Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows has been turned into a series for FX starring Kayvan Novak, Harvey Guillen, Natasia Demetriou and Matt Berry. It also plans to occupy the same universe as the original film. The series shares the same basic premise as its parent concept — three vampires who live together as roommates are interviewed by a documentary crew and hilarity ensues (presumably). The series was written by Clement and directed by Waititi, who notably did not share credits as they did on the film.
During the series’ New York Comic Con panel, audiences actually got to watch the series premiere of What We Do In The Shadows, but were under strict instructions not to share any details about the new show other than the fact that it was set in America and would include a female vampire living with two male vampires, as opposed to three men living together, as was the case in the original film.
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To learn anything else, you’ll have to corner someone you know who happened to be there or wait until the series’ release in 2019. Though, that’s not to say the panel didn’t reveal some fascinating bits of information about the film and series, as told by creators and writers Clement and Waititi discussing the original concept and the series’ development.
Perhaps the most tantalizing bit of news is that the series, set in New York, will also share a universe with the 2014 film. When asked about this prospect by Rolling Stone journalist Alan Sepinwall, Clement didn’t go so far as to promise that he and Waititi would show up, but he was characteristically glib about the possibility:
Alan Sepinwall: Why Staten Island?
Paul Simms: It think it’s because we wanted the idea that the vampires had been, maybe, 200 years ago, had been sent to maybe conquer America, but had sort of lost their way and forgotten, and 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.
Jemaine Clement: We discussed a lot of different cities.
JC: L.A. Can’t be la too sunny. Detroit… But that had been in other vampire stories like Jim Jarmusch’s film.
AS: I looked this up beforehand, it is 8,933 miles from Wellington to Staten Island. So, that would be a really long haul for your characters from the movie to make it over.
JC: Only if something really disastrous happens. Has to be of incredible import.
AS: Is it something you’ve talked about. Taika, you said yesterday that this show —
Taika Waititi: Did I say? What did I say? I didn’t say anything, guys, that would… what did I say?
AS: But this show, the movie and Wellington Paranormal, they’re all kind of in the same universe, right?
TW: Yeah, we’re creating a universe to rival that of Marvel. Which, what that really means, is that we’re taking one idea and stretching it out for years and years.
JC: That’s what they do, too.
While there’s nothing in the way of confirmation in the above exchange, it’s worth noting that Clement and Waititi guested as original characters on Wellington Paranormal, a comedy series set in Wellington, New Zealand that follows two police officers investigating supernatural occurrences.
That said, nothing in the pilot suggests the need for Clement, Waititi or Johnny Bruhl to reprise their original roles. The current stars more than hold their own, and Clements, Waititi and Simms have done an admirable job evolving the original concept into something familiar, but different. A new character addition in particular will have fans of the movie wondering how they did without for this long.
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But, given how closely associated both Clement and Waititi were with the production of the series and their predilection for appearing in their own projects, it seems likely we might see Vladislav, Deacon and Viago pop up on Staten Island after all.
What We Do In The Shadows premieres on FX in 2019 and stars Kayvan Novak, Harvey Guillen, Natasia Demetriou and Matt Berry.