Sunday afternoon in the Hammerstein Ballroom at New York Comic Con, FX screened the pilot episode of their upcoming TV series “What We Do in the Shadows,” based on 2014 film of the same name.
“Only if something really disastrous happened,” Clement told panel moderator (and Rolling Stone TV critic) Alan Sepinwall. “Has to be of incredible import.”
Confirming that this new series, the film, and the recent New Zealand series “Wellington Paranormal,” all take place in the same universe, Waititi also joked that they were building out a rival to Marvel.
“What we’re doing is taking one idea and stretching it out,” said a deadpan Waititi, who directed this pilot after taking the lead on “Thor: Ragnarok.”
While Vladislav and Viago might not be guaranteed to show up, the series has an impressive trio of new vampire friends at its core, including couple Nadja and Laszlo, played by Natasia Demetriou and Matt Berry. Clement explained that he wrote the part of Laszlo specifically for Berry, while the character name of Nadja is a nod to the 1994 Michael Almereyda film.
They’re joined by an ensemble that also includes Kayvan Novak as Nandor, the symbolic leader of the group, and Harvey Guillen as Guillermo, Nandor’s human servant. Mark Prosch, perhaps most familiar to “Better Call Saul” fans as baseball card enthusiast Pryce.
Clement and Waititi’s 2014 movie featured a healthy amount of werewolf counterparts. Clement was cagey as to whether this new series would feature anything comparable, but after alluding to a new character introduced in the pilot, Clement said, “Probably some other ones you’re more familiar with.”
Series writer Paul Sims also revealed that an upcoming episode will take this new vampire group into Manhattan, where they’ll find some unexpected companions.
“In one of the episodes … they venture into Manhattan for the first time. They’ve assumed that Staten Island is all of New York or maybe even all of America,” Simms said. “They meet the Manhattan vampires who are a little bit cooler than they are.”
As far as setting this in New York, Clement said they had considered other locations before ultimately landing on Staten Island.
“We discussed a lot of different cities,” Clement said. “Can’t be LA. Too sunny. Detroit, but there had been another vampire story, Jim Jarmusch’s film [“Only Lovers Left Alive”].
The pilot, set to air next year, also features previously announced cast members who include “Lady Bird” breakout Beanie Feldstein and shapeshifting monster expert Doug Jones.
“What We Do in the Shadows” will premiere on FX in 2019.