I’m just about to drag out my suitcase and toss some things in there to head to Las Vegas for the Supernatural convention that starts on Thursday – and I’m ridiculously excited! Vegas is one of my favorite cons. It’s an extra day of fun, it’s got so many of the friends I don’t get to see nearly enough all year long, and Jensen sings at the Saturday Night Special. The first time he did that, in 2015, was one of those experiences you never forget. Nobody expected him to come onstage and turn into this total effing rockstar, so afterwards we were all a bit stunned. Nobody could stop grinning; no one could stop hugging each other. We clung to each other like we’d just witnessed a piece of history, overflowing with wordless pure unadulterated joy. It was one of my favorite con moments ever.
So I always look forward to Vegas!
I was determined to post my Orlando con report before I leave for Vegas, so here it is, with almost an entire day to spare. Sure, that con was over a month ago, but hey, at least I met my admittedly generous deadline.
So, OrlandoCon 2018…
Orlando is a great place to have a convention in the middle of January, especially for those of us who live in the Northeast US and are sick of being frozen half to death. So I was thrilled to fly down a bit early and spend some time with my friends Liz and Kristen and Kim. The con hotel was across the footbridge from Disney Springs, so we trekked over there to explore and shop and have a delicious dinner in a café full of animated dinosaurs. Definitely in Disney!
My friends humored me and we spent more time than they probably expected in the Hollywood Studios area because I reallllllly wanted to ride Tower of Terror. Like, repeatedly. Which I did. One of my favorite things in the world, and it doesn’t even have anything to do with Supernatural!
The convention itself kicked off on Thursday night with a special live viewing of the Supernatural episode, which was special in itself – Wayward Sisters! I ended up sitting with the founders of the Wayward Daughters twitter movement, Riley and Betty, so it was tremendously inspiring and emotional to watch the episode with them and a few hundred more enthusiastic fans. The screams when ‘Wayward Sisters’ came onscreen were deafening – and we all couldn’t wait to tell Kim and Briana and Katherine how much we loved it. I felt so lucky to be there, at a convention with so many fellow fans, when that important episode finally aired.
Friday saw Richard Speight Jr. reminding fans that if we make enough noise about Wayward Sisters, the network would hear us. And of course Rob Benedict and Louden Swain kicking off the con as only they can.
Wayward Sisters’ own Kat Ramdeen was up first, and talked about how special it has been to be on the possible spinoff. In fact, she was so excited that when she was watching the episode with Rich and Rob, when her character came onscreen she jumped up and yelled, “I’m a nurse!”
She may have been a little excited during filming too.
Kat: I had one line in the scene where Donna gets out of the truck: “hi Donna”. I said hi Briana! Shit!
She also said that Jensen, Jared and Misha are very sweet, and her co-stars Yadira and Clark fit right in – they’re “not divas, not assholes, it’s like they’ve always been there” with her and Kathryn Newton.
Are Alex and Claire parallels of Sam and Dean?
Kat: Yes, the parallels are …very parallel…
And for some reason at some point she felt she had to say that no, she was not talking about Jensen and Jared’s boners. Context, who needs it?
Next up were the stars of Wayward Sisters, Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster. They gave a big shout out to Riley and Betty and melted our hearts by being very sweet to a mini Jody and Donna. That’s why representation is important, isn’t it? Right there in those two little girls who are dressed up as kickass sheriffs.
Kim and Briana would also love Alaina Huffman to direct (check out our interview with Alaina about directing for more on that!)
I have always loved how real Kim and Briana are even onstage, which I imagine is no mean feat.
Briana: I wasn’t prepared for Jared and Jensen’s utter beauty.
Me: Me neither. But really, who is?
Kim: I met Jensen and Jared for the first time and they were goofing off on their motorbikes and I thought, shit [I’m on my own with this emotional scene]. Then they came over and said, what do you need?
Me: There’s something in my eye every single time Kim tells that story.
I was sad to hear that they cut a line I would have liked to see. Jody is planning to jump through the rift, and she turns to Donna.
Jody: If I don’t come back…
Donna: Protect them with my life.
Me: My heart!
Also? This was the con of fabulous boots. Just saying.
Next up was Jason Manns, who did a beautiful rendition of Wagon Wheel with Richard and Rob and then some Station Breaks with Rob and Billy. They told a fairly hysterical story about playing at Eddie’s Attic and Billy Moran tried to help the crowd keep the beat and ended up unplugging all the guitars instead. Rob’s laugh is a beautiful thing, btw.
Oh and in case you didn’t know, Jason contributed to Family Don’t End With Blood too – there’s a free digital download of a Station Breaks song included!
Don’t forget to check out Jason’s brand new CD ‘Recovering With Friends’, which is awesome.
Friday night was a delicious dinner across the way at Disney Springs with some friends, and then karaoke – with some great costumes! DJ Liz decorated the stage complete with both pink flamingos and the bench seat from Baby and the boys’ green cooler, so we definitely had an awesome karaoke vibe to kick off 2018.
Then it was Saturday. The big news of Saturday morning was that Billy Moran was not wearing his glasses.
Richard: Who’s that guy??
That time Chuck himself made Billy Moran not need glasses, aka I’m in a band with God…
But honestly, I really like Billy with glasses, so I selfishly hoped they would make a reappearance.
Mark Pellegrino kicked off Saturday – he seemed almost as excited as me to go to Disney and was sporting a Mickey Mouse earring.
Fan: I have a question about your vessel Nick.
Mark: My vessel and Dick? Are those separate questions?
Mark said that his scenes with Mark Sheppard were the best.
Mark: We had so much fun. We played. And I love working with the guys, they’re so talented.
The most challenging scene to shoot, on the other hand, was the one when “Jared farted just before and I had to do the entire scene in a fart cloud”.
At one point, he said that there’s a new character coming who might open Lucifer’s heart, then backtracked and said that he wasn’t saying that was going to happen, he likes to tease. Having now seen ‘Devil’s Bargain’, I’m guessing he was referring to Sister Jo, but I really hope the show isn’t going to try to make that an actual relationship. Hmm.
A fan asked if he thought Lucifer might have real feelings for his son.
Mark: Having been abandoned by my father in real life, I understand that feeling.
He also said that Jared and Jensen haven’t pranked him.
Mark: The boys haven’t pranked me. I want them to, then I won’t feel like Lucifer’s always on the outside. No wait, why did I say that?
Kim and Briana did another panel on Saturday, joined by Samantha Smith. She echoed my own thoughts on Lucifer and a possible redemption arc.
Sam: Using all my imagination, I can’t imagine Lucifer as a good guy.
A fan asked if AU Bobby might have a thing with Jody.
Kim: She ain’t got time for that right now, she’s well stocked with batteries.
I love Kim, have I mentioned??
They made me laugh by all attempting to duplicate Ruth Connell’s delicious accent, and then they all cracked each other up too, which was lovely to see.
Briana: I’ve never felt so much like myself since meeting the #SPNFamily.
That’s actually what she wrote about in Family Don’t End With Blood – if you haven’t read her chapter and Kim’s, check them out.
Sam on playing Mary: I’ve discovered new parts of myself, No, not that I wanna punch someone!
The R2M panel was next, which meant a lot more laughter. I love when Rich and Rob crack up Matt, it just warms my heart.
Fan: Who would you want to come back as if not John, maybe the car?
Richard: So many jokes…
Also it’s now even funnier that Richard spent so much time razzing Rob about Chuck not bringing Gabriel back because he was too busy manscaping, now that we know that Gabriel is indeed back!
Richard did get serious for a few questions, saying that the show and the cons have brought him the greatest friends, which is such a blessing.
Rob also got serious when talking about the stroke he had at a convention several years ago.
Rob: I wrote about this in Family Don’t End With Blood, the stroke I had and this family who saved my life.
Rob’s chapter is amazing because he takes you moment by moment through that night at Toronto Con when it happened. He’s such a fabulous writer that all his terror comes through, but so does the way his fellow actors and the fans care about him. It’s ultimately a heartwarming chapter, but there are sections where I was holding my breath waiting to see what would happen – even though I know Rob is A-OK now!
Also I love Rob in glasses. And Richard in glasses. And Billy in glasses. And Jensen in glasses. And Briana in glasses….okay okay, you get the idea.
Matt also talked about his chapter.
Matt: You guys have helped me become who I am. I write about it in Family Don’t End With Blood. I owe you so much.
Matt’s chapter is one that makes me smile every time I read it. He’s so genuine and so open, taking you along with him on his journey to figure out who he is and become that person. The first time we met Matt at a con he tried to hug everyone who he met, and I knew right then he was a very special guy.
They were each asked about their favorite episodes. Richard liked Changing Channels, because so much was revealed about his character. Matt enjoyed creating Michael.
Matt: I hate to give him more credit because he’s so damn beautiful, but thanks Jensen for helping me create Michael.
Rob said that one of his favorite things is when Chuck says “I had a few girlfriends, a few boyfriends…” and he loved working with Curtis Armstrong.
Richard loves The French Mistake and Swan Song, and had this to say:
Richard: I think Supernatural turns out some of the best writing out there.
Misha came onstage and told a typically Misha-esque story about going to Disney World with his dad’s friend and being terrified by “a giant mouse”.
He also told a similarly Misha-esque story about being with Rob in a restaurant once and the woman in the next booth looked like she was about to take a picture.
Misha: I was like hey, don’t take a picture, I’m having a romantic dinner with Rob Benedict. And they were taking a selfie.
Misha also talked about trying to create a canon for angels on Supernatural.
Misha: I established that angels were these ethereal clueless beings. Then the next time we see angels they’re like regular people! So Cas is the weird one…
As far as his history with acting…
Misha: What I really needed was an acting teacher who could teach me not to laugh when someone is tickling your balls out of frame….even when they shot dueling overs and Jared is IN the shot, he managed to get his foot in my crotch.
I was excited to hear that Misha is planning to publish a book of poetry, and of course I’m thrilled that he has written chapters in two of our books – Fan Phenomena Supernatural and Family Don’t End With Blood, in which he writes about how the fandom inspired him to start Random Acts.
I always enjoy Misha’s panels, because you never really know what will happen. This time, he invited everyone on stage to sing happy birthday to a fan – which turned out to be quite a crowd!
And there was this priceless exchange.
Misha: Well, I’ve been asked not to disrobe onstage.
Fan: Just the jacket?
Misha: (scandalized) I’m not gonna go jacket off!
The Saturday Night Special was wonderful, as it always is. Louden Swain did Present Time, This Is How, Juliet (with photographer extraordinaire Chris Schmelke on bass), Ready Steady.
Matt Cohen sang like a rockstar, Samantha Smith dropped in, and Kim Rhodes killed it with an emotional rendition of Be Me.
Briana sang Wave and showed off her boots, and then brought the house down with A Million Reasons.
Jason Manns joined the band to sing The Slightest Thing with the Station Breaks and hit that endless note that only he can carry on that long, and Jason and Mike Borja took turns on harmonica for some Tom Petty.
Richard Speight sang and played guitar for Copperhead Road, which I’ve come to love.
Then Rob sang Fare Thee Well, and Louden Swain finished up a great show with She Waits, Mama’s Jam, Amazing and Medicated with the actors doing a bang up job on kazoos (and the fans too, of course).
Sunday’s J2 gold panel started a half hour later than usual, which I was ridiculously grateful for after a late night on Saturday.
Jared: People were in the Lazy River at 8 am!
Jensen: (deadpans) That was me.
Someone asked about the differences between Jared and Jensen and Sam and Dean.
Jensen: Well, we know from The French Mistake that we don’t talk…
There was also a re-telling and a re-enactment of the Tough Mudder, specifically that time when Jason Manns needed a boost and decided he had to get on Jensen’s shoulders.
Also, Jared and Jensen said that there’s an upcoming episode in which Sam and Dean do a lot of teasing each other in a very Jared-and-Jensen way. Considering how much I’ve loved some of the brothers moments in S13, I cannot wait!!!
The highlight of the gold panel was Jared discovering, to his absolute joy, that Jensen’s shirt had pockets. He then had to try them out multiple times, sliding his hands into Jensen’s shirt pockets and then pulling them out and sniffing them delightedly.
Jensen: Dear diary, it finally happened…
And here, have some more J2 gold panel photos just because. Works of art, I tell you. Not my photography, just them.
In between the J2 gold panel and main panels, we had a Samantha Smith panel. Sam shared that she once “clocked” Jensen for real, and was upset, but Jensen was just like “eh, it happens.”
She would love to have Mary visit Wayward Sisters, and thinks Jody and Mary could be good friends.
Samantha has said before that as a mother herself in real life, she struggled to understand her character’s decisions but ultimately was able to come at her decision to leave from her side.
Sam: Hunting is what Mary knows, so it makes sense that she’d go back to it.
Someone complimented her on the emotional scene that Mary had with Dean when he confided that he both loved and hated her.
Sam: Jensen, he picked up that scene, carried it around, put it down.
She also dropped a bombshell – apparently the iconic white nightgown that Mary died in? Was actually PINK!
Then it was time for the J2 main panel, which Richard Speight introduced by saying how much he loves it when Jensen does his “are we doing a bit?” thing. Which cracked the man himself up.
Jared continued that tradition throughout the panel, so we got lots of awesome laughing Jensen. He’s got the kind of laugh that is contagious, especially when he really lets go and throws his head back with abandon. Nobody seems to make him laugh like Jared does, which makes J2 panels a guaranteed mood-lifter for anyone watching.
Jensen, of course, regularly repays the favor. He told a hilarious story of trying to drive Baby on a dangerous road while filming, feeling very stressed out. He turned to Jared as Sam and…
Jensen: And genius here can’t remember his lines!
As Jared talks sort of seriously about wanting to take a break from acting after Supernatural ends (la la la la I can’t hear you…), and Jensen turned to him and quipped “Okay, Daniel Day Lewis.”
A fan asked if Jesus would ever be on the show (I have no clue why… I guess because God has been?) Anyway, Jensen didn’t miss a beat. He just gestured at Jared and his long hair.
Misha is, as we all know, often the recipient of Jared and Jensen’s efforts to make someone laugh in the middle of filming. They actually confessed that one day they were dealing with something and forgot to mess with Misha, and he was like (worriedly) ‘What’s going on??’
Jared also told the haunted hotel story which includes the television coming on and Dean Winchester being on the screen.
Jensen shared that one of my favorite moments from the episode where Dean and Sam were stuck in the AU (and one that I was fairly certain was an ad lib) was indeed not scripted – Jensen made the decision to run back and get the lizard that Dean was chowing down on, saying that Dean wouldn’t leave food behind. He knows his character so well!
I also don’t remember the context of this, but at some point Jensen decided to pronounce “Aurora” all sexy like, and Jared literally collapsed on the floor, overwhelmed by Jensen’s sexy accent.
Every single person in the room: Understandable.
There were a few serious questions, such as when a fan asked if the brothers have forgiven themselves.
Jared: They’ve forgiven each other, and mostly themselves.
Jensen: I think Dean’s forgiven himself for the things he’s done but it’s hard for him to forgive himself for the things that he didn’t do. Not being able to save the people he loved.
Jensen also clarified that it wasn’t his mom coming back that Dean needed most (that Amara gave him), it was getting the weight of those repressed emotions out and off his shoulders. Which he showed us brilliantly in that scene with Mary.
All too soon (as always) it was time for the Last Question, which meant Jensen singing with Rob and some lucky fan getting to spend some up close and personal time with J2. Oh, and since this is Orlando, it also meant Jared and Jensen posing with some plastic pink flamingos. As you do.
Once again, have a few more photos that I just like to stare at…
The con closed out with a Kings of Con panel, which is always awesome. Someone asked whose idea it was to have Richard appear as “himself” serving food to Jensen on set.
Richard: That was Misha’s idea, but it was my idea to have Tim Omundson in the parking lot.
I love how collaborative every single thing this cast does turns out to be.
Rob told an amusing story about Richard and Jensen and how he knows they’re both born directors.
Rob: When I was putting together the Tough Mudder footage, you know just for fun, they both sent me notes!
Everyone is hopeful that there will be a Season 2 of Kings of Con. Rich and Rob talking about it made me miss it – the Kings of Con J2 photo op was all of them just writing it on the spot. It was based a bit on real life photo ops though.
Richard: When people ask for whatever they want in a photo op, we just call out names. Graham cracker!
Richard also made Rob laugh so hard he was nearly crying as he told the real life story of Rob accidentally breaking something a fan made for autographs (which was later immortalized in a KoC episode).
There will eventually be KoC dvd’s, which I will definitely have to have!
Once their panel ended, it was time for Louden Swain to take a bow and for the traditional con-ending song “It’s the end of the con as we know it.”
I had a wonderful time in Orlando, so I can’t wait to get to Vegas in just a few days. So many of my favorite fangirls and fanboys will be there, Jensen and a ‘special guest’ are performing at the Saturday Night Special, and we’ll be in the vendor room all weekend with copies of Family Don’t End With Blood. If you’ll be at Vegas and have autographs, the actors who wrote chapters for the book love to sign those chapters – they worked their butts off writing them and they are deservedly proud of what they wrote. They also really wanted to let fandom know how much their lives have been changed by this show and this SPNFamily, and encourage everyone who reads the book to #AlwaysKeepFighting. Every purchase of FDEWB benefits Random Acts and Attitudes in Reverse and the important work they do, so if you don’t have a copy yet, pick one up at the con or order one on Amazon (links on this home page).
And to keep a smile on your face, have some more J2 and their quintessential J2-ness.
I’ll leave you with that one.
See you in Vegas!