In 2014, New Zealand-born filmmakers and comedians Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, The Mandalorian) and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords, Moana) reteamed to create the hilarious and critically acclaimed mockumentary feature What We Do In the Shadows, which follows a group of misfit vampire roommates.
After a short-lived TVNZ spinoff called Wellington Paranormal and the planned-but-yet-to-be-realized sequel We’re Wolves, Clement brought What We Do In the Shadows to FX as an ongoing half-hour single-camera American sitcom, with several episodes directed by Waititi. Though the series has only aired one season so far, fans have already embraced its uproarious new batch of vampires and layered world-building atop what was established in the original film.
This past weekend at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, the cast of FX’s What We Do In the Shadows united onstage with Clement and Waititi to celebrate the show’s successful first season and tease the upcoming second. The presentation began with a screening of the highly celebrated episode “The Trial” (which featured Jemaine and Taika reprising their roles as Vladimir and Viago from the movie, among a celebrity-stuffed vampire council) but it was a little frustrating to have to sit through twenty-two minutes of something most of the audience had already seen to get to the live panel.
Fortunately, once the main attraction began, it was pretty entertaining. Cast members Kayvan Novak (Nandor), Matt Berry (Laszlo), Natasia Demetriou (Nadja), Harvey Guillén (Guillermo), and Mark Proksch (Colin Robinson) took the stage alongside writers Stefani Robinson (Atlanta) and Paul Simms (Flight of the Conchords), plus visual effects supervisor Brendan Taylor (The Handmaid’s Tale), and of course franchise creators Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi– the latter of which was fresh from announcing Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder in Hall H. Moderator Evan Rachel Wood (True Blood) related her own vampire experience and what it was like guest-starring as herself on the show.
Jemaine commented on “The Trial” episode and how it was actress Tilda Swinton’s (Only Lovers Left Alive) tongue-in-cheek idea to do a vampire mash-up of some sort, and how that concept evolved into the vampire council. We also learned about how Wesley Snipes (Blade) was a last-minute addition to the scene, but Taika wanted him in it so badly he shot the other actors’ reactions during production.
Novak talked about his choice of accent for Nandor, and how it’s essentially a combination of what Waititi and Clement did in the movie. And we heard from Berry, Demetriou, and Proksch about their individual characters as well. But the easy fan favorite of the panel (not to mention the show) was without a doubt Guillén as Guillermo, who polled the audience on what path they wished the hapless familiar to follow in season two: continue his pursuit of becoming a vampire, or reclaim his family lineage as revealed in the season finale: SPOILER ALERT… Guillermo is part Van Helsing, and that should make for some pretty interesting conflict on What We Do In the Shadows going forward.
The panel wrapped up with the world premiere of two new What We Do In the Shadows shorts, cut together from deleted scenes excised from episodes of the show. The first is made up of additional material from Nandor’s priceless citizenship test sequence, while the second sees Colin Robinson demonstrate his transformational abilities.
What We Do In the Shadows has been renewed and is readying production for its second season on FX, though no target airdate has been announced.