8 Things We Learned About the Upcoming What We Do in the Shadows Series at New York Comic Con

Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, and Paul Simms spill some secrets about their upcoming vampire mockumentary series based on their 2014 cult film.

by | October 7, 2018 | Comments

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 7: (L-R) Moderator Alan Sepinwall, executive producers Jemaine Clement, Paul Simms and Taika Waititi speak at the panel for "What We Do in the Shadows" at the 2018 NY Comic-Con on October 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

(Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

Vampires descended onto New York Comic Con on Sunday for the much-anticipated What We Do in the Shadows preview and panel event for the upcoming small-screen adaptation of Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s 2014 cult comedy. While they proved plenty scary with blood to spare, the fanged undead brought in the laughs, too.

The sold-out audience at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan was treated to a screening of the series’ first episode, which is due to premiere on FX in 2019. The screening was followed by a talk-back with Clement and Waititi along with executive producer and writer Paul Simms. While Clement especially remained tight-lipped on the surprises in store this season (he wrote the series in full as opposed to sharing writing credits with Waititi as they did for the film), we’ve broken down the eight quick facts gleaned from their conversation with moderator and Rolling Stone critic Alan Sepinwall. Catch up below.

 1. The series came together with the help of producer Scott Rudin. 

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 7: (L-R) Executive producer Jemaine Clement speaks at the panel for "What We Do in the Shadows" at the 2018 NY Comic-Con on October 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

(Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

To hear Clement tell it, there was never really a plan to adapt or reimagine his film for the small screen until powerhouse producer Scott Rudin (who is attached to the small-screen adaptation as executive producer) saw the movie and reached out to him directly.

“Scott Rudin saw the movie and asked us to develop a series idea and pilot. It seemed like a good opportunity for me, because it means I wouldn’t have to pitch it. It would already be approved,” Clement said with a laugh.

2. The creators admit to taking creative cues from other projects.

When asked how the mockumentary style of the film and series came to be, Clement admitted that he and Waititi certainly took cues from classics of the genre like This Is Spinal Tap — plus standout vampire fare like The Lost Boys, Interview With the Vampire, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

“We’d just basically steal from a lot of things that we liked and put them in our movie and then take credit for it!” Waititi joked.

3. The series is set in New York City.

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, international poster, clockwise from top left: Jemaine Clement, Stuart Rutherford, Taika Waititi, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Ben Fransham, Jonathan Brugh, 2014. ©The Orchard/Courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by ©The Orchard/Courtesy Everett Collection)

More specifically: Staten Island. While the 2014 film (pictured above) follows vampires Vladislav (Clement), Viago (Waititi), and Deacon (Jonny Brugh) living together in their native Wellington, New Zealand, Clement decided for the series, he wanted the documentary crew to follow vampires living in the United States.

“We wanted the idea that the vampires had been — maybe 200 years ago — sent to conquer America, but had sort of lost their way and forgotten,” Simms said. “They’d gotten to New York, and that’s where the boat dropped them off, and they never went any further and before they knew it, a lot of time had passed.”

“We discussed a lot of different cities,” posited Clements, “[but] can’t be L.A. — too sunny.” Detroit was also a possibility, but they didn’t want to step on the toes of Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive.

4. Along with a new city comes new vampires.

TOAST OF LONDON, Matt Berry, (Season 2, 2014). photo: Kuba Wieczorek / © Channel 4 / Courtesy: Everett Collection

(Photo by Kuba Wieczorek / © Channel 4 / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

Much like the movie, the series follows three vampires who live together: Laszlo (Matt Berry, pictured above in Toast of London), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), and Nandor (Kayvan Novak) — the former two are husband and wife. Also living with them is a fourth vampire named Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), who’s an “energy vampire.” Instead of blood, he sucks the energy out of his victims by boring them to death with mundane anecdotes and bad jokes. The office is his feeding ground, but his powers also work on his vampire roomies.

“We hadn’t thought about anything like that for the movie,” Clement said, “but when I was reading about different kinds of vampires, there was one that people mentioned as a real type of vampire that exists and that we all come up against.”

5. The pilot episode introduces various narrative threads to get excited about.

THE MAGICIANS -- "The Losses of Magic" Episode 303 -- Pictured: Harvey Guillen as Benedict -- (Photo by: Eric Milner/Syfy)

(Photo by Eric Milner/Syfy)

While tonally akin to the feature film, the pilot episode that screened at NYCC proved to be a different story entirely. The main action is put into motion when our central three vampires receive notice that an ancient leader vampire named the Baron is coming to pay them a visit from abroad, purportedly to see how conquering America is going. Nadja also fans a extramarital crush on a human who she’s convinced is a reincarnation of an old flame — one that she incidentally decapitated in the bedroom.

There’s also quite a lot of attention paid to the vampires’ familiars, particularly the sweet-but-fumbling Guillermo (Harvey Guillen, pictured above in Syfy series The Magicians). Laszlo has been his master for the last 10 years, and he hopes to one day be rewarded for his service by being turned into a vampire himself. He’s a bright spot of innocence in this household of bloodsucking murderers — even though he helps in this murders along the way.

“When I was writing the pilot, I was thinking that they’re all murderers, so you need someone to balance that,” Clement said of the character. “He’ll have to wrestle, of course, with that idea when he becomes a vampire — if he does — he’ll have to do those things, too.”

6. They will make their way off Staten Island and into Manhattan.

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 7: (L-R) Moderator Alan Sepinwall, executive producers Jemaine Clement, Paul Simms and Taika Waititi speak at the panel for "What We Do in the Shadows" at the 2018 NY Comic-Con on October 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

(Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

Simms also teased that this series won’t just stay on Staten Island, but will venture out in Manhattan, as well; in fact, there’s going to be a whole episode dedicated to the subject, with Laszlo, Nadja, and Nandor coming face to face with some other unwelcome vampires.

“They sort of think that Staten Island is all of New York or maybe even all of America, but there’s a whole story where they go into Manhattan for the first time to meet the Manhattan vampires, who are a little bit cooler than they are,” he said.

7. We will meet other supernatural beings, as well.

Just like the movie, which featured werewolves and other fantastically nightmarish beasts, Clement teased that we can expect similar creatures in this iteration, too, saying that “probably some other ones you’re more familiar with” will show up over the course of season 1.

“Jemaine really doesn’t want to give anything away,” Simms said, chiming in. “But I think if you watch the show, you’re going to be very satisfied.”

8. But the question is: Will the vampires from the film show up?

The question on everyone’s lips, however, wasn’t whether we can expect werewolves, but if Vladislav, Viago, and Deacon will be making an appearance in New York. While anything’s possible, Clement maintained that it’d take a lot for those New Zealand vampires to travel the nearly 9,000 miles to the United States’ East Coast.

“Only if something really disastrous happens. It has to be of incredible import,” Clement said of the possibility of his Vladislav popping up later on in the series.

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 7: Executive producer Taika Waititi speaks at the panel for "What We Do in the Shadows" at the 2018 NY Comic-Con on October 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

(Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

But Waititi did confirm that their new FX project does indeed take place in the same world as their film: “We’re creating a universe to rival that of Marvel,” joked the director of Thor: Ragnarok.

Tag Cloud

series Fantasy cancelled Apple TV Plus Disney streaming service cinemax halloween Musicals Elton John CBS All Access Pet Sematary Teen Pride Month natural history comic political drama Walt Disney Pictures Winter TV critics christmas movies Starz criterion CW Seed breaking bad VOD zero dark thirty Brie Larson SundanceTV Mary Poppins Returns Heroines ID AMC Lucasfilm Song of Ice and Fire Certified Fresh adventure TCA Awards Holidays Star Trek Comedy Central nfl space OneApp free movies satire Ghostbusters Nominations Biopics rotten movies we love Amazon movie Animation anime Netflix Christmas movies festival mutant Polls and Games news TCA Winter 2020 Captain marvel Amazon Studios Ovation strong female leads See It Skip It Comedy Britbox venice Tomatazos HBO Max Pixar unscripted tv talk 24 frames Film PBS screenings Hear Us Out psychological thriller First Reviews fast and furious Sci-Fi medical drama Comics on TV Spectrum Originals spain mockumentary cats hispanic 99% dark Election National Geographic GIFs Vudu nbcuniversal robots cops Kids & Family universal monsters Anna Paquin a nightmare on elm street cancelled TV shows MSNBC doctor who documentary Shudder facebook fresh what to watch Summer The Witch Calendar Tarantino crime drama war obituary Logo MCU American Society of Cinematographers Endgame 2019 History boxoffice romantic comedy PaleyFest comedies technology FX GoT A&E TV renewals NYCC Funimation BET Awards docudrama Emmy Nominations cooking child's play best 2018 video on demand batman New York Comic Con APB ratings television Valentine's Day blockbuster Podcast Showtime singing competition werewolf Mindy Kaling james bond spanish language foreign Toys X-Men TruTV indiana jones based on movie Hallmark classics Alien concert festivals Schedule crime Mary Tyler Moore TV WarnerMedia 007 diversity Syfy laika latino CMT Lionsgate IFC Films Academy Awards Red Carpet Turner dceu Columbia Pictures Fox News italian 2015 book discovery The Walking Dead all-time Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt canceled TV shows mission: impossible Sneak Peek theme song Mudbound Music Chilling Adventures of Sabrina travel Warner Bros. Countdown stand-up comedy Shondaland Black History Month dogs cults LGBTQ Adult Swim south america Action social media Trophy Talk sitcom Premiere Dates Disney Plus dramedy CNN Extras Stephen King Character Guide comic books casting black Interview First Look zombie worst movies remakes cars kids NBC sag awards Spike cancelled television children's TV french BBC Acorn TV spy thriller chucky VICE cancelled TV series green book Chernobyl miniseries rotten Cartoon Network twilight Ellie Kemper DC Universe die hard hist Tumblr A24 Paramount Food Network Apple Rocky football Sundance Avengers Dark Horse Comics Universal comics Spring TV Masterpiece politics Video Games ITV Discovery Channel Disney films USA worst MTV TV Land Lifetime Christmas movies disaster versus name the review Martial Arts ghosts aliens finale Cannes Travel Channel elevated horror slashers E! joker Bravo Oscars dc Hallmark Christmas movies Grammys Amazon Prime YouTube Red science fiction toy story Photos Family Trivia sports animated OWN Emmys teaser Epix Pirates ABC FOX Best and Worst Baby Yoda Creative Arts Emmys Super Bowl Fall TV cartoon witnail Sundance TV IFC canceled 20th Century Fox game show Winners Freeform scary movies deadpool SDCC emmy awards HBO The Academy 2016 4/20 TLC Mary poppins The CW hollywood stop motion TNT San Diego Comic-Con YA Comic Book reboot crime thriller TCA period drama franchise australia Box Office FXX Awards Mystery award winner FX on Hulu binge independent Amazon Prime Video parents Esquire DirecTV CBS Disney+ Disney Plus 2020 renewed TV shows Holiday ESPN DGA Turner Classic Movies Quiz Awards Tour halloween tv BBC One nature richard e. Grant supernatural jamie lee curtis Apple TV+ japanese Cosplay Arrowverse BET Black Mirror Peacock scorecard Reality Competition historical drama justice league RT History spinoff vampires Musical dragons archives LGBT DC Comics Infographic RT21 Crunchyroll Women's History Month Writers Guild of America superhero YouTube Premium harry potter Pop screen actors guild Disney Channel Drama revenge Classic Film GLAAD comiccon 45 WGN The Purge Watching Series talk show transformers Binge Guide Film Festival Tubi Year in Review sequels BBC America blaxploitation adaptation VH1 Star Wars Fox Searchlight indie golden globes Sundance Now movies TCM Hulu Superheroe YouTube Trailer streaming game of thrones anthology The Arrangement Pop TV Opinion directors President toronto romance PlayStation DC streaming service 21st Century Fox video asian-american Rom-Com stoner Television Critics Association serial killer boxing composers spider-man HBO Go Sony Pictures true crime SXSW Nat Geo psycho Rocketman crossover Paramount Network Christmas Horror USA Network zombies Country police drama TIFF TCA 2017 72 Emmy Awards documentaries quibi ABC Family Marathons Television Academy 2017 reviews spanish Netflix Marvel Studios Nickelodeon thriller sequel E3 Reality 71st Emmy Awards Rock rt archives Marvel Television Superheroes BAFTA TBS Marvel Set visit Western Thanksgiving El Rey Lifetime biography Crackle