What We Do in the Shadows fans not only got to step inside Nadja’s Nightclub at San Diego Comic-Con, but they were also the first audience in the world to see “The Night Market,” the fourth episode of Season 4, which aired on July 26th. During a panel on Sunday, July 24th, the full episode was screened in the historic Hall H, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A. In attendance were Matt Berry (Laszlo), Harvey Guillén (Guillermo), Mark Proksch (Colin Robinson), Kristen Schaal (The Guide), Paul Simms (executive producer/writer), Stefani Robinson (executive producer/writer), Yana Gorskaya (co-EP/director/editor), and Kyle Newacheck (co-EP/director). Joining via Zoom were Kayvan Novak (Nandor) and Natasia Demetriou (Nadja).
Now that “The Night Market” has aired on FX and is streaming on Hulu, it’s safe to recap this panel without anything being spoiled for the most blood-thirsty fans. “The Night Market” wasn’t intended to be the biggest episode in the production’s history, but it became that. The script didn’t go into much detail about the underground supernatural market, but the production team went above and beyond creating all manner of creatures and items to populate this world.
For Harvey Guillén and Kayvan Novak, preparing for the episode required a lot of combat training, with Guillermo thrown into a fight against other familiars, which evolves into him publicly battling Nandor. Matt Berry revealed that he agrees with Laszlo’s cynical look at fairytales and the disturbing origins of most of these cautionary tales for children. Young Colin Robinson is a big part of the episode, but Mark Proksch actually filmed all of his scenes alone after principal photography wrapped. The team expected to be able to use digital mapping to swap the actor’s head onto a child’s body, but the end results looked bad. They went a little more practical, borrowing a trick from the 2006 Wayans Brothers comedy Little Man, which requires Mark to match every head movement the child actor made on set, plus the lighting team to match that of the original environment for each scene.
Beyond this most recent episode, the panel discussion also veered towards Season 4 as a whole. A hilarious makeout session in the season premiere between Nadja and Laszlo results in them crashing through the floor into a pit of water, the second part of the scene ending up among the last filmed for the season. Natasia Demetriou explained that it was a challenge receiving notes from the director while underwater, made even more difficult by Matt Berry, who kept pretending to drown. Yana Gorskaya, who directed the scene, also added that by the end of the season, all of the actors (except Mark Proksch) filmed a scene in the tank.
Since Nadja’s Nightclub was a star at SDCC, not only in the FX labyrinth activation but also on the t-shirt giveaway from the panel, the source of inspiration for the club was brought up. Stefani Robinson specifically referenced Blade as something they were trying to emulate, but it also helped serve Nadja’s overall character arc. Paul Simms reminded the audience that Nadja was young when she was turned into a vampire, so she was never in a position of power over others in a typical workplace environment. “The Night Market” shows exactly how ruthless of a boss she can be.
New episodes of What We Do in the Shadows air on Tuesdays on FX and stream the next day on Hulu. Click here for more San Diego Comic-Con coverage.