New Jersey con holds a special place in my heart, simply because it’s the closest con to my hometown of Philly. That means I can actually drive there instead of flying, which makes being a vendor a bit easier. That also meant I could caption this con ‘Adventures in Vending’ because we definitely had some adventures – and some misadventures.
Being a Supernatural con vendor is like joining a tribe of frankly awesome people. For the SPN Creation cons, it’s mostly the same group of friendly, creative, resourceful folks at every convention – and because those cons happen a few times a month on average, the vendors get to know each other very well. They’re like a group of traveling carnies, moving their wares from one city to the next. They have each other’s backs just like the rest of the SPNFamily does, and I would trust any one of them if I was in a tight spot.
That doesn’t mean vending is easy. My friend Karen offered to help me out at NJCon, so we drove up together. The day before, the FedEx guy delivered my many many boxes of books, each of which weighs over 40 pounds. I bolted out the door as soon as he pulled up and asked what the policy was for leaving the books in my car instead of on my doorstep, and luckily the very nice FedEx man agreed. When Karen and I got in the car the next day, I swear it felt sort of like getting into a rocket ship – the boxes of books in the trunk and back seat made the front of the car point dangerously towards the sky.
With apologies to my poor overburdened Honda Civic, we started out, slowly making our way north to scenic Secaucus. The giant convention center had a back loading dock where we could unload the books, so we drove up there and asked where we could park to unload lots of boxes of books. The bored looking man waved us into a spot and said we could park there. Karen and I looked at the very long ramp across the lot where we would have to enter the convention center and exchanged a look of dismay. That was a steep ramp and a long way with forty pound boxes of books!
True to my always-frantically-busy-and-not-quite-prepared state, I hadn’t been able to find an actual hand cart but I’d brought along my green and white striped beach chair on wheels that doubles as a transport cart. You know, for taking your cooler to the beach or whatever. If it can transport a cooler, I thought, why not a box of books? So Karen and I heaved a box out of the trunk and onto the beach chair. The canvas sagged but didn’t break, so we counted that as a win. Then we began the trek up the long steep ramp. After a few minutes of struggling, we finally got up and into the convention center, wheeled the books and the chair down the hall and found our vendor table. One box down, ten to go!
I quickly realized this was going to take roughly forever at the same time as I realized there were some large wooden transport carts in the back of the convention center. I asked a security person if we could borrow one and thankfully he said yes. Karen and I joyfully wheeled the six foot heavy cart down the ramp, where it came dangerously close to getting away from us from the momentum and taking out the bored guy who’d told us where to park. Oops.
We loaded the cart up with five boxes of books, congratulating ourselves on our innovation, and then started pushing the cart up the ramp. Or trying to. As soon as we hit the incline, the cart decided it wanted to roll backwards instead of forwards – as in, OVER us. Screaming a little, we leaned into it with all our might and began pushing. Inch by inch, we pushed the cart up the ramp, praying that we wouldn’t lose the battle and be crushed by our own merchandise. We were both out of breath by the time we reached the top, but we made it. One more trip for the next five books, and we finally had our vendor table ready. We set up and then headed back out the way we came – only to find that the grumpy man who had made us park across the lot had just waved a van full of other vendor items (and two buff looking dudes about half our age) all the way UP the ramp! So they could just unload right there without having to worry about pushing 200 pounds of books and a 100 pound cart up the ramp! WTF???
Adventures in vending. Seriously.
I glared at the grumpy guy on our way out, but I don’t think he felt the full effect – or he just didn’t give a damn. Grrr.
Thursday night was for vending and meeting lots of people who had already read Family Don’t End With Blood and been touched by it. Thank you to everyone who came by to say that reading the chapters that Jared, Jensen, Misha and all the other actors wrote had made a real difference – or that some of the chapters written by fans had really resonated. I love knowing that the book has allowed people to feel validated, and has normalized the experiences of anxiety and self doubt and depression that we all struggle with from time to time, actors and fans alike.
The con itself kicked off on Friday morning with lots of guests scheduled for that day. This was an unusual con with both Richard Speight Jr. and Rob Benedict not there. Rob was filming a project and Richard was directing Supernatural, so we were of course happy for both of them – but we also missed them. They’re a fixture at the SPN cons, and we also just genuinely love them. So I wasn’t sure exactly how this con would go, but I did know we were in good hands with Jason Manns and all the ladies of SPN who were added to the schedule. Hence its twitter hashtag #WoManns con.
And let me tell you, they did not disappoint! There was an extra energy to this con that I think came from Jason and company’s determination to make the experience a great one despite the lack of Rich and Rob. Everyone brought their A game and it really showed.
Emily Swallow joined Jason on stage to kick off the con, and brought both her singing voice and her sense of humor.
Emily: People didn’t see me smile very much on Supernatural. Unless I was standing close to Jensen Ackles…
Ruth Connell was up next, with her giant bag of tricks – I mean, hotel toiletries – to give away to fans who came up to ask questions. We also did a rousing rendition of V Club Mega dance, if I don’t say so myself. Ruth was also signing and taking pictures in the vendor room to raise money for My Hope Chest, a charity which helps women who want breast reconstruction get it. Because boobs.
Ruth talked a bit about Rowena, which made me get a ltitle choked up because I SO want her back on SPN! She said she liked that Rowena was resourceful and able to save herself, but also reminded us that sometimes we need some help to be saved, and that’s okay.
If Rowena did come back, she’d come floating on a cloud surrounded by the men of Game of Thrones. I like the way you think, Ruth Connell.
Ruth also talked about how much her life has changed because of Supernatural, which is what she wrote about in her chapter of Family Don’t End With Blood.
Jason, wonderful host that he is, even helped Ruth pack up after her panel. Though he later tweeted that it sort of looks like he’s stealing from her, but no, he really was helping. Honest.
Emily Swallow was up next. Jason and the band started playing ‘Pretty Woman’ and then stopped to make sure that it was okay with her and didn’t feel objectifying. Emily said she was fine with it, but I found it really cool that Jason asked.
Ruth and Emily did a little reminiscing about working together on Supernatural, and how cold it was when they were filming (in of course what was very little wardrobe unlike the Winchesters’ flannels or Castiel’s ever present trench coat…) They would sing “holy f—king balls” because it was so cold on location.
They also told the story of Ruth cupping Emily’s boobs in the middle of a scene, as a sort of prank on the crew. It backfired when they had no reaction at all. When they asked why, the crew replied that they had wanted to be respectful of their “acting choices”. Gotta love the SPN crew.
And the cast too. Emily said that when she booked the guest role, she expected that such long-running leads would be tired and sort of phoning it in. She was shocked that Jared and Jensen were not like that at all.
Best part of being Amara?
Emily: besides kissing Dean? I mean, everyone wants to do that. Kiss Dean, that is. Not me.
(Pretty sure there would be a pretty long line for the latter too, actually…)
Emily said that besides Dean’s physical perfection, he was the only one who listened to Amara, which is part of why she was so fascinated by him. She also thought it was particularly lovely that Dean recognized what Chuck and Amara needed because of his close emotional bond with his own brother.
She also had lots of kudos for Misha Collins, both his acting and just who he is as a person. Always prepared, and just plain awesome (though he smells like peanut butter and sardine crackers…)
Emily: I love that as an actor, he’s up for anything. Even being Lucifer.
A fan asked that awkward question that no guest wants to answer: Sam or Dean?
Emily: Why do I have to choose? I can have it all…. In my head…
As you do, Emily. As you do.
Next up, we got a special treat – something that has never happened at a Supernatural convention before. We got SPNFamily photographer extraordinaire Chris Schmelke onstage to do a Q & A! I spoke to Chris before his panel and assured him that we were all very much looking forward to what he had to say – and he definitely didn’t disappoint. In addition to tips about photography, Chris spoke from his unique perspective as the person who often makes fans’ dreams come true at a con. He’s the one who takes the photo that someone will treasure, and he’s the one who puts a lot of time and energy and caring into making sure that photo captures the moment perfectly. I don’t even know how he does it, let alone so quickly, but he does. Perhaps it that Chris really gets it – we interviewed him for ‘Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls’ and he told us so many heartwarming stories about photo ops and fandom. Chris is a fanboy himself, so he gets it on multiple levels. And over a decade of conventions, he’s become a close friend of the cast, so they trust him in a way that could never happen otherwise. And all that is evident in every photo.
Chris: There’s an unwritten rule in photo ops that you’re not judged, it’s your moment.
Chris does other conventions for Creation too, of course, so he also has a unique perspective on the Supernatural cast and how special they truly are.
Chris: There’s no cast like this one.
Chris and I were both there at that very first Creation Supernatural con way back in 2007.
Chris: From that first con in 2007, Lynn was there too, and we knew this was special. It won’t happen like this again.
That’s pretty much what I’ve been writing books about ever since. And I’ve been honored to get to know Chris throughout this wild and crazy journey we’ve been on for a decade – and so grateful that he’s the one to whom we entrust our precious photo moments.
Chris: When my mom passed away, people said don’t go to the con, be with family. I said, this is family.
I might have had something in my eye at that moment.
Chris is working on a book of his photos and I cannot wait. You can also see some of his gorgeous photos of the Supernatural actors in Family Don’t End With Blood!
Next up was another first time con guest, the wonderful and talented Shoshannah Stern. Jason Manns once again proved himself the consummate considerate host, organizing everyone to sign applause for Shoshanna.
She stepped onstage and almost fell backwards, she was so overcome by everyone standing up and signing their enthusiastic clapping. It was a moment – an SPNFamily moment.
I’ve interviewed Shoshannah here on Fangasm before (check that out!) but didn’t realize that she first met Jason at a party at Jensen’s house a decade ago! So this was a nice reunion. Oh, and for some reason she told Jensen then (at the time he was considering living alone instead of with roommates like he had been) that: If you live alone, you can cook naked!
That image distracted me for a moment, gotta say….
Shoshannah was both inspiring and funny, and a natural onstage. And props to her interpreter, who also rocked. She talked about the importance of representation, and how powerful it was for her to see authentic representation on screen for the first time for her at age 14 on My So Called Life.
The character of Eileen, Shoshannah said, is the closest she’s ever played to herself. Supernatural has been very special to her – in fact, like all the actors who wrote chapters in Family Don’t End With Blood, she said the show has changed her life.
Fan: How does it feel to know that you are now that important representation for other people?
Shoshannah: (visibly emotional) I’m honored. And thankful.
She also shared some behind the scenes amusing moments, like the filming of the scene where she cuts Jared’s hand in Into The Mystic took about 20 takes.
Shoshannah: I don’t think Jared liked all that stuff all over him…
Shoshannah and I also agree about an important topic – Robbie Thompson, former writer for Supernatural. Who we miss terribly.
Shoshannah: The reason people connected so much with Eileen is how Robbie wrote her. We need more Robbies!
DAMN RIGHT WE DO! (See my interview with Robbie here on Fangasm for more.)
And while she was of course sad about Eileen being killed, Shoshannah was also grateful for the experience of playing her.
Shoshannah: If I made people care about the character in two episodes, then I’m grateful. They only kill characters they care about.
Well Shoshannah, there a lot of us who do care about Eileen – and still hope that she’ll be back in some capacity one day!
Kudos to the SPNFamily for the excellent questions for Shoshannah, and props to the many fans who stepped up to the mic and signed their questions.
We also got a Jason Manns panel on Friday in addition to Jason’s hosting duties.
Jason: Good news is, I’m not nervous. Bad news is, I already told all my jokes.
That was actually an A+ joke right there, Mr. Manns!
It was Jason’s birthday on Saturday, so we got to celebrate all weekend, starting with his panel. We also were treated to some of his beautiful voice. Being a singer wasn’t always what he wanted to do, surprisingly.
Jason: I did a lot of things. Then 5 or 6 years ago I looked around and thought, Damn. I’m a musician!
For a guy who was afraid he’d exhausted all his jokes, Jason managed to be quite amusing. Especially when he was trying to push his glasses up without taking his hands off his guitar…
Then we had a panel from Rachel Miner – let’s just say that this was a very inspiring day! We got to congratulate her on her new role as Executive Director of Random Acts, which she is very excited about.
Rachel loved her character Meg, and says that if she was still alive, Meg and Cas would have had more fun together. Probably the hooking up kind. She has the same affection for Castiel that a lot of fans do – much like Spock, another of her favorite characters (and mine), Cas is also one of those characters who make it okay to be different. And she has the same appreciation for Misha that most of us do too.
Rachel: He has such a big heart.
(And if she could steal one thing from set, it would be Misha!)
She also hopes that there’s some redemption for Meg, who despite her bad decisions, was unfailingly loyal.
Rachel: I like to imagine Meg and Cas traveling the world, trying to be human.
I also love Rachel’s own fannishness and understanding of fandom. To a fan who’s writing fic about Meg, Rachel said: This whole universe is alive because of your creativity.
Rachel is another Supernatural actor who wrote an amazing, inspiring chapter in Family Don’t End With Blood. This show and this fandom, she says, saved her life.
Rachel: I knew this was special, because when I said I had to stop doing cons because I couldn’t way, you guys said NO.
Damn. Something in my eye again.
And Friday still was not finished – Creation really pulled out the stops for Friday People at this con! Next we had the dynamic duo of Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster. They are about to film the pilot episode for #WaywardSisters as I type this, right after the Toronto con, but already in NJ the excitement and anticipation were ramping up.
Briana: What I hope for #Wayward is six female characters who are not cookie cutter, not always strong, not always kind, not always in a relationship with a man.
And that looks like exactly what we’re gonna get!
Kim: We want #Wayward to be inclusive and widely representative. But to run adjacent to Supernatural, not instead of it.
Fan to Briana and Kim about the new possible series: You did this.
Briana: No. YOU did this!
Where should #Wayward go?
Kim: Let’s just say it. It’s time for Jody and Donna to shack up.
Me: I’d watch that Show. Just sayin.
They’d also like to bring back all their friends who have been killed off on Supernatural, which I am also 100% down for.
Kim also talked about the documentary film I was honored to be a writer and co-producer for, Squee! The Fangirl Project. Both Kim and Briana appear in the film, which celebrates being a fangirl and all that means.
Kim: Fangirling is something to be fucking proud of! One of the things I’m “allowed” to do as a girl is to FEEL BIG FUCKING FEELINGS!
That’s what she wrote about in her chapter of Family Don’t End With Blood too. Preach, Kim!
Kim: This fandom has helped me rewrite my story.
There were a bunch of Kiss, Marry, Kill questions, or more X rated variations therof, at this con. In response to the Fuck, Marry, Kill version with Dean, Sam and Cas…
Kim: Marry Sam, fuck Dean, and haha Cas is unkillable!
Briana: Sometimes I wanna kill all of them…but fuck and marry them first.
Damn, those are good answers.
At the end of their panel, we were introduced to some of the participants in New Leash USA who have been helped by the charity campaign that Kim and Briana and Stands recently ran. Both former inmate Kevin and his beautiful dog Rosie were inspiring, along with another former inmate and his dog, who was a bit shy. And that is how to change your story – with the help of fandom.
I fell asleep before I could get to karaoke after running back and forth through the cavernous convention center all day trying to sell books at the vendor table and then cover all the panels with live tweeting and photos. I was profoundly exhausted, but bummed to miss what sounded like an epic karaoke.
Saturday came early though, back to the vendors room by 9 am. A few hours later, Jason and Emily kicked off Day 2. It was Jason’s actual birthday, so Emily strung up a Happy Birthday sign on the dead trees that always grace the stage. Best use of the dead trees ever!
Jake Abel, Adam Winchester himself, was the first Saturday guest. Jake also had a unique take on the Kiss, Marry, Kill question (yes, he got the PG rated version…)
Jake: I’d kiss Jensen, marry Jared….and then kill myself, because after that what could ever really compare? You can’t top that!
There were a bunch of prank questions too (therefore some inebriated fans watching from home…) – Jake told the story of when he was trapped in a booth with Jared during a scene and Jared casually lifted his leg and farted, then announced proudly: “I’m Fartacus!”
He also had a distinctly non-PG answer to what seemed at first like an innocent question.
Fan: Who’s your favorite angel?
Jake: (ponders) (hesitates) I just had such a dirty thought…
Literally everyone: WHAT???
Jake: (thinks oh what the hell) Well, I mean one angel already came inside me, so I guess Michael…
When he found out that Supernatural was doing a Scooby Doo episode this season, Jake couldn’t stop grinning.
Jake: That’s why I love this show!
What’s it like working with this cast?
Jake: It’s singularly special. In what other show are the two leads best friends in real life and live next to each other and their kids play together? That never happens.
Matt Cohen was up next – it was very weird for him to be onstage without Rob and Rich.
Matt: It’s so weird being up here without Rich and Rob making fun of each other.
But Matt can totally hold his own doing a solo panel. In fact, he had me laughing out loud repeatedly. His panel kicked off with a piñata for Jason’s birthday. For some reason that made no sense, instead of Jason (who was going to swing at the piñata) wearing the blindfold, Matt put on the blindfold. And then climbed up on a chair and held out the birthday cake shaped piñata. This prompted Jason and Emily to sneak backstage and leave Matt standing on a chair, trying to figure out if Jason was swinging and just the worst batter in the world of what. It was absolutely hilarious, even if I did feel bad for Matt standing up there going “What’s happening??”
Finally they managed to whack the piñata apart, candy flying all over the place and all over the stage. (Sorry, Liz…)
I can’t remember what prompted it, but Matt also summarized 50 Shades of Grey, and responded to a fan’s question about who his character on General Hospital should be hooking up with by advising “there’s a place for that and it’s called slash fiction, so go!” Presumably the fan went right out to start reading. Or writing.
Fan: If your character on GH was on SPN what would happen?
Matt: He’d be shirtless.
And while Matt said he’d like to kiss Channing Tatum, he also had some warm thoughts about Jensen’s lips.
Matt: I need to go to man crush rehab. 13 seasons of watching Jensen and those sexy-ass lips and that Batman voice…
Matt also wrote an inspiring chapter in Family Don’t End With Blood about how the SPNFamily changed his life. When asked about who he would want to come save him if he was stranded on a deserted island, he said not the authorities.
Matt: I’d trust the SPNFamily to rescue me. You’d come in a giant Impala boat. With pie.
Mark Sheppard was up next. Every time he takes the stage I think about the fact that he won’t be at these cons much longer, and have a lump in my throat. One of the things I love about Mark is that he hates question vetting.
Mark: You can ask me anything you want. I just don’t have to answer.
Fan at the microphone: I look up to you.
Mark: You have to, I’m on a stage!
Seriously, I will so miss this.
Mark shared that when he was 7, he also played the archangel Gabriel in a school play.
Mark: I was impressed with myself. As everyone who plays him is.
His daughter Isabella is a big Bert and Ernie fan. Except she calls them Bert and Bert.
Mark: Adding further confusion to the ‘are they gay or not?’
He also told some stories from working on Leverage, including an epic fight scene with Christian Kane. It was so epic, they digitized a tooth flying out of his mouth when he got hit!
Someone asked why Crowley didn’t get to have a love interest, and Mark quickly disagreed.
Mark: Crowley does have a love interest. Himself. Or Dean.
Mark, I am so going to miss you!!!
I mean, look at this Crowley Cas cuddle…
Next up was the Team Naughty Pants panel – Briana Buckmaster, Ruth Connell, Alaina Huffman, Kim Rhodes and Emily Swallow all on one stage! The came out decked out in birthday gear for Jason, blowing bubbles and streamers and silly string and generally celebrating the occasion.
This panel was fucking awesome.
Briana: If you wanted the panel with the sweet girls who don’t swear or talk about sex onstage, you’re watching the wrong fucking show.
Fan: First impressions of the boys?
Ruth and Emily: Jump off their chairs to do Jensen Ackles’ bowlegs impressions
Weird things fans say to you?
Kim: I’m so weird myself, I’m just like oh, you’re my people.
The entire panel confided that they’d like to switch places with Amara. To kiss Dean.
Ruth: Working with Jared and Jensen is like looking at the sun…
Alaina when people ask which J is her favorite: Why choose just one?
There was a lot of talk of kissing, in fact. And also Briana and Kim re-enacting that moment in Kings of Con where Kim was supposed to bite Rob Benedict’s lip and ended up like “Gimme your fucking lip!”
Briana shared some behind the scenes moments. When Donna was in the back seat with the boys in the front seat, Jensen said to her “I’ll cue you and then you pop up from the back seat.”
Briana: I popped up and then said, ‘who’s next?’ Jared totally lost it.
Fan: What would you have Jensen and Jared wear if you were in charge of wardrobe?
Everyone on the panel: NOTHING.
Ruth: Though I might make Jared wear heels…
There were a bunch of prank questions, but then Kim answered more seriously.
Kim: Jared and Jensen earn the pranks they play because they spend so much time working hard to make things easier for everyone else on set and to make the scene better.
And somehow the panel ended with Matt Cohen being sprayed with Silly String by Emily while dancing. As you do.
Have I mentioned this con was epic? Next up was Misha Collins – except the Collins who came out onstage was his brother, Sasha. At first some people were understandably confused, which is of course exactly what they were going for. Then the brothers Collins did the most amazing onstage act I think I’ve ever seen at a con – Sasha laid on the floor, Misha (with total grace and ease) climbed up onto his raised feet, and then Matt Cohen managed to join the human pyramid, with support from Chris Schmelke and Jason Manns. It was a real spectacle to behold athletically, but it was also a testament to the trust that these guys all have in each other – to literally have each other’s backs.
Also Billy Moran being 100% pleased by all this was adorable.
Misha then did an actual panel, in which he talked about being with Vicki for 27 years (awwww).
He’s enjoying having the ‘new guy’ Alex Calvert on set.
Misha: Watching Jared and Jensen torment the new guy was such a relief, I couldn’t help but join in!
In fact it got so bad that director Nina Lopez-Corrado was like, “Jared, Jensen, Misha – go home!”
He also reminisced about the early origins of the Saturday Night Special, which started out as the world’s most awkward cocktail party (read about it in Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls if you haven’t already!) and then morphed into a Misha-helmed talent show. Which included a trick dog who was just a finalist on America’s Got Talent!
About the photo he posted of him in a new suit?
Misha: Apparently I wasn’t supposed to post that. So I didn’t post it. That’s not me. That’s CGI. I’m deleting it.
Fandom: Right. Got it. Nobody saved it. No worries. Really.
I needed to grab for the tissues during Misha’s panel as he talked about his son West’s birthday (he turned seven that day) and how Misha arranged a treasure hunt. West wanted to give the rest of his ‘treasure’ to some homeless people. Misha teared up while telling the story, and I’m pretty sure most of the audience did too. Clearly he’s set a great example for his kids – and for all of us.
The cast was in rare form at this con. When a fan asked who Cas would want to bodyswap with…
Misha: Maybe the Impala. I’ve always wanted Sam and Dean to ride me.
BOOM. And later…
Misha: We need that scene where Cas walks in on two people copulating… (beat) And he’s like, ‘Dean. Sam. Time to go.’
Okay, we have several fanfic options covered here….
I love that Misha can still surprise me at a panel.
And that was it for Saturday panels – which meant time to grab a quick bite to eat and then head down to the Saturday Night Special! I don’t think we’ve ever had one without both Rich and Rob, so we all knew it would be different, but by this point we also all knew that this cast would pull off a great evening. And they did! Everyone brought their A game and then some.
Louden Swain even switched it up, with Billy Moran on drums, Stephen Norton on guitar, and Mike Borja the lead singer!
Kim and Jason sang ‘Eskimo’ and ‘Way Down Below’ and Matt Cohen sang ‘7 Nation Army’ and did lead vocals for his favorite song ever, ‘Mama’s Jam’.
Jensen Ackles sang The Weight with Jake Able and Billy Moran and Jason Manns.
Then he and Jake had a mock disagreement about who got to sing next (Ackles has the best comedic ideas, I swear – they did rock paper scissors to decide!)
Of course Jensen lost, so Jake sang first. Always with the scissors, Jensen!
Then Jensen took the stage again for another two songs!
‘Brother’ is my absolute favorite song for Jensen to sing, so I was beside myself when that one began.
Jensen: For my brother who isn’t here.
The third song he sang in honor of Rob, so of course that was ‘Fare Thee Well’.
Me: More tissues!
Ruthie Connell was reluctant to follow Mr. Ackles, but her rendition of ‘Bang Bang’ was gorgeous, as was the duet with Rob on ‘Cool If I Come Over’.
Briana Buckmaster sang ‘Wave’ and sings Lady GaGa I swear as well as GaGa herself.
Emily Swallow sang some Florence and the Machine and then rocked out with the Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter.
The encore, fittingly, was ‘Come Together’, the entire cast all singing and dancing together and celebrating a kickass SNS with Alaina Huffman joining in too.
Almost everything about this con was unusual – including the Gold Panel on Sunday morning, which had not just Jared and Jensen but the third J, Jeffrey Dean Morgan!
The three of them talked a lot about the show and their characters, which JDM is still so much a part of even though he’s been off the show for a long long time.
Jensen: Until that last scene with Mary, I thought that what Dean wanted most would be his dad.
Jensen has talked about how that was confusing for him, until he realized that Dean needed to forgive his mother more than anything. We’ll see how that continues to play out in Season 13, but suffice it to say that Dean still wants his dad back. And JDM seems to want to come back. Now if only we could get The Walking Dead and Supernatural to strike a deal!
Jared: it would nice to have Jeffrey back. When AMC fires him…
JDM: How awesome would it be come back? I might be a better dad now.
He could totally do it simultaneously with TWD. After all, when he was on Supernatural before he was also shooting other shows. In fact, he was so exhausted most of the time that Jensen and Jared would put post it notes on their foreheads with Jeffrey’s lines so he could just read them. Awwww.
JDM: I have 12 pages of dialogue tomorrow. Spoiler alert, Negan is alive!
A fan congratulated JDM on expecting a new baby, and he grinned.
JDM: It all still works!
Pretty sure nobody was doubting that.
Jensen said that in the first season he thought Dean would try to sound like his dad, so he dropped his voice lower. So we have JDM to thank for the ‘Dean voice’.
Jared: And then Sam was like the Soprano of the group!
They all had a great time, including talking about music on the show. Jared said for the last episode he thinks they should use the Doors’ ‘The End’. Jensen said that when they were finally allowed to use Metallica at Comic Con they were all so excited, like OMG Metallica knows the show!
JDM: Supernatural has the best music of any show.
Sunday afternoon was messier than the cons usually are. Samantha Smith came onstage to do what was supposed to be a short panel, and then she would be joined by JDM. Which would be pretty cool. I mean, Mama and Papa Winchester! But instead Samantha just ended up doing a long panel by herself, while JDM tried frantically to sign all the autographs that had been purchased while also knowing he had a plane to catch imminently.
Sam was a trooper, carrying on with question after question so Jeffrey could keep signing. Turns out she’s a Jersey girl, lover of Bon Jovi and formerly a big hair person. And a self professed geek and lover of Tolkien and sci fi.
She brought all the other ladies a ‘Hear Me Roar’ shirt which everyone wore at some point – gotta love the solidarity of this cast and what good friends they all are.
There were a lot of questions about Mary (a character I have struggled with quite a bit).
Sam: Mary was a “really nice mommy” for four seasons, but I thought it was awesome to learn she was a hunter. Mary back from the dead is “not so much about the cookies.”
Someone asked about the lack of scenes between Mary and Sam in the last season. Samantha said she assumes those moments happened off screen. But I wanted to see them, Show!
She says there’s “room for growth” now between Mary and her boys, if she makes it out of the AU.
When asked what her first impression of Jared and Jensen was back in Season 1, Samantha said: How nice they were. And they haven’t changed.
Eventually Jensen joined his ‘mom’ onstage to explain that JDM was still signing autographs, so his panel wasn’t going to happen, which was super disappointing. But also kind of impressive, because JDM was walking the auto line to be sure he didn’t disappoint anyone.
Sam Smith carried on until a surprise Misha Collins took the stage, everyone stepping up to try to fill in for Jeffrey.
Misha, looking out into the crowd: Wow there’s a lot of people here on Sunday!
Fan: Do you think Cas is in The Empty?
Misha (biting his lip) This is awkward because I actually know where Cas is but I can’t say…
Which pretty much answered the question lol.
Other fan: Is Cas chilling with Gabriel?
Misha: In a weird weird way, you’re right…
Misha said that his favorite photo op pose is when in J2 sandwich ops, someone asks Jared to squeeze them as hard as he can, ie the squishy hug.
Misha: And I just see this gleam in Jared’s eyes, like ‘I love to break ribs…’
Having been immersed in one of those J2 squishy hugs, I have to say that Misha is entirely correct. OUCH.
Fan: If Cas could be on any other show, what would it be?
Someone yelling from the back of the auditorium: The Walking Dead!
And then surprise JDM (that someone) took the stage after all, for a mini panel.
JDM: It sucks that I have to catch a plane, but the last eight hours have been awesome. The SPNFamily is something special. No shows last 13 years. That’s a testament to those boys and to you guys.
He was apparently a bit worried about what he and Sam Smith would talk about in their panel.
JDM: She was burning on the ceiling. That’s our whole relationship.
He agreed with all of us when he said that he thinks that John, Sam and Dean need to have closure – so he would like to return before it ends.
JDM: I think Sam and Dean deserve closure, and you guys deserve closure.
You can tell that the character of John really meant something to Jeffrey. He said that he played John as a good father who died for his kids. After Mary left, he kinda went crazy, but JDM would like him to come back and fix things with the boys. He noted that there have been a lot of different writers on the show.
JDM: I will stand by it to my grave. John Winchester loves his boys.
A fan asked why John cheated on Mary if he loved her so much, and JDM was a bit scandalized. He didn’t’ have to answer though, the audience began protesting that he didn’t cheat, that Mary was already dead when he met Adam’s mother.
JDM: Got that?
The most adorable part of the panel was when Jeffrey accidentally blurted out that they are having a girl. I tweeted a photo of him covering his face in dismay, and somehow it got picked up by every online news magazine out there. (Jeffrey had posted it on his Instagram with a message thanking whoever took the picture for being part of a special moment). Of course nobody knows I took that photo, but it was still really cool to see it in all the headlines. My one moment of fame and I ended up anonymous!
But that’s okay, JDM liked it.
Jared and Jensen took the stage next – when JDM walked by, Jensen asked, “Was that…?”
Jared: A walk by fathering!
For some reason Jared ended up at first in a chair all the way in the corner of the stage, but Jensen was having none of it. He walked over and dragged the chair onto center stage next to his own.
Jensen: Nobody puts Baby in a corner.
That leads right into both of them giving a shout out to the episode ‘Baby’ as one of their favorites to film. Kudos Robbie Thompson!
Jared said he also had fun filming Ghostfacers. Though he loves The French Mistake, that one was more anxiety provoking to him. The comedy in it made him anxious. (But damn Jared, you nailed it – that bad acting scene KILLS me every time).
Jensen said the twins are crawling now, which is not good since Zeppelin keeps crawling into the fireplace. They both checked in with their wives while eating lunch – who are at the zoo together with all the kids. More awwww.
I don’t recall the context, but at one point Jared was telling a story of meeting a fan “in the wild” and Jensen started doing a voice over, “The Padalecki in the wild…”
Fan: What’s your weirdest experience with fans?
Jared: Looks at Jensen.
Jensen: Looks to the nobody on his left.
(Pretty sure they hate this question as much as I do…)
Jensen told a cute story about the barista at Starbucks last night losing it in excitement and exclaiming again and again NO NO WAY MAN, YO YO NO WAY!
Which, frankly, I find entirely understandable.
Jared once saw a scary looking guy eyeing him in a bar, and thought he was gonna get punched. Then the guy leaned in and whispered “Hey man, were you on Gilmore Girls?”
So instead of outing any fans as weird, they both shared a really nice moment with a fan who didn’t happen to be their customary female fan either. These guys, I swear.
The Gishwhes Skittles story was also mentioned, which never fails to make me laugh.
Jensen: There was a large portrait of my face made out of taste the rainbow.
About the Impala:
Jensen: If that Impala had never been created, neither would Sam and Dean… That backseat’s got stories…
The boys then shared a whispered comment that was clearly dirtier than what they’d already said, both hanging their heads after to laugh. Oh, to hear those whispers…
A fan asked what character Jensen would play on Gilmore Girls, and he finally came up with “Suki”. Then “Rory.”
The crowd laughed.
Jensen: Oh wait, is that a girl? Does she make out with this one? (pointing at Jared)
When everyone yelled yes, Jensen shrugged.
Jensen: The ratings would be over the top. We’d still be on.
He’s got a point there.
Both Jared and Jensen had some warm things to say about the fandom – both of the chapters they wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood are about their gratitude and appreciation for how the SPNFamily has changed them.
Jared: We’ve had the privilege to see the amazing things this SPNFamily can do.
Jensen: It’s not hard to get motivated if you look around. This, you guys. You’re fuel for us.
Back at ya, boys.
Jason came onstage to announce the last question, and that was the end of an excellent panel.
Alaina Huffman closed out NJCon. She talked a bit about the two people missing, Rob and Rich, and about the great opportunities that came with Kings of Con.
Alaina: The cool part of KoC is that Rob and Rich have creative control. They can play to people’s strengths.
They definitely did that!
She said she loved that her character, Abbadon, was powerful.
Alaina: When I was playing her, I even carried myself differently. I got hit on more!
Alaina also told the hysterical story of walking down the hallway at a convention and seeing all these girls sobbing and comforting each other. She wondered what terrible thing had happened until she realized that Jensen had been walking right in front of her.
Alaina to Jensen: I just walked in your wake.
She also talked about the genuine friendships formed on the con circuit – both for fans and for cast – and how that has helped the show have the longevity that it does.
That was a nice note on which to end a con that was all about the cast helping each other – stepping up to the plate and giving it their all to fill in for the missing Rob and Rich, or when JDM had to catch a plane, or whatever was needed.
I’m looking forward to seeing Rich and Rob back at Torcon this weekend, but Jason Manns and friends did a wonderful job at NJCon – it was different, but very special.
To read all the actors’ chapters in Family
Don’t End With Blood, click the links on