10 Ways What We Do In The Shadows Made The Most Underrated Cinematic Universe


The vampiric franchise What We Do in the Shadows has quietly become one of the most entertaining and hilarious shared cinematic universes in recent years. Fans have come to greatly appreciate this ongoing serial set in the world of monsters and ghouls, but it’s not immediately clear how it found so much success.

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With the various critically acclaimed spin-offs, though, a celebrated movie, a top-notch cast, a brilliant core vision for this ongoing universe, and a number of other factors, other studios and brands can perhaps learn something from the lessons set out through these comedic projects. There looks to be no stopping this creative juggernaut.

10 Core Creative Vision

What We Do in the Shadows - the three vampires standing together at their home

Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi were the two creative forces behind the original movie. The New Zealand indie production was very much their vision and the consequential spin-offs have all been based around this very initial idea.

Compared to other franchises, the What We Do in the Shadows universe has benefitted from having these two overseeing everything. While they also delegate when needed, they have had an involvement in every part of this world’s creation.

9 From Movie To TV

what we do in the shadows movie cast

Very few movies have successfully made the jump from the big to the small screen while also keeping the same continuity. Marvel has been praised in recent years for their ABC and Disney+ shows and how they keep some of the same canon alive despite the various platforms.

Yet, What We Do in the Shadows has already mastered this with actual crossovers between the different areas of this universe and the same characters featuring in various places. It’s a testament to the planning and execution of this increasingly complex landscape.

8 Two Spin-Offs

Considering the size of the initial film, shockingly there have already been two television spin-offs. The first is Wellington Paranormal, which follows officers O’Leary and Minogue, who are the two members of the police that invade the vampire’s house in the original movie.

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The second is the US version of What We Do in the Shadows, which investigates a different set of vampires. Interestingly, the characters from the original movie also make a couple of appearances in this show. All three projects are filmed in the same mockumentary style.

7 Fantastic Casting

Whether it’s Guillermo, the werewolves, or the Wellington Police, every single level of this franchise is perfectly cast. Using a diverse range of talent, the comedic timing and chemistry amongst all of these actors are simply incredible. Each role has been made to feel totally unique.

The authenticity and natural style of these performances also help to really sell the story. This feels like a real world thanks to the people cast within these roles. There are some real heavy hitters from the comedy world throughout all the films and series as well.

6 Great Guest Stars

Featured What We Do In The Shadows Season 3 Begins Filming

While the main cast of this universe is superb, the TV show also includes a number of brilliant guest cameos. The likes of Dave Bautista, Mark Hammill, and Tilda Swinton have all appeared as various vampires in the US show’s first two seasons.

It’s truly a great asset to the series that there are so many well-known and highly regarded performers wanting to be involved in this bizarre universe. The quality of the writing and the strong audience following would certainly interest any big-name star.

5 Consistently Funny

Office Mingoue and the Chief in Wellington Paranormal

The one thing that really connects all of these strange projects is just how funny they all are. They play off of a New Zealand and British humor, which actually isn’t morphed that much when looking at the American iteration of the world.

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The scripts are fantastically written and combine both physical gags and a number of fantastic quotes, which really sell the story while getting a laugh out of almost every scene. It’s difficult to find any other franchise that hits it out of the park every single time.

4 Well-Known Stories

What We Do in the Shadows - Steve - key chain

The whole idea of this franchise is that it is built off the back of familiar mythology. Everyone knows about vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and ghouls. The premise is that all of these mythological beings have been brought into the real world for the first time.

There’s something very accessible about the concept, as there’s no hidden lore that a viewer has to understand to interact with the property. Everyone has likely heard of a zombie story or the tale of Dracula and this just continues to delve into those traditional narratives.

3 International Appeal

Film What We Do In The Shadows Main Vampires

The nature of the stories being told, the type of humor within the show, as well as the range of recognizable and new stars in these shows and films, means that the franchise actually has international appeal. In fact, Wellington Paranormal has recently made its way to streaming in both the UK and the US as well as other markets.

Despite being a Kiwi concept, the franchise has grown into something that the whole world can enjoy. A cinematic universe will only continue to grow if it can resonate with audiences and have universal appeal no matter where they are.

2 Room To Expand

Wellington Paranormal police officers

There’s even more room for this franchise to expand, and it’s really only scratching the surface. For starters, the Wellington Police could certainly make a trip to the States for a mini crossover of their own. However, there are lots of other directions to go in.

With so many mythical creatures to explore there could easily be other spin-offs taking a mockumentary look at ghosts or even zombies. What’s more, there’s always the possibility that Taika Waititi may wish to direct a sequel to the original hit production.

1 Future Of The Franchise

What We Do in the Shadows Episode Still

What We Do in the Shadows is currently looking at its third season while Wellington Paranormal is heading to its fourth, although the ongoing global situation may have created delays in the current production timeline. Outside of that, there are no current plans on the table for more spin-offs.

Yet the original team behind the first film consistently talks about the potential for a werewolf spin-off down the line, with the project titled We’re Wolves getting mentioned every now and again and the group confirming that it isn’t dead in the water quite yet. If it does happen then it would be an exciting fourth entry into the franchise.

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