How Interview With The Vampire Sets Up Armand For Season 2

When the casting news for AMC's "Interview with the Vampire" started rolling in last year, the series was upfront about who would be playing the main roles of Lestat and Louis. Sam Reid was first announced as Lestat, the role Tom Cruise made famous in the feature film adaptation of Anne Rice's novel. Soon after, "Game of Thrones" alum Jacob Anderson made headlines for his casting as Louis, the role that helped put Brad Pitt on the map back in 1994.

Months later, we heard that Bailey Bass and Eric Bogosian had been cast as the new TV versions of Claudia and Daniel Molloy, the movie characters played by a young Kirsten Dunst and Christian Slater, respectively. One major outlier, however, for "Interview with the Vampire" casting was the vampire Armand, originally brought to life onscreen by Antonio Banderas.

As executive producer Rolin Jones notes on the post-credits "Episode Insider" segment for the streaming season 1 finale, Armand is a "major player" in the story that will continue to unfold in "Interview with the Vampire" season 2 (or "Part 2," since the finale retroactively labels this season "Part 1.") He's the subject of his own Rice novel and even inspired the character Gullermo's desire to be a vampire on FX's "What We Do in the Shadows."

Anyone who's read "Interview with the Vampire" or seen the movie will know this season has just focused on the New Orleans half of the story with Lestat, before Louis and Claudia head to the Old World in search of other vampires. With the finale, we now have a better idea of how the series will be approaching Armand in Paris.

Warning: from here on out, there are major spoilers for the season 1 finale of "Interview with the Vampire," now streaming on AMC+.

'You've only heard half of the story'

After a big bloodbath and the breakup of Louis, Lestat, and Claudia's dysfunctional vampire family, the "Interview with the Vampire" season 1 finale ends with the reveal that Armand has been hiding in plain sight all along. Earlier this year, we reported that Assad Zaman had been cast as a seemingly minor new character, Rashid, who would be "Louis' companion in present day" in "Interview with the Vampire." All throughout season 1, Rashid, the apparent human familiar, has lingered in the background as Louis related his story to Daniel in Dubai.

The penultimate episode, however, threw Rashid's true nature into question, as Daniel found himself nodding off on the couch and flashing back to his first meeting with Louis in San Francisco in the 1970s. In keeping with the idea that this series is a "do-over" of Daniel's first interview with Louis, that episode even used a bit of footage from the 1994 film, where the camera glides in over the Port of San Francisco sign.

In his flashback dream, Daniel suddenly recalls that Rashid was there at the bar with Louis, and he looked the same then as he does now (unlike Daniel himself, who has aged into Anthony Bourdain). He's suspicious of Rashid as the finale begins, and keeps an eye on him throughout the episode, observing how he's able to stand in the window and remain unaffected by sunlight.

We've seen Louis drinking from Rashid's neck, but it didn't leave Rashid staggering out of the room the way it did with Louis's other human blood donor. As Daniel confronts Louis about him failing to make an "honest reckoning" with himself again like in their first interview, Rashid comes to Louis's defense, saying, "You've only heard half of the story."

'The love of my life'

"Interview with the Vampire" has already made significant departures from the book and movie, and this continues as Rashid removes his contact lenses and reveals himself as a 514-year-old vampire who can levitate. "As we age, the sun loses its power over us," he explains. Though Rashid has been masquerading as Louis's familiar, he speaks as if he's the one in charge, saying, "Louis can sometimes act out. I protect him from himself. Always have."

Even when Louis takes Rashid by the hand and reintroduces him as Armand, the love of his life, Rashid/Armand is still seen hovering a whole head above Louis, as if to visually reinforce the idea that there's a power imbalance in their relationship. Here again, Louis would appear to be caught up in a relationship with a controlling older vampire who can fly. Lestat used "the cloud gift" against him, flying him up above earth, dropping him from a great height, and leaving him severely injured, bearing the telltale scars of an abusive relationship.

Seeing Louis with Armand, we're left questioning if he's really escaped the cycle of abuse and manipulation that he was in with Lestat, or simply traded one "love" of that nature for another. We also know from the book and movie that Armand has a hand in Claudia's fate, which drives a wedge between him and Louis. Here, they're still somehow together after Paris, and that adds another layer of uneasiness to the situation.

In the "Episode Insider," Jones said, "There is a story that has been told to Louis, that maybe Louis has told to himself, that maybe Armand has told to him, too." He said they wanted the season 1 finale to have the same slightly unsettling effect as the ending of "The Graduate."

The next Lestat?

In the "Interview with the Vampire" season 1 finale, we see a scrapbook devoted to the Theatre des Vampires. The series establishes that Lestat can exert mind control over people, and it's possible a vampire as old and powerful as Armand (who used to lead an entire malicious coven in that theater), could be doing the same thing to Louis. Daniel also notices that more pages have been neatly removed from Claudia's diary, as if by a ruler, in contrast to the other pages Louis messily ripped out, dealing with her implied sexual assault.

Chances are, this was Armand's doing. In season 2, Armand looks to be the next Lestat, another vampire who will be at cross-purposes with Claudia while seeking to keep Louis under his thumb.

While they never meet in the film, Lestat and Armand do cross paths in the "Interview with the Vampire" book and "Queen of the Damned" movie. They also both headline their own novels, beginning with "The Vampire Lestat" and "The Vampire Armand," which are part of Rice's "The Vampire Chronicles" series. AMC scooped up the rights to "The Vampire Chronicles" along with "The Lives of the Mayfair Witches" series and three crossover books in 2020, and it has already debuted the trailer for "Mayfair Witches," billing it as "the next series from Anne Rice's Immortal Universe."

"Mayfair Witches" is set to premiere on January 8, 2023. While "Interview with the Vampire: Part 2" doesn't have a premiere date yet, the Immortal Universe is already off to a better start than Universal's equally vampire-friendly but ill-fated Dark Universe. It's not a stretch to imagine we'll be seeing much more of Armand after this, not only in "Interview with the Vampire: Part 2" but in other subsequent miniseries based on Rice's novels.