Good Omens fans: the day you’ve waited months, years or decades for is finally upon us. We have our Aziraphale and Crowley. It’s done. It’s happening. It’s here.
And it’s big. Michael Sheen for Aziraphale. David Tennant for Crowley.
Published by Variety in what seems like a rather unfortunate production leak — there’s no official press release, and we heard from author Neil Gaiman that a planned announcement was set for the Edinburgh International Television Festival at the end of the month — the information is nevertheless correct, confirmed on social media by Gaiman and to Variety directly by Sheen.
“I first read Good Omens as a teenager and it’s been one of my favourite stories ever since,” Sheen said in a statement to Variety. “To be part of the team entrusted with bringing it alive on screen is a bit of a dream come true to be honest. To work alongside Neil, who I think is one of the greatest storytellers of all time, is incredibly exciting. And, just like the rest of the world, I’m a huge fan of David’s so I relish trying to save it with him.”
Michael Sheen is best known to British audiences for portraying Tony Blair in Peter Morgan’s trilogy of films featuring the former Prime Minister — The Deal, The Queen and The Special Relationship. He rose to prominence in the United States thanks to his Golden Globe-nominated leading role in Showtime’s Masters of Sex, and he stole scenes in several of the Twilight Saga films as Aro, one of the law-keeping Volturi. He’s also a personal friend of Gaiman’s, and appeared in the 2016 documentary Neil Gaiman: Dream Dangerously.
David Tennant, of course, we know as the unforgettable Tenth Doctor, and from both the British and American iterations of Broadchurch. It was also announced earlier today that he’ll return to Marvel’s Jessica Jones as the villain Kilgrave, and he’s currently voicing Scrooge McDuck for the celebrity-packed new series of Disney’s DuckTales. Fandom-types first twigged him as Death Eater Barty Crouch, Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Both Sheen and Tennant are veterans of the BBC and of the British stage, and they appeared together as members of a decadent, bohemian 1920s London society in the Stephen Fry penned-and-directed Bright Young Things back in 2003. They also both have a connection to Gaiman’s Bradbury and Hugo Award-winning Doctor Who episode “The Doctor’s Wife” — Sheen voiced House, the sentient asteroid that was able to possess the TARDIS, and while it was always slated as a story for Eleven, and was tweaked to fit his quirks, it was drafted prior to Matt Smith’s casting, and Gaiman has mentioned having the previous Doctor’s characterization – Ten’s – in mind while first writing.
Good Omens, first published in 1990, is a collaborative effort between Gaiman — his first novel — and Sir Terry Pratchett. The combination of signature styles from these two behemoths of genre, and the story itself — an attempt, by an angel and demon stationed on Earth who have more in common with each other than they do with their distant superiors, to prevent the forthcoming Apocalypse — has made the novel a beloved cult classic. It’s being adapted for television in a collaboration between BBC Studios and Amazon Prime as a six-part limited series, and will air in 2018. Gaiman himself has written all six scripts and will also serve as showrunner.
The request for Gaiman to take the reins as writer and executive producer was somewhat of a last wish from Terry Pratchett, who died in 2015 after suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Back in January, when the Good Omens TV series was announced, we published a history of the book’s two-decade journey from page to screen — you can read about it in detail here.
Good Omens is due to begin shooting in around five weeks. No further casting is known at this point.