The last con of 2017 was once again in San Francisco. It was an emotional con for me, because exactly one year ago, as I was attending this same convention, I got the news that my dad had unexpectedly passed away. I remember being in shock, only telling a few of my closest friends there – but word got around. My friends from Creation made sure I was okay, even walking me to my seat. My fellow fans checked on me all weekend long. And word got out to the cast too, who were incredibly kind. I remember Matt Cohen jumping off the stage in the middle of the Saturday Night Special, enfolding me in a hug and telling me how sorry he was for my loss; Jared and Jensen hugging me for a long time, asking me what I needed. Everyone was just so very kind – fandom and the SPNFamily at its best.
This year, the anniversary brought all that back. I was touched that many people remembered it had been a year, and didn’t hesitate to bring it up. Cons can be therapeutic for a lot of reasons, and this one definitely was. There’s nothing quite like being enfolded in your SPNFamily when you’re feeling emotional, for whatever reason.
It was also Mark Sheppard’s last convention with Creation. He’s been to just about all of them since he started on the show, so it’s just been a given that I’ll see him whenever I’m there. I’ve come to expect that Jared, Jensen, Misha and Mark will of course be there, every single time. Mark will be snarky and will answer one in five questions but will melt every time there’s a baby in the audience, and will suddenly get very real and give a heartfelt testimony about why he loves fandom before he leaves the stage. I don’t like change – I love Mark’s panels. I was tremendously honored that he wrote an essay for Family Don’t End With Blood, with many of those same heartfelt words about his love of fandom. I was lucky enough to spend a bit of time in the green room with him and other cast a few times, and was able to get to know him and his lovely wife Sarah a bit. It’s weird to think he won’t be there again.
Because this fandom can always be counted on to be awesome, Mark’s last con didn’t go unrecognized – just like Alex Calvert’s first con didn’t either. There were signs for all of us to hold up with the line Mark had wanted to say in his last episode, that inexplicably got cut. ‘Even when I lose, I win’ on red signs were held high all over the ballroom when Mark took the stage, and he was clearly moved. He pulled out his phone and started filming, and from where I was sitting, I could tell how much it meant to him. As the panel progressed, Mark was more serious than usual, and there were several times that I could see his eyes were glistening. Or maybe that was mine; it got hard to tell. I didn’t expect to be as emotional as I was, but when Mark left the stage I had already grabbed for the tissues several times. Thank you, Mark, for the amazing job you did bringing Crowley to life, for being a fan yourself and for loving fandom the way you do, and for being a part of Family Don’t End With Blood.
Those were the very emotional parts of this con – there were also parts that were purely fun. (Isn’t that always the case with cons? Half strong emotional reaction and half laughing until I’m needing a tissue for an entirely different reason).
Friday kicked off with Gil McKinney, who said he’d love to come back to Supernatural as Henry – especially if he got to work with Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Gil: Or Matt Cohen! He’d definitely do. I relate to Matt, we’re both Winchesters.
Gil said that from the moment he set foot on the set, Jared and Jensen made him feel like part of the team. (Even if they do have a little too much fun with the pranks!) Especially that time the boys decided to take him for a spin in the Impala and Jensen floored it and did a 180. Gil didn’t realize that the street was blocked off and was convinced they were all about to bite it.
Jared sat in the back giggling.
Jensen: Need some new shorts?
He also talked about the music career he rediscovered when he became part of the SPNFamily.
Gil: No matter where the music thing goes, I won’t forget that it started right here with you guys.
It’s what he wrote about in his chapter of Family Don’t End With Blood. Now he’s got a chart topping CD under his belt and is also on Jason Manns’ new Recovering With Friends CD.
Jake Abel returned to the cons at San Francisco, immediately confessing that he’s pretty sure he wore the exact same outfit to the last con he appeared at. At least he was honest about it!
Jake also would love to return to the show (pretty much anyone who’s ever been on the show wants to return, actually, and who can blame them?). One of his fondest memories is his last day of shooting, when Jared and Jensen invited him to sit up on one of their trailers with them and watch the sunset. They drank beers and watched Jared and Jensen’s dogs cavorting on the grass below, and the whole thing sounds like a beautiful moment indeed.
He has a lot of empathy for his poor character though.
Fan: Who’s Adam’s favorite half brother?
Jake: I hate them both!
I was live tweeting Jake’s panel as I try to do whenever I’m able – which means my phone sometimes auto corrects in unusual and creative ways. Jake was talking about getting A’s in English and Richard quipped “You were a suck up, weren’t you?”
Unfortunately that’s not how the tweet came out.
Richard’s tweet a little later:
@dicksp8jr: That’s not what I said! What the hell is a dick up anyway?!
Live tweeting is hard.
We also got the first Creation appearance of David Haydn-Jones, who had some very positive things to say about Richard Speight Jr.’s directing – and Richard in fact had some very positive things to say about directing David. Seems like he fits right in with the vibe on the set of our favorite show and at the cons, with a sense of humor that can just as easily be self deprecating as affectionately ribbing his costars.
I don’t know about you, but I laughed my ass off over the ‘chupacabra’ outtake with David, Jared and Jensen. David said he didn’t know what Phil Sgriccia was planning, but he did think it was odd that Phil kept asking him to say ‘chupacabra’ over and over again. I love that he thought it was as hysterical as we all did – and as Jared and Jensen clearly did. David shared that Jensen told him that his mom watched the outtake and actually called him up to admonish him for being so mean to David. Lol
The fandom welcomed David to his first Creation con with lots of noisemakers, which totally confused Rich and Rob as they introduced him. Their ‘what the F is going on out there?’ looks were priceless. David celebrated the occasion by dressing up, in a suit that was worthy of Arthur Ketch. I have a feeling it was a bit warm to wear all that though, judging by the sweating the poor guy was doing. Ah what we do for fashion…
David: I’m such a nerd, I came in cosplay of my own character. I regret nothing…except my sweaty brow…
He’s developed a keen appreciation for the SPNFamily too.
David: The little sci fi geek in me would have loved to be part of a community like the SPNFamily.
He said he didn’t know that he was coming back to the show as Ketch, but was very very happy to be there again.
Friday night I had a wonderful time hanging out with lots of fellow fans for dinner and drinks, and caught up with one of my favorite people, Carrie Genzel (who memorably played the mom who had sparkle all over her face and the realtor in ‘Bugs’). Carrie, Jodi (@eldwenne) and I made some fun plans for the New Year which I’m really looking forward to – and Carrie decided to wear her ‘balls’ to karaoke since she was the only actress onstage for a while. I didn’t get any decent photos, but karaoke was awesome as always, and DJ Liz kicked butt as usual.
Saturday kicked off with Ruth Connell looking adorable in her ‘I Wish For This’ charity campaign tee and a flower crown. She looked kinda like a fairy, which made perfect sense for what she was wearing.
Ruth wanted to support Misha’s campaign, so she asked Stands to send her a shirt – she got not only a shirt but a giant dandelion! Seriously, why is Ruth so precious?
She also made a hysterical attempt to not answer questions about whether Rowena was coming back, which I think pretty much everyone already knows is happening, and YAY!! Ruth also gushed about her love for Danneel and how she worries about letting her down. Pretty sure that wouldn’t happen, but I totally understand the gushing about Danneel part.
Ruth said she wore the flower crown for her dad, who’s tone deaf but used to sing the song about San Francisco that says “if you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…” Awww. Ruth writes about her own struggle to feel comfortable enough to sing onstage, and how the SPNFamily and the Saturday Night Special helped her get there, in her chapter in Family Don’t End With Blood. She performed later that night onstage, and every time I hear her killing it now I think of how much fear and uncertainty she had about doing that. You rock, Ruth!
Ruth also talked more seriously about the importance of describing women by who they are, not their relation to the men around them – apropos of how Rowena is treated as a character, not just as “Crowley’s mum”.
The R2M panel was as hilarious as it always is. They kicked off with this:
Fan: What’s your favorite aspect of your characters?
Rob: I thought you said favorite ass. And I was immediately gonna say Matt Cohen.
Matt: And I was immediately gonna say Rob Benedict.
Rob said more seriously that his favorite thing about Chuck is that he is a bisexual god. Rob loved that line that Robbie Thompson wrote, and he loved being able to portray that aspect of Chuck. If you haven’t read my epic interview with Robbie Thompson about writing that episode, or my epic interview with Rob Benedict about his recent Supernatural episodes, you can find them here. They are literally two of my favorite humans ever.
Richard’s favorite thing about Gabriel is that in the end, he died fighting for humanity.
Favorite thing about young John Winchester?
Matt: That he used his loins to make 13 seasons of Supernatural.
Agreed, Matt. Agreed.
There was also some grumpy talk about how each of them are on airplanes, complete with Matt acting out the gremlin that he and Richard are sure is on the wing whenever they fly.
And that time Matt was stuck between Rob and Richard on a plane when they both had terrible colds – and their germs!
They all had great things to say about being on Criminal Minds, thanks to SPNFamily alum Adam Glass.
Matt: It’s great to speak with your mouth and your eyes and not be the shirtless guy.
Mark Sheppard’s panel, as I said, was intensely emotional. He came out to a sea of red signs of support, and seeing how touched he was made me reach for the tissues right away. Mark was a class act to the end, thanking Rich and Rob and Louden Swain for remaking the cons into the amazing things they are now (the Saturday Night Special was something Sheppard contributed to as well). He thanked the fans too, and said that he kept on being Crowley for eight years because of us.
Mark: I stayed all these years because of you.
He wished the show well, his former colleagues well. He specifically wished Wayward Sisters good luck and said that he wants to see it succeed, the show succeed, his friends succeed. Whatever went down in the last year, Mark left with only good wishes for everyone – and that’s a class act.
One more time, he talked about being in awe of this fandom – for the fandom’s ability and willingness to help each other, and to get behind the causes that the cast champions too. He stood right in front of me as he talked, and I could see that his eyes were damp. Gotta say, mine were too.
I will miss him a lot.
Gil did another panel on Saturday, which he began by singing one of my favorite songs ever – How Was I to Know. It’s also a song that always makes me cry, because Gil wrote it about losing his dad. Since I was at this con on the first anniversary of my own dad’s death, and because Gil lost his dad right around the same time, let’s just say I needed lots and lots of tissues.
It’s an incredibly beautiful song – Gil has a real talent for song writing as well as singing.
Richard teased Gil because he knows so many fans by name, which was an adorable moment. I am truly in awe of how many people’s names he remembers, when I have trouble remembering all the names of my current students – but that says something really nice about how Gil feels about his fans. And his memory ability.
Another high point of this con was that it was Alex Calvert’s very first con – so of course the SPNFamily welcomed him in style. When he came out onstage, fans were holding up signs that read ‘Welcome To The Family’ or ‘It’s a Boy’ – he seemed genuinely surprised and very touched.
You never know how an actor is going to be onstage, since you can be a great actor and still struggle with entertaining a room full of people with no script and sometimes unusual questions. But Alex proved himself both funny and thoughtful, and comfortable enough to share some of himself with fans. Hopefully that means he’ll be at more cons!
He’s enjoying being on Supernatural despite the constant teasing from Jared and Jensen (and sometimes Misha), though things started out on an interesting note.
Alex: My first day on set I was really nervous. I went to Costumes and asked, what am I wearing? It was a thong.
He said he’s excited to be a part of something that people really love though.
People tend to groan whenever the infamous prank question is asked at cons, but this time we were actually eager to hear Alex’s stories.
Alex said that during the episode where Sam shows Jack a video of his mom, instead when Jared brought him the laptop…
Alex: I open up the laptop expecting to see my dead mom and it’s just a bunch of dicks! I thought I would get fired for laughing so much.
Again. Poor Alex.
Misha came out to ask him a question, which predictably was “What’s the best thing about Misha Collins?”
Alex: When he joined Jared and Jensen on the pranking train…
Alex said that Sam and Dean are father figures for Jack at this point, but that really they’re like his “really hot uncles”.
Then we had Misha himself, who spent some time talking about the pitfalls and perils of parenting. Like that time his young daughter Maison said that her imaginary friend said “f—k”. So she killed her.
He likes to tell those sort of stories – like the time he and Vicki took West to a rave when he was an infant (and instantly learned that was a mistake…) – but it’s the heartwarming stories that clearly are his favorites. Like the fact that their bedtime routine with the kids involves lots of cuddling and reading books and snuggling. Awww.
Misha also had lots of gratitude and congrats to Rachel Miner for taking on a leadership role with Random Acts. I seriously cannot think of a more passionate or qualified person, and I’m beyond thrilled to see these two partner up – and to be able to do some work with them as well.
Of course the panel wasn’t ALL serious. A fan asked what animals J2 remind him of.
Misha: I often think of the naked mole rat when I think of Jensen, and I think we can all agree that for Jared, it’s the snake.
Not sure which of those is the more biting commentary, but lol
One of the things I love most about Misha is his refusal to ‘go along’, especially with rules that make no sense. As one fan stepped up to the mic and attempted to ask a question, the volunteer holding the mic kept struggling to get it close enough to her mouth and then repeatedly bonked her with it (unintentionally).
Misha: Wait, you’re telling me that she’s not allowed to hold her own mic? What the f—k happened that fans aren’t allowed to hold their own mic??
Excellent question, Misha. The imagination boggles.
Several fans asked what was going on with Cas in the last episodes of Season 12, saying that they weren’t sure he was in character. Misha came up with an innovative explanation: baby brain.
More seriously, he said that Jack had become Castiel’s purpose and drive. So I guess that really is baby brain, come to think of it.
Best comment of the panel?
Fan: What are your future plans for after Supernatural?
Misha: I don’t have future plans. I’ve given up on that. I’ve given up completely because Supernatural says it’s gonna be over but it never f—king ends!
So true. His mock affronted protest was pretty cute.
Saturday night I had some delicious dinner and drinks with good friends, which the hotel bar was excellent for.
And then it was time for the Saturday Night Special, which never disappoints. Like, not ever. Louden Swain performed some of my old favorites, and some of their new music too. I even got a few half decent photos of Billy Moran, Stephen Norton and Mike Borja! And Rob Benedict too.
Sunday morning I didn’t have to get up too early since I wasn’t in the vendor room for this con, so I was wide awake for the J2 gold panel at 10 am. The boys looked amazing (but seriously, when don’t they look amazing?).
Jensen kept breaking into a huge grin at a baby making noise in the crowd – even more so when the mom said the baby’s name was Jensen!
Jared and Jensen fessed up to lots of teasing of Alex, and seemed entirely unrepentant.
Jared: There were times we were messing with him so much that Alex thought he would never work again.
They also seemed entirely unafraid that Misha would team up with Danneel Ackles when she starts filming her recurring role on the show this season. Misha and Danneel are of course good friends and work together with Random Acts, but Jensen and Jared just laughed at the possibility of Misha and Danneel teaming up against them. I guess time will tell…
Jensen told an amusing story about the scene in ‘Baby’ where the car is valet parked.
Jensen: That wasn’t Dean reacting with horror – that was Jensen!
Someone asked which episodes have taken a big emotional toll on them. As they pondered, Jensen answered for Jared.
Jensen: Swan Song took a toll on you.
Jared agreed. He also said that the day of filming ‘Heart’ when Sam killed Madison was difficult, and that he was exhausted at the end of that day.
They got the inevitable prank question, this time about what their favorite prank was and who it was on.
Jensen: I’m not gonna tell you and I’m not gonna tell you.
One of the reasons I think Supernatural has stayed on the air so long and remained so good is that the cast truly appreciates EVERYONE who makes the show – that’s why the amazing crew has stayed so long and everyone puts their heart and soul into making the show the best it can be. Jensen said that there were two people who definitely deserve producer credit, no question – AD Kevin Parks and props person and all around saver-of-the-day Robin Stooshnov, aka Proppin’ Robin. We interviewed Robin for Supernatural Magazine back in the day, and she really is awesome. And I think everyone knows there’s a good reason why they call Kevin Parks ‘Parksipedia’.
I love that the show’s lead actors are so appreciative of their talented colleagues.
First impressions of each other?
Jensen: what is this guy wearing?
Jared: Why do his legs bend like that?
He then reconsidered.
Jared: My first thought was how can someone suck their cheeks in like that…
More seriously, Jared said he remembered from their audition that he was impressed that Jensen really could act, since sometimes people in auditions really can’t.
Jared: I wonder how many of the execs who were in the room that day were saying ‘this show will never make it’…
And they both agreed that they became friends pretty quickly.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The panel was over far too soon, as is always the case. Even Jared wasn’t quite ready to go.
Jensen: (tugging Jared by the shirt) They’re pulling us, Jared!
It was a Winchester Sunday for sure, since we next had Samantha Smith onstage. She looked amazing with her hair dyed a beautiful blue shade.
Sam managed to avoid answering questions about how Mary would get out of the AU, though just barely. She also said that the longer you play a character, the more overlap there is with yourself. Which gives me some hope, since I think Sam is wonderful.
She also told a hysterical story about the time that Mary was driving the Impala with Sam, Dean and Cas in it. She floored it – and went backwards. Oops.
We then got a real treat, when Jeffrey Dean Morgan joined Sam onstage. Mama and Papa Winchester together again! This time Samantha and JDM got to actually interact, and guess what? They were awesome together!
Jeffrey Dean came onstage and channeled John, yelling ‘Where’s my woman?’
Samantha retaliated in short order.
JDM: I hunted demons before I met Mary, right?
Sam: (patting him) He’s pretty.
Jeffrey accused Mary of having an affair ‘with some dude’ (referring to Ketch).
Sam: But I killed him!
Supernatural, the only show where that is the entirely acceptance answer.
And there was this priceless exchange:
Sam: I’m in some kind of apocalypse world…
JDM: Me too! I’ll bring my bat.
Samantha left the stage after too short a time (I was thoroughly enjoying the John and Mary banter) but then we got JDM for a while longer, which was also lovely. He curses like a sailor, is adorably self deprecating, and is just plain hilarious sometimes in a wonderfully snarky way. I could seriously listen to him onstage for hours – but I’m grateful for what we got.
Fan: If you could go back and change anything about how you played John, what would it be?
JDM: I was John as a dad to a four year old and a baby. Then they brought me back to be dad to these two 7 foot guys. What, was I twelve??
He had thought when they brought John back in Season 1 that they would age him – put gray in his beard, wrinkles, etc. When they said no, we’re not going to do that, he suddenly thought whoa, how old do I look?
JDM remains a fan of John, and always seems a bit cranky that subsequent seasons weren’t all that kind to his story.
A fan said that she thought that John did the best he could with what he had.
JDM: That should be on a damn bumper sticker.
At one point in the panel, Jeffrey suggested someone write some fanfic, then quickly added “Not Wincest” with a wink.
JDM (smirking and wagging his finger at the crowd) I know there’s some of you out there…you know who you are…
Apparently Jared and Jensen shared some of that particular flavor of fanfic with him years ago. Also, JDM will talk about what JDM wants to talk about, and I seriously love that about him. A little later, when he got a question he couldn’t quite answer, he quipped ‘Let’s go back to the Wincest.’
A fan kept trying to ask a question about family and every single word was pure unintentional innuendo. JDM kept thinking back to the Wincest discussion and just cracking up – and most of the audience right along with him. The whole panel was hilarious, and once again, I could have listened to him onstage for hours.
Jared and Jensen started their afternoon panel – their last Creation panel of 2017 – by thanking everyone who makes the cons possible, including not only Creation staff but the many volunteers who work so hard to make the cons run smoothly. Class act, these two.
The first question, predictably, was about the big news that Jensen’s wife, Danneel, has been cast in a recurring role on the show.
Jensen: Sorry, who?
Apparently Supernatural had wanted Danneel on the show for a long time, but she was content to have it be Jensen’s “thing”. But by the time they got all the way to Season 13, she said in passing ‘it might be cool to be on the show’ so Jensen immediately mentioned it to Bob Singer, and they immediately made it happen.
Jared said he was excited to have Danneel on the show – he’s actually known her longer than Jensen has, so they’ve been friends for a very long time. Plus she’s “Aunt Eel” to the Padalecki kids and Gen’s bff (and a good friend of Misha’s too) so it seems like a no brainer to have her join in. Jared actually mentions Danneel in the chapter he wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood, in a very emotional section – that’s how close they are.
They started talking about mishaps during filming, which brought up the Jensen-stabbing-Jared-in-the-thigh incident, which of course meant they had to re-enact it once again. Which I will never complain about. You can see the trust they have in each other in the way they are with each other physically – oh, and Jared kept right on going through that scene, btw.
Jared started the re-enactment, and then Jensen had to keep correcting him, insisting that he didn’t so much stab Jared as Jared leaned right into the blade. Ouch.
And yes, of course they had to do it twice. Or maybe three times.
And I think this was the story about Jensen accidentally almost cutting a stunt guy during filming, perilously close to his eye. Also ouch.
Jared told a long and hilarious story about the time he crashed his car and actually thought he was dead for a while, during which Jensen kept trying to correct him and ended up laughing hysterically.
It was truly priceless, and if you don’t understand why I love Jared Padalecki, just find this clip and watch it.
Jensen told a much less amusing story about climbing a construction crane for a 48 story building in the middle of the night and almost falling to his death when it started raining and everything got slippery – and Jared was not at all amused.
Pretty sure that’s the expression on all of our faces as we heard that story, Jared.
They are equally protective of each other. A fan at one point said something about Sam being good in a supporting role (I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean that literally, but that he supports his brother) and Jensen immediately took issue and then clarified “As Dean is good in supporting Sam”.
And in case anyone doubts whether these two are dangerous for my competence kink, Jensen told the story of learning how to take Dean’s weapons apart and put them together without looking, and Jared learning to paint distinct sigils from memory. GUH.
Maybe my favorite moment was when Jensen was talking about how on most sets, there’s a saying that if fans notice the minutiae, we’ve lost them.
Jensen: Have you met our fans?? Because we have.
That’s the thing, isn’t it? They have. They KNOW us. They know how we watch the show and what we care about, what makes us love it and what makes us rail at it. They know Sam and Dean, and they know we know them too. It’s that unusual level of knowledge that makes this whole SPNFamily thing so special.
Sometime near the end of the panel, we had Rich and Rob dancing around Jensen – I have no recollection of what was actually happening, but the photo doesn’t really need context. And then it was time for the Last Question of 2017, and Jared and Jensen thanking the fans for a great year.
To finish out the 2017 con season, we got one more Kings of Con panel, which was a lovely way to end. Rob and Rich talked about some of their favorite Saturday Night Special moments.
Rob: I love it when Jensen sings Whipping Post.
He said that Jensen at first used to leave the stage during the long instrumental part, but now he’s more likely to stay onstage and cheer them on with ‘C’mon Robbie!’
Rob: I was like, I’m trying, Jensen!
Richard reminded us of that time when Jensen sang one song and then Billy Moran was just like, hey, let’s do Whipping Post, and Jensen was like, “Now?” And they did.
They also talked about their own chemistry together, and how well they know each other after all these years of onstage improv as well as Kings of Con. They never rehearse or plan what they’ll do when they come onstage, and I think that spontaneity makes for some of the most priceless con openings and introductions possible!
Rob and Rich thanked the fans for Kings of Con – and keep the support going so we get a Season 2!
And then it was time for ‘The End of The Con As We Know It’ and goodbyes for the holidays. I chatted a bit with Jared and Jensen later in the day, and they were both looking forward to a little time off, but in a great mood and feeling good about Season 13. I had a chance to tell Jensen how wonderful it was to see that spark of hope in Dean again in the last episode, and he agreed. He said Dean wanted to find that hope again, he wants to believe that they can make a difference – and he’ll be there for Sam if and when Sam needs to rediscover his own sense of hope. The brothers go back and forth, shoring each other up, and that’s what keeps them both fighting. In other words, as I said to Jensen, Dean is resilient. He finds something in Sam, or in Cas, or wherever he can, to renew that spark. I for one am grateful!
And on that note, here’s to 2018 – the second half of lucky season 13 kicks off with the Wayward Sisters episode on my birthday, January 18 (I feel like that’s meant to be somehow…) and I can’t wait to see where my favorite show goes from here!
Happy New Year all!
You can read all the chapters written by the
actors in Family Don’t End With Blood, info
and links at the top of the page!