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On Sunday, the final day of San Diego Comic-Con 2022, the What We Do in the Shadows panel took the stage in Hall H to draw the curtain back on Season 4, which is airing now on FX and Hulu. Attendees (including SYFY WIRE) were treated to this week's episode, "The Night Market," and learned about Nadja’s nightclub, the technology of baby Colin Robinson, and hints about what’s coming in future episodes.
In attendance were co-executive producers/writers Paul Simms and Stefani Robinson, co-executive producers/directors Yana Gorskaya and Kyle Newacheck, and cast members Matt Berry (Laszlo), Mark Proksch (Colin Robinson), Kristen Schaal (The Guide), Harvey Guillén (Guillermo), and, streaming in via zoom, Natasha Demetriou (Nadja) and Kavan Novak (Nandor).
The big storyline of the season is that Nadja is converting the Vampire Council into a nightclub. Patterned off Blade starring Wesley Snipes, Nadja’s is rife with lots of leather and blood sprinklers.
“Nadja got turned into a vampire when she was a very young girl,” explained Simms. “She never had a job or anything out in the world. We wanted to do something where Nadja was in charge.”
The shocker at the end of Season 3 was seeing the death of everyone’s favorite energy vampire Colin Robinson, but then a baby crawled out of his corpse and now we have a rapidly growing baby version of Colin, but with the innocence of a young boy.
“We were doing green screen and other tricks of the trade to get my head on a child’s body,” Proksch explained. “The process started with a series of bone marrow transplants. I still vaguely smell of stale milk and I pull my pants all the way down to urinate, but other than that I am recovered.”
Figuring out how to do baby Colin proved to be the most difficult technical trick to pull off by the Shadows team.
“We went to a 2006 film by the Wayans Brothers called Little Man, and I was always fascinated by how they did that film 20 years ago,” Newacheck revealed. "So using the computer technology, was going to be inorganic and feel more like a computer talking to a human. Instead, we took that (Little Man) tech, and took all of Mark’s head and turned him around in a chair and put his whole head onto a child."
“It was important for us that it had to be Mark’s actual head and not a digital version of the head,” said Simms. “If there’s a scene we shot with the kid moving, we had to come back months later with Mark try to imitate the same kinds of lighting and stitch it together.”
The process has lengthened the post-production period. They’re still finishing scenes for this season.
The question of if Guillermo still wants to be a vampire, or is he too sweet, was asked and the conversation got deep. “I think Guillermo has always been sweet, we forget that he’s murdered so many people in the name of feeding his housemates,” Guillén reminded the audience.
“We forgive him because it’s a job, where we’ve been there, right? We’ve been working for someone who’s overlooked us for promotion. We’ve been in love with someone that we don’t have the courage to say anything,” Guillén continued. “He’s been putting other people first, especially his housemates in front of his needs for 13 years, and he’s had enough. The only reason he stays now is that there’s a child in the house full of vampires, who are in their own way, paternal but have not done this for hundreds of years.”
But Robinson stated that one of her favorite dynamics on the show is the turmoil of Guillermo being both a vampire slayer and being someone who loathes his housemates while yearning to be one of them.
“I still think Guillermo always wants to be a vampire – that’s the tension of the show,” Robinson said. “Guillermo is representative of all of us, and he is our entry way into the show.”
In the “Night Market,” business is booming at Nadja’s. The multi-talented Robinson is packing the house and is learning the harsh truth behind fairy tales from Laszlo. But the hired staff of wraiths are unionizing because of poor working conditions. In order to mitigate the wraiths' demands, Nadja and the rest of the gang travel to the Night Market for a special item that will help solve her problem. Unfortunately for Guillermo, Night Markets are not good places for humans or familiars, leading Nando to protect him, or, well… something.
The episode builds to this pivotal confrontation between Guillermo and Nandor.
“It was a lot of hours twiddling my sword,” Novak said jokingly. “Playing with my sword, and hanging my feet up against Harvey’s sword. It was a lot of fun."
It was hard to discern the difference between Berry and Laszlo Cravensworth because he stays in character when answering questions. When asked if he shares Laszlo’s cynicism towards fairy tales, he said, “Yes, they’re all based in something adult and particularly nasty, and I just to try to convey that to the kid, that was all. He seemed to accept it, take it in stride and moved on.”
“We didn’t set out to make the biggest episode we’ve ever made, but that’s what you just saw,” Simms said. “In the script, there are two sentences that say, ‘They arrive at the night market, which is filled with all sorts of creatures.’ That’s it. But production, prosthetics, wardrobe just kept going. That collaboration is what’s fun about this show.”
Simms did give some hints about future episodes of this season:
• We’ll meet Guillermo’s real family and we’ll also see him on his path to love.
• Viewers will get to see a full vampire wedding.
• The running gag of Laszlo’s idea of fixing up the crumbling mansion by endlessly watching episodes of Go Flip Yourself will run through the entire season, as well as the house flooding with water.
• Laszlo will be taming more animals on a boys-only trip to a cabin in the wilderness.
• An upcoming episode where almost all of the regular cast members are in one room for the an entire time.
What We Do in the Shadows airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX, and Wednesdays on Hulu.
Click here for SYFY WIRE’s full coverage of San Diego Comic-Con 2022.
Got a taste for blood? You can stream Van Helsing and plenty more horror on Peacock. Or if you're in the mood for some bloody good laughs, check out the teaser trailer for SYFY's upcoming series, Reginald the Vampire.