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Neil Gaiman: Making Good Omens was Terry Pratchett's last request

Gaiman, David Tennant, Michael Sheen and Jon Hamm discuss what it's like bringing about the apocalypse.

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Neil Gaiman and Jon Hamm talk about the End Times.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Neil Gaiman started writing the first episode of the Amazon miniseries Good Omens as soon as he got back from Terry Pratchett's funeral in 2015.

Gaiman and Pratchett, both globally recognized fantasy authors, co-wrote the 1990 novel about an angel and demon working together to thwart the apocalypse. Though Gaiman and Pratchett had approached screenwriters about adapting the book, it hadn't panned out. And despite the fact the two had promised to work together if the novel ever got adapted, circumstances changed.

Good Omens is coming to streaming service Amazon Prime Video on Friday. It stars David Tennant as the demon Crowley, Michael Sheen as the angel Aziraphale and Jon Hamm as the angel Gabriel. In an interview with CNET at SXSW 2019 earlier this year, Gaiman recounted how Pratchett, who had Alzheimer's disease, wrote to him in 2014 imploring him to get Good Omens made.

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"[Pratchett said] 'you have to make it, because you're the only other person who has the same passion for and understanding for Good Omens I do, and I want to watch it,'" Gaiman explained. "I said OK, and then he died, which suddenly turned it into a last request."

At SXSW, Tennant and Sheen talked about their characters' unlikely friendship. Even though they're playing for different teams, they've come to love the world they inhabit and aren't in a rush to see it end, even as heaven and hell are gunning for the big showdown.  

"They find that over the millennia on Earth where they've been supposed to be forwarding the cause of their respective head offices, they've actually found that they can help each other out now and again because they both rather like this world where they've been posted," Tennant said.

As for Hamm, whose role as Gabriel was expanded from a mere mention in the book to a full character in the miniseries, he said it was fun playing God's second-in-command -- or rather, "the idiot from the home office."

"Like most bosses," Hamm said, "he's kind of an asshole." 


First published May 24.
Update, May 29: Adds review of Good Omens.