Last year at Jensen’s meet and greet at Burcon, the unbelievable happened when I forgot to go to it. Yes, me. Forgot. Blame the Supernatural writers, who were such fascinating conversationalists that I totally forgot I was supposed to be somewhere else.
Believe it or not, I was almost tardy once again this year (though I can’t blame the writers again). Cue me frantically trying to figure out where the room is and then jogging over. I finally find it and compose myself, and am walking what I hoped was casually down the hallway to the room when someone comes up behind me and puts their hand on my shoulder and a deep voice says “I’m right behind you, Lynn!” Let’s just say I was already on edge, so I jumped a foot. It didn’t exactly calm me down that it was Jensen.
Me: I know, I know, I’m late again…
Jensen: Oh right, last year… [teasingly] So nice of you to join the party…
At least I didn’t actually miss any of it this time!
[The following is my recollection of a few bits of the meet and greet and not a transcript]
I was still in a 200th episode euphoria, and couldn’t wait to hear Jensen’s thoughts – and he didn’t disappoint. Jensen had a lot to say about the evolution of his thoughts on the episode. He was initially skeptical, wondering if they should “go there”. So skeptical that he went to talk to Jeremy Carver at his office for the first time. He asked if they really wanted to put into the show some of the things they’d kept out of it until now. They’d kept a division all this time [in other words, kept most of fanon separate from canon]. Did they want to take down that separation?
His conversation with Jeremy made him feel a little better, but not completely. Walking out of the writer’s office, he ran into 200th episode writer Robbie Thompson.
Robbie: What did you think of the script?
Jensen: I’m not sure…
Robbie, wise and intuitive man that he is, said “Come talk to me,” and the two sat down in a writer’s office. As they talked, Jensen said he understood it differently. He understood that they really wanted this to be a love letter to the fans and an homage to the fans, not just to the Show. To say “we see you, and we love you. We love all your creativity. We love that our Show has inspired such creativity. We’re all in this together.”
And he was totally on board with that.
Jensen: We’ve talked about this a lot, Lynn.
Me: We have.
It’s true. We’ve talked about fandom and creativity and interpretation – there are some great insights from Jensen, Jared and Misha in Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls. And I think I said almost exactly what Jensen said in my episode review last week, so yay!
Jensen: I was concerned that it would backfire, but once I understood that, I was on board.
Me: Having talked to Robbie a lot about fandom, I was pretty sure he would get it right, but I was still nervous too. It’s always a risk when a Show depicts its fans. But I loved it – it was perfect! My favorite episode of all time, I think.
Jensen: (smiling) I’m so glad. Jared and I also thought it was great.
In other words, Jared and Jensen are on the same page as fandom right now. And doesn’t it feel good?
Later that day, Jensen brought the 200th episode up again to me, saying that I’d surprised him by saying it was my favorite episode ever.
Jensen: That’s really saying something, coming from you.
Me: It is, but I mean it. It wasn’t just a good episode, it was an important one. And, you know, it’s what we write about, the reciprocal relationship between fans and the Show.
Jensen: (smiling and nodding) I know.
Me: (smiling too, perhaps even more broadly…okay, definitely more broadly) I know you know.
Fascinating conversationalist I can be when chatting with the likes of Mr. Ackles. But if you’ve read Fangasm, you’ve seen multiple examples of that. Alas.
Another fan asked where Dean’s story line is going this season, and Jensen said again that the mark on Dean’s arm is a big part of it. Someone asked whether the brothers would talk more about their epic differences of last season. You know, have an actual conversation and work things out?
Jensen said not really. He went on to say that the fact that the brothers haven’t talked through all their differences – that they’re just going to go forward – adds more layers to the characters.
Jensen: They’re macho men, and they’re going to go forward with this added baggage.
Me: (silently) Boys. Geez.
Jensen said he likes that there are layers and complexity to the Winchesters, though.
Jensen: I’m a fan of the storyline of Dean being more complex.
He stressed once again, though, that the brothers are together in trying to figure out how to get the mark off Dean’s arm.
Jensen: It’s the two of them together. The brothers are very much back together and me and Jared are happy about that. We often say that with the brothers, the sum of them is greater than the parts [Sam and Dean as individuals].
Me: (bouncing) Yes!
Jensen: I really like it when the brothers…
Jensen: (laughing) Not hug, I wouldn’t go that far. But when they’re fighting on the same side.
Everyone: (is nodding vehemently)
He also talked a bit about directing, saying that he started asking questions about logistics and things like that because it would make him a better actor. Kim Manners told him a long time ago that “you’ve got the eye” and a way of looking at those things, and that he would direct someday. At the time he just said “What? No.” But Kim put the idea in his head, and started him thinking about directing.
He mentioned Rowena and the people on the ceiling in the episode he directed this season, who we haven’t found out anything about yet. The actress came in to shoot for one day and then said “Okay, see you in a few months!”
Jensen: (beaming with pride, which was seriously adorable) I was really proud of that shot, the way they brought it around for the reveal.
Finally, a few family-related tidbits. Jensen told some adorable stories about JJ, who her mom has nicknamed “Jaybird”. Jared’s son, Tom, has a bit of a crush on her, since the Ackles and Padalecki kids play together all the time.
Jensen: Jared and I joke that JJ will have her choice of Tom and Shep, one older and one younger.
Fan: And if Jared has a daughter, that’s three choices.
Jensen: Sure, I’m fine with that!
I have a feeling little Princess Ackles is gonna have her pick of whoever strikes her fancy.
Jensen was rather proud that when another little boy came up to JJ and complimented her on her Halloween costume, she just tossed her head and turned away.
Jensen: And then Tom came up and punched him in the face. No, I’m kidding!
In other family-related talk, Jensen said his father was his biggest inspiration, and that his mother was equally inspirational. He said that both his dad (who Jared is close to also) and Jared’s dad (who Jensen is close to) still give them advice, even though they’re grown men.
SPN Family, y’all. Seriously, it’s for real in so many ways.
Another fan pointed out that he had said that he wasn’t going to do any singing at cons, but that he’s seemed to change his mind. She wondered why.
Jensen: Well, in Toronto, Jared was feeding me beers backstage…
More seriously, he said that there are so many familiar faces at cons, he feels comfortable, so he’s able to do more of those things.
Jensen: We feel comfortable with you guys. You know us, we know you, and that’s how we like it. We want that level of comfortability with our fans. And that’s what we have. We’re all in this together. We share this passion and love for this great Show, we’re fans of it too.
Fan: So, will you sing today?
Jensen: (laughing) I’ve learned never to make those kind of promises.
Wise man. Though he did join Louden Swain for a bit of “Lose Your Love” to close out the con, which has become a tradition. Here’s hoping that 2015 cons bring us a lot more Ackles singing!
Stay tuned for more photos and coverage of Burcon, including our chats with the delightful Joy Regullano, Maeve from ‘Fan Fiction’ and the equally delightful Curtis Armstrong, who is absolutely nothing like Metatron. Thankfully. It was wonderful to catch up with Robbie Thompson and Jenny Klein too, and to meet the vivacious Katie Sarife, who enjoyed karaoke almost as much as I did!
I had an amazing time and met so many wonderful fellow fans, many of whom came by the vendors room to tell me what reading Fangasm had meant to them. One fan jokingly asked, “Have you been reading my diary? This is my story!” Which, seriously, is the best compliment ever. Thanks to everyone who came by to say hi – and if you bought a copy of Fangasm or Fan Phenomena Supernatural at Burcon, don’t forget to let us know what you think!
For more insights from Jensen, Jared, Misha and the
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