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The events of the last year-and-a-half have been so incredibly bizarre, that the masterminds behind FX's What We Do in the Shadows couldn't resist tapping into a bit of the real-world strangeness. Chatting with SYFY WIRE at a press roundtable at New York Comic Con this past weekend, Shadows showrunner/executive producer/writer Paul Simms let slip that the first episode of Season 4 (already several weeks into shooting) weaves the Suez Canal blockage into its storyline.
"That is part of the universe," confirmed writer/executive story editor, Sarah Naftalis.
Just don't expect things to get too dire like they did in our reality. "We’ve created a world where people escape to watch our show," explained Harvey Guillén (Nandor's familiar, Guillermo). "There’s no reason to make those waters murky. We know what’s going on."
"We’re aiming for timeless," added director/editor/co-executive producer Yana Gorskaya.
And besides, even if stuff like the COVID-19 pandemic made it into the show, the vampires would hardly take notice.
"I think that’s what the beauty of them and the show is: you don’t have to pay any attention to current affairs because they are very self-involved people who have lived through every president, every regime, every pandemic," said Natasia Demetriou (Nadja of Antipaxos). "They’d just say, ‘Oh! This one was over quickly! Wow, different to the Spanish Flu.’"
"They’d have noticed the masks, but I think they’d have thought that was some kind of fashion," theorized Matt Berry (Laszlo Cravensworth). "They’d have more time in the evening to wander the streets because there’d be no one else there."
A global health crisis is out of the question, but the return of Jackie Daytona is not. Laszlo's fan favorite alter ego from Season 2 could make a comeback, though it probably won't happen this season or next, according to Simms. "The Jackie Daytona thing was such a fun standalone episode, that it feels like to try to duplicate it or bring it back…everyone thinks they want it, but if we did it again, people would go like, ‘Ehh, that wasn’t as fun as the first time.'"
However, the showrunner did add that "the model of the Jackie Daytona episode and doing one episode that really focuses on one vampire on an interesting journey" comes into play in this week's new episode ("The Wellness Center"), which sees a depressed Nandor (Kayvan Novak) joining up with a cult of vampires trying to live as humans. "A solo story that explores him more closely. He doesn’t have a toothpick and blue jeans, but..."
"He’s off on his own for a bit," finished Naftalis.
Addressing all the fan love for his human bartender persona, Berry said: "I’ve seen people wearing Jackie Daytona T-shirts [who] don’t know that I’m anywhere near them. And that has been odd because it’s so tempting to go, ‘What the f***?!’ But I wouldn’t do that … I’ll be at a distance and if I see that they’re wearing it, then I’ll make sure that I’m at even more of a distance."
Cree Summer guest stars in the upcoming episode as the persuasive leader of the aforementioned vampire cult, but she won't be the only one as Season 3 starts to wind down across its final trio of episodes.
"We have some characters coming up in the last three episodes of this season that are fun guest stars, but not necessarily ones who have played vampires before," Simms teased. "One has played a vampire, but we sort of opened it up. Our original casting idea was, ‘Anyone who plays a vampire has to be someone who’s played a vampire in something else.’ But we opened it up a little bit because there are some particularly funny people coming up. But there’s also one great, famous movie vampire with a great twist on it."
As for what the future holds on the surprise celebrity front, Simms promises there are "a few special ones that are on our wishlist that might come up in Season 4." The cast, on the other hand, aren't shy about who they'd like to see on the show: Iggy Pop, William Shatner, Lisa Kudrow, Kristen Wiig, Catherine O'Hara, Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Amy Sedaris, and Sarah Michelle Gellar (imagine Buffy stopping by!) were all mentioned during our conversation with the actors.
"We were very fortunate to have a lot of people come play with us so far," Guillén concluded.
Episode 8 of What We Do in the Shadows Season 3 premieres on FX this coming Thursday (Oct. 14) at 10 p.m. ET. It will be available to stream on FX on Hulu the following day.
Click here for SYFY WIRE’s full coverage of New York Comic Con 2021.