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SYFY WIRE What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do In The Shadows just gave us a bloody brilliant barrage of surprise guests

By Brian Silliman
What We Do In The Shadows - Council Dance (Credit: FX)

The television spin-off of Taika Waititi's amazing What We Do In The Shadows caused an unholy stir last night, unleashing an unyielding torrent of bloody surprises. Officially renewed for Season 2, the show's latest episode had viewers (and Twitter) in a state of pulsating frenzy. 

Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry), and Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) paid a visit to the vampire council after their drug-blood infused night out with the Baron (Doug Jones), and practically everyone (and we do mean everyone) was there for it.  

**WARNING: Spoilers ahead for the TV series What We Do In The Shadows. If you aren't caught up and don't want to be spoiled, then go full "BAT!!!" and fly away immediately.**

The episode had fans of everything and anything vampire-related baring their fangs in excitement, because the it was practically a clown-coffin full of cameo appearances made by actors who have memorably played vampires before. Series co-creator (and Flight of the Conchords legend) Jemaine Clement tweeted before the episode aired: "Tonight's episode of What We Do In The Shadows was written by your uncle Jemaine and directed by your uncle Taika Waititi. Warning: There are some surprising guest stars, so be careful not to flip the flip out." 

That turned out to be an understatement, because everyone flipped the flip out anyway. For starters,  Kristen Schaal (Last Man On Earth) may not have played a vampire before, but she is a Waititi veteran. She popped up first, continuing the show's streak of bringing on actors who had originally appeared on Flight of the Conchords (Arj Barker, who played Dave on that series, appeared earlier in the season as a werewolf gang leader). Dave Bautista also appeared, but that was just the anti-anemic aperitif. 

Many had assumed that the original vampire trio from the film would make their first appearance on the series here, and that was absolutely the case. Waititi (Viago) and Clement (Vladislav) themselves were on the council, along with Jonny Brugh (Deacon). 

What We Do in the Shadows | Season 1 Ep. 7: The Trial Preview | FX

The rest of the council turned out to be an unexpected who's who of vampire actors, and in the world of this series, they actually are vampires. You had Evan Rachel Wood (True Blood), Paul Reubens (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the film), and Danny Trejo (From Dusk Till Dawn). They were led by none other than Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive), and if that wasn't enough, Wesley Snipes (Blade) joined the group via Skype. Other big vampire actors got shout-outs, including a certain "Rob" who wanted to put all of this vampire stuff behind him. We're guessing that they were talking about the occasionally sparkly Robert Pattinson (Twlight). 

Talking with Entertainment Weekly about the star-studded affair, Waititi, Clement, and executive producer Paul Simms went into how this epic chorus of cameos came about. 

"Well, Taika and I were talking about appearing in the show, but trying to think how our characters would be in Staten Island, or with those characters in New Zealand, or in a third location, and also keeping an eye on story," Clement said. "I’d been to SXSW with [the movie version of] What We Do in the Shadows, and Tilda Swinton was there [with Only Lovers Left Alive], and our films were playing almost together, two vampire films."

Clement recalls that it was Swinton who ended up pushing for the merge in that moment. "She said, 'Do something where our vampire characters are together.' I just locked that away in my brain," Clement said. "So I thought, well, maybe a whole lot of vampires from different places have come together for some reason, and then just to tie it into the story line that we had." 

As for the vampires that declined to attend, Kiefer Sutherland, Brad Pitt, and Tom Cruise were also mentioned. Clement and Waititi say that Sutherland was approached, but he ended up passing. Pitt was actually into the idea, but the scene was getting full and they "never really followed up." They admit that was perhaps rude of them, but that it's also saved a potential appearance for the next season.

Many actors ended up coming to them, wanting to be involved — Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood) wanted in, but scheduling didn't allow it. Cate Blanchett wanted to join as well, even though she's never played a vampire before. It ended up being a tough party to get invited to, even if you've worked with the director (Blanchett and Waititi worked together fantastically on Thor: Ragnarok), and even if you happen to be named Cate Blanchett. 

Twitter was impressed with the incredible lineup, with user Kevin Biegel tweeting, "Tonight's 'What We Do In The Shadows' has the best guest start line up in the history of TV." 

User John Squires tweeted, "Pretty sure What We Do In The Shadows just created a full on Vampire Cinematic Universe with tonight's episode. Some brilliant, deep cut treats there for horror fans. Thank you for renewing this series, FX!" 

Evan Rachel Wood got in on the Twitter action herself, tweeting, "Can finally say it! Catch me in tonights episode of @theshadowsfx !! You may see a familiar 'Queen' vampire make her return to the living." 

The episode truly did feel like the start of a whole new "Vampire Cinematic Universe," so who knows where Waititi, Clement, and Simms will take things from here. All we know if that if the show does a similar episode for Season 2, it's likely going to escalate things even further. Get Cate Blanchett some fangs, for hell's sake! 

What We Do In The Shadows will be back next Wednesday on FX.