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Written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens is a Biblical apocalypse comedy taking place in contemporary England. The two main characters are an angel named Aziraphale (Sheen) and a demon named Crowley (Tennant), who formed an unlikely friendship after spending centuries together on Earth. When the apocalypse draws near, they agree to quietly avoid the oncoming war by removing the antichrist, a likeable young boy named Adam.
I wrote all six of them. And rewrote them. And rerewrote them. https://t.co/RlRoBhnYnC— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) August 15, 2017
Aziraphale and Crowley are undoubtedly the stars of the show, but Good Omens actually features an ensemble cast including Adam and his friends, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a witch, and a modern-day witch hunter. Variety‘s casting announcement doesn’t mention any actors for the supporting roles.
Published in 1990, Good Omens has been in Hollywood development hell since the early 2000s. Fans have argued over their ideal casting choices for decades, with popular suggestions including Stephen Fry or Richard Ayoade as the smug, bookish Aziraphale, and Hugh Laurie or Tom Hiddleston (and back in the early 2000s, even Johnny Depp) as the long-suffering, sarcastic Crowley.
This means that while Tennant and Sheen are seemingly obvious choices—a pair of acclaimed British actors with dramatic range and good comic timing—they’re still controversial because fans have very specific ideas about the two characters. To see just how much people are yelling about this, try searching “Aziraphale Crowley” on Twitter. Then imagine this continuing until the show airs in 2018.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor