This article contains spoilers from Anne Rice’s VAMPIRE CHRONICLES novels.

The latest Interview with the Vampire season 2 trailers feature Jacob Anderson as Louis de Pointe du Lac, tyrannically dictating the story of his undeath to journalist Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian). The ancient vampire won’t lighten the historical weight buried in cryptic footnotes covered in blood. The contemporary talks are set in Prague, but recent clips extend grand theatrical overtures.

Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire season 2 will open with a new Parisian location, and fresh blood. AMC’s playbill says the part of Claudia has been recast with Delainey Hayles. Roxane Duran joins as the dollmaker Madeleine, a tragic figure with worse pains to suffer. The latest trailer also features a new, albeit secondary, antagonist, Santiago (Ben Daniels). The prime antagonist is, of course, a series protagonist, the vampire other vampires love to hate but remains the most beloved: Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid).  

Interview with The Vampire season 1 dropped the curtain on Louis’ maker and lover in a rushed farewell. The latest trailer teases a command performance. Lestat and Santiago share a past, and a love of high drama. Barring the most grievous of spoilers, this is how Santiago’s story plays out on the stages constructed in the pages of Rice’s book.

What Is the Théâtre des Vampires?

Walking the late-night streets of Paris, Louis’ first literary encounter with Santiago is much like being silently stalked by a mime in a public park. Dressed in a black cape with a silver lining and an ostentatiously tall top hat, the aggressive silent menace trails the newly arrived Louis mimicking every movement in a symphonic pantomime of magnified ridicule. “He was the vampire; I seemed the mirror,” Louis later recounts. Santiago concludes his charade with a sharp slap across a shocked face of the American blood tourist, and an aerodynamic exit, prompted by a watchful Armand.

Louis derides his new acquaintance as a “buffoon,” much like most park-goers would brand a street mime. But Santiago is no clown. Théâtre des Vampires may mock conventions, but believes the code. Vampires do not kill vampires, unless they’ve killed a vampire.

Santiago has one of my favorite lines in Interview with the Vampire: “Do you know what it means to be loved by Death?” It is up there with “To die, to truly be dead, that must be glorious,” from Dracula; and “Feast your eyes, glut your soul on my accursed ugliness,” from the silent Phantom of the Opera. The terminal theater-dwellers’ approach differs from the maestro’s, haunting the stage with the youthful beauty of eternal creatures gorged on the blood of lucky ticket-holders.

Santiago is the master of all ceremonies performed at the Théâtre des Vampires in Paris, second only to Armand (Assad Zaman), who is a Master Vampire with a loyal cast of players. The troupe are a coven, or a decadent cult of infinite desires and endless last suppers. Taught to believe vampires such as themselves are damned creatures no matter what they do, their major takeaway lesson translates into tacit approval to revel in devilish depravity, and illicit dining delivery service.

Disguised as human actors portraying the horrifically seductive monsters of legend on stage, Théâtre des Vampires producers want what all productions want: to put asses in seats. They also want to put fangs in throats, and other plasma-rich body parts. There is a strong element of sadism in the humiliation the living dinner-theater-fare suffers, especially for Santiago’s increasingly debased amusement. It takes more than usual party snacks to appease the more jaded libertine appetites. European vampires are older, more powerful, and more dangerous than their remorseful American counterparts.

In Rice’s book, Claudia and Louis escape to Europe with hopes of finding wiser vampires they can learn from and relate to. They first land in Bulgaria, where primitively superstitious locals hang crosses for protection from the anti-Christian vampires, and bar entrances with garlic to ward odd bloodsucking nocturnal monstrosities. The Eastern European vampires are called revenants, because they are unrecognizable ghosts of former selves. These are feral creatures, disfigured by immortal decay, laying in caskets until hunger drives them into a mindless feeding frenzy. The series may skip this short culinary detour, but the revenants provide a healthy balance to the elite vampires making the scene on the most notorious theater row in France.

Who Is Santiago?

Santiago’s extended history is shrouded in last moment rewrites and fatal improvisations. He appears civilized to the naked eye, but his criminally mindless disregard for other beings makes the revenant vampires appear cultured. “He was enormous in height though gaunt as myself,” Louis remembers in Interview with the Vampire. “His long, white face very clear under the lamp, his large, black eyes staring at me in what seemed undisguised wonder.”

In the book, Santiago appears to levitate after Louis grabs him, even though Rice establishes flight as an ability mastered only by ancient vampires in her Vampire Chronicles. Santiago mastered his Cloud Gift, defying gravity for improbable leaps to walls, ceilings, and pockets of little resistance. Santiago is younger than Armand, who is 400 years old and lived his mortal life during the Renaissance. Louis doesn’t recognize what he sees in Santiago until it is too late.

Viewers should expect Santiago to be bloodthirsty, vindictive, petty, and manipulative. Seductive and adequately gifted in telepathy to gather information from even the least willing, Santiago is still primitive enough to destroy anything he does not care to understand. He will prove how vampires should be as careful with scythes as they are with stakes. The venal thespian is also a master trickster. 

The Threat Santiago Poses

Santiago is in attendance when Armand introduces Louis and Claudia to the troupe, but exits to give them a final moment of privacy. As the two new vampires head out to their accommodations, Santiago catches the thread of Louis’ most pressing inner conflicts. The veteran mentalist of stage and scene picks up mental remnants about a vampire from Louis’ past. The bulk of season 2 will be about Santiago finding the truth to this story.

Interview with the Vampire season 1 closed with Lestat trapped inside a coffin, and Louis and Claudia on the lam. But Louis left Lestat alive, balking at the truth when confronted by Claudia. In the book, Santiago suspects the newly emigrated vampires killed their creator, and his suspicions become obsessions. Expect these conclusions to cast Louis and Claudia as potential outcasts in the international vampire community, who continue to nonchalantly break ancient rules.

Santiago is most dangerous because he reports to Armand, who says he “knew Lestat enough not to mourn him,” but finds himself duty bound to allow justice to be meted out by Santiago and the troupe. This will lead to what promises to be a major conflagration of a season closer.

If faithful to the book, the Interview with the Vampire season 2 finale will change Louis fundamentally. He will compound his already considerable underworld hanging offenses in a rage of grief, further distance himself from Lestat, and ultimately decide to give the interview revealing everything. 

Interview with the Vampire season 2 premieres on AMC and AMC+ on May 12.

The post Interview with the Vampire Season 2 Trailer Finally Reveals a Major Anne Rice Villain appeared first on Den of Geek.

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