he relented, promising love stories, trips to heaven and hell, and viewers would learn a lot about Jane Austen they never knew.

Good Omens remote zoom

The panel then showed a clip (not released online) before handing it off to a “live zoom call” with Sheen. Somehow the (very obviously pretaped and edited) call magically included Tennant and Jon Hamm, Tennant because he was the Doctor, and Hamm because he has the most brand recognition in America. By the time the panel ended, fans understood that it did not matter what Good Omens 2 was about; spending time with these characters was joy enough.

Good Omens 2 will premiere on Prime Video in the summer of 2023.

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