Consider your oldest friend — the one whose quirks and foibles you know best, and vice versa. Multiply that intimacy by thousands and you might get close to Michael Sheen and David Tennant's characters in Good Omens, the limited series adaptation of the Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett novel coming to Amazon in 2019. The actors respectively play the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley, two beings from opposite sides of the cosmic tracks who find themselves racing to foil an armageddon plot that would destroy the Earth they both love so much. While the plot deals with heaven, hell, and everything in between, the relationship between the two main characters is the wit and soul of all of it. And the descriptor "friends" doesn't really cut it.
"It’s almost deeper than a friendship, because they’ve known each other for such a long time," Tennant says, speaking to reporters at New York Comic-Con. "For all of history. They’re almost like a marriage aren’t they? They’re two halves of the same being by the end of the story."
Sheen adds, "Ultimately, they never want to really hurt each other. But they bicker a lot, and they’ll fight. But underneath, there’s a real respect for each other and a sensitivity to each other."
The trailer that Amazon released during the series' Comic-Con panel puts Aziraphale and Crowley's star-crossed — well, I'll call it this if Tennant does too — marriage front and center, and Queen's "You're My Best Friend" scores the second half of the montage. Sheen and Tennant agree that the first read-through for the show was particularly nerve-wracking, not just for the usual exposure of having dozens of eyes on you while you work, but also because the chemistry between the two of them was so key to taking these characters from the page to the screen.
"With this, it’s so much about what their relationship is like," Sheen says. "It was the first time we got a go at going, 'Oh, oh, you’re that color, and I’m this color. And when I do this, it seems to bounce off you quite well.' It felt like a dance, like going, 'This is how we move together.'"
Fortunately, it all went swimmingly, despite the nerves. (Tennant compares the inaugural read-through of anything to "the first day of school.") The show's angel and demon gelled. "The treasure at the heart of Good Omens is David and Michael’s performances," says director Douglas Mackinnon. Gaiman, who's also showrunning the series, recalls that "it was instantly just wonderful between the two of them."
With Gaiman leading the charge, the series expands on the plot of the books. And one specific episode made up of new material will likely be a favorite of Aziraphale and Crowley 'shippers. (You know who you are.) The show will track the development of their friendship across thousands of years. ("We go from Noah’s Ark and the Garden of Eden, all the way through Ancient Rome and Arthurian Britain and the Globe Theatre and [the] French Revolution and so forth," Gaiman specifies.) And that not only means that fans will get several period-specific #looks from the sartorially-minded angel and demon, but that the progression from rivals to partners will be made even more explicit.
"They’ve both been sent by their respective head offices to work in the same field," Sheen says, summarizing how the pair came to be on Earth. "And over time, they have come to an agreement. And then that agreement is turned to a friendship and that friendship is maybe turned to something even more deep that they can’t really talk about, I guess."
The showrunner promises that fans will get to see how their connection to each other begins to "define who they are," when Good Omens hits Amazon next year.