Spoilers below for the Season 2 finale of What We Do In the Shadows, so be warned!
For its final installment of Season 2, What We Do In the Shadows hearkened back to the first-season episode ("The Trial") that introduced the vampiric council, which featured cameos from former vampire actors such as Tilda Swinton, Paul Reubens, Evan Rachel Wood and more. With "Nouveau The?a?tre des Vampires," the FX comedy creators wanted to bring in the most suitable actor possible to lead a group of theatrical vamps: Interview with the Vampire star Antonio Banderas.
As fans of the Neil Jordan film will no doubt remember, Antonio Banderas played the role of Armand in Interview with the Vampire. Armand was the leader of the Théâtre des Vampires (19th century edition), who would put on violent and perverse stage shows for humans that usually ended in deaths. It seemed like he would pop up at any moment during What We Do In the Shadows, and co-creator Jemaine Clement definitely intended to make it so. Here's what he told EW:
That was the hope, that Antonio Banderas would come for that episode. That's been our dream to have him on the show from the start. He's Guillermo's hero! As you know from the film, he works with the theater troupe with vampires pretending to be humans. Originally that was the idea, that it was going to be a theater group pretending to be vampires and we were going to make a joke about that — a group of vampires pretending to be humans pretending to be vampires pretending to be humans… That really would've been an incredible episode if we could've had him turn up. We'll keep trying.
While it would have been equally awesome to see Brad Pitt and/or Kirsten Dunst sitting in the crowd watching Nandor, Laszlo, Nadja and Colin on stage, that scenario would have probably been even more impossible than securing Antonio Banderas. Of course, it's unknown exactly why Banderas hasn't been able to reprise the role of Armand for What We Do In the Shadows. I certainly hope it's more of a scheduling issue than a case of him not being interested in doing it.
To be sure, Antonio Banderas is a busy man. Having taken on his first big U.S. TV acting role as Pablo Picasso in Genius in 2018, the actor appeared in a handful of movies in 2019, he showed up as a pirate king in 2020's Doolittle, and he's got several movies set for 2021, including the action sequel The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, the comedic drama Official Competition and the video game adaptation Uncharted with Tom Holland. (Don't expect for his rumored role in The New Mutants sequel, though, since that probably won't happen.) Banderas probably would have needed to be an actual vampire in order to make a cameo work for What We Do In the Shadows.
Even though Antonio Banderas wasn't able to lead the vampiric theater group, his absence allowed for Jemaine Clement to step up and take on the Master of Ceremonies role, reprising his role of Vladislav from the original What We Do In the Shadows film. (No Taika Waititi this time, though.) It was the second time he showed up on screen in the TV series, having first returned for the aforementioned installment "The Trial." It turns out he actually wasn't planning on filling in for the role, even without Banderas involved, but the timing worked out just so. In his words:
I wasn't even going to do this until the day before, because we had trouble getting anyone in time. We were hoping we'd get someone who has played a vampire before, like in 'The Trial' last season with the vampire council, but we didn't have enough time. So I happened to be in Toronto, where we shoot the show, so I put my wig on again, but it wasn't planned.
Unlike just about every other vampire in the theater, Jemaine Clement's Vladislav escaped the deadly wrath of Guillermo Buillermo, er, of Guillermo de la Cruz. Just when Nandor's familiar dropped in to save the day, Vladislav turned into a bat and hauled his fuzzy ass out of there.
What We Do In the Shadows is done with Season 2, which featured cameos from other A-listers such as Mark Hamill, Benedict Wong, Haley Joel Osment and more. All episodes are available to stream in full on Hulu, and the show has already been renewed for Season 3 by FX, so fans can expect to see more bloodsucking fun in 2021. Here's hoping Antonio Banderas can find the time to jump in a coffin and head to the set. While waiting to hear more about the next season, check out our Summer 2020 TV premiere schedule.