After thoroughly enjoying the Supernatural panel in Hall H (see part one of my epic Comic Con report here – Part One) we had an hour to rush to the press area and download some photos and eat a hot dog (you eat WAY too many hot dogs at Comic Con, just saying…). Then it was off to the Hilton Bayfront for the Supernatural press room. This is my second year in the press room, so I wasn’t quite as nervous about my technology failing me (though it did…) and more able to just enjoy the chance to chat with everyone. We had a great table of press, some of whom I already knew, and everyone had great questions. Press rooms can be stressful things, since there’s a very limited amount of time and no guarantee that every cast member will get to your table – which means I actually did get anxious anyway. But big kudos to Warner Brothers’ Holly Ollis and Nikki Calderon, who managed to make sure that every single table got some time with every single one of the cast and producers. Phew!
Executive producer and showrunner Bob Singer was the first to come to our table – which is why I was so nervous I didn’t even manage to take a picture of him!
Our table asked what he could tease about Season 14?
Bob: Oh nothing, we have strict instructions…
We laughed, but he relented.
Bob: I think Season 14 is gonna be a little less broad in scope and a little more emotional, with more personal stories about the guys. We’ll look at what Jack’s going through with losing his powers, and if and when Dean comes back from Michael, what it will be like with his relationship with Sam. We also have a lot of fan favorites who will be back – Bobby, Charlie. I think it will be a little more low key but it will still be Supernatural, just more personal and emotional.
(That literally had me bouncing with happiness because yay for more personal and emotional! Okay, maybe not literally bouncing, but it was a near thing)
One of the questions for Mr. Singer from our table was, ‘What does Bob Singer have planned for Bob Singer?’
Bob: (laughing) I’ve actually had friends from New York be like, really? You named a character after yourself? You’ve gone that Hollywood? I didn’t do that, Eric Kripke did that! That character was supposed to be a one-off, one episode and done, but we love Jim [Beaver] and Bobby Singer so it’s my misfortune to have to deal with that. All I can say is that he and Mary (Samantha Smith) start an interesting relationship…
I think we all saw that coming!
Then it was my turn to ask a question.
Me: How weird is it directing Jensen Ackles as a totally different character?
Bob: Jensen is so good, he can inhabit pretty much any character he wants to play.
Me: Well that’s true!
Bob: Jensen always come through with his performance. He’s always prepared and he knows in his own head what he wants to do. That said, if you give him shadings or you say ‘I don’t think that’s quite what we’re going for, how about trying this?’ he’s generally quite open to that, he doesn’t fixate on what he wants to do so much that he’s not open to suggestions. Actually every actor in our cast is easy to work with from a directorial point of view. The most you’ll have is a spirited discussion (laughing). Over 13 years with these guys, there’s a trust built up on both sides so it’s really a fun show to direct. It’s something special – it feels like family.
I love those sort of insights from the people we rarely get to hear from, especially someone like Singer who’s been with Supernatural since the beginning. He’s genuinely appreciative of this cast and that they’re all both talented and team players – which I’m sure has made all the difference.
Next up, we had the man himself, Jensen Ackles. This is probably my favorite press room interview ever, simply because of Jensen’s reaction to our table. He sat down looking a bit weary after a marathon three days of constant interviews and photo sessions, and then he caught my eye and realized he was at a table with someone he knew – and then realized that I wasn’t the only one he knew there! His face lit up and he exclaimed “Hey! Familiar faces!” I confirmed that he was indeed at a friendly table, and he grinned and promptly put his head down on the table for a nap. Poor tired bean!
We were a lucky table indeed, because we not only got relaxed and happy Jensen, but we got finger guns Jensen too!
Our table also got the major spoiler that Jensen had just filmed some scenes as Michael – with his wife! So apparently Danneel Ackles and her character Anael will be back early on in Season 14 and she and Michael will have some sort of interaction. That got an audible gasp from the table, needless to say. [And a big thank you from our table to publicist Holly, who gave the okay for him to spill]
Jensen also asked what we thought about the sneak peek scene of him as Michael, and how nervous he was about playing a different character – and having to speak Arabic and wanting very badly to get it right!
Jensen: I couldn’t get any of it wrong, because it was a Holy verse. So that was very nervewracking.
Me: That was fascinatingly NOT Dean, in that clip we just watched.
Jensen: (hopefully) Yeah?
Me: I was sitting there the whole time trying to figure out WHY it was so not Dean, and I don’t know if it was the lack of emotionality, or the lack of humor, or he has a slower way of speaking…
Jensen: (nodding) Yeah
Me: It was strikingly different. Was that hard?
Jensen: Yes. Yes. I was constantly having to go through checklists in my brain while I was performing. I was kinda trying to keep my eyes bigger and not blinking as much, slowing down the pace of the speech, not making it as colorful, a little more monotone, and then constantly telling myself ‘you are omnipotent, you are omniscient, you can do anything you want. You are the biggest, baddest Archangel there is.’
Me: [is about to melt under the table due to Mr. Ackles saying that right to me, with all those big badass words NGL]
Check out the entire almost 8 minute interview below, with lots of insights about the challenges and rewards of playing Michael on Supernatural!
Jensen Ackles Press Room Interview
I spent some of the press room catastrophizing that we wouldn’t get to chat with Jared Padalecki, but I should have trusted the efficient way they run the Supernatural press room, because sure enough, Jared made his way to our table. We were last to get to speak to him, but we ended up with our full allotted time because that’s just the kind of guy Jared is. Our table was again lucky, since we got a Padalecki wink and some great discussion of Season 14 and Sam Winchester.
We already knew that Sam will be taking on more of a leadership role, but one of the things we asked Jared was whether we’d also get to see the emotional side of where Sam is as a result of the trauma of losing his brother.
Jared: Yes, and his leadership role is also very different than when he led hunters against the British Men of Letters. That was I’ve gotta buck up and hold down the fort, this is him forced into it, but his plate is so full. Jack, who he’s always taken a liking to and tried to look out for, is now a broken kid. Last year he was a being we didn’t know what he could do – Sam legitimately cared about him, but there was also fear. This year there’s none of that. Sam also has 30 hunters from another planet living in the bunker, so you’ve gotta tell them how to hack a computer or where to buy toilet paper down the road. Those hunters and Sam have a similar desire and motivation but it’s also ever so slightly different. Sam wants to save Dean; the hunters want to kill Michael.
Jared went on to say that Sam is hoping to get to Michael first, because while Michael might be difficult to kill, his vessel is not!
Jared also talked about how much he loved that we got to deal with Sam’s trauma in Season 13. Dean, in contrast, is not one to open up and talk about his trauma. Sam is uniquely qualified to say “Dean, let’s talk about this,” Jared said – and noted that Cas is uniquely qualified too.
Jared: It’s like, we’ve been there, let’s talk about this.
Now that I cannot wait to see!!!! Let’s hope that poor Dean lets Sam and Cas be there for him as he works through what’s happened to him. (I have no doubt he won’t allow that easily, because Dean Winchester, but I have a feeling Sam and Cas are going to be pretty motivated…)
Check out our full interview with Jared here, including more about Sam’s relationship with Jack coming up in Season 14!
Jared Padalecki Press Room Interview
We were also lucky enough to have some quality time with Misha Collins. We asked if Castiel would be working with Sam in Season 14 to get Dean back and that gave us some cheeky Misha, which is one of my favorite flavors.
Misha: Yes, we’re teaming up. I think everybody is in hunter mode when we come back – we just want to get Dean back, but of course we run into obstacles.
Me: Jared has talked about Sam being in a leadership role, so is Cas sort of the…
Misha: (shaking his head in mock sadness) I think that’s sort of a fantasy, I’m not sure how he’s picking up that…
Me: I wondered…
Misha: Yeah, no, it’s true, Sam is sorta second in command now….right under Cas…
Table: (cracks up)
Misha: In a sense, we have a much bigger cast of characters who are all working as a team, all the AU characters. So now it’s a little bit more coordination and logistics and it definitely does feel like Sam is grabbing the reins on that. But we’re all focused on the task at hand, which is saving Dean.
Check out the rest of our chat with Misha here, including burning practical questions about who the hell is washing the dishes in the bunker, more about Castiel’s relationship with Sam and with Jack in Season 14, and the 8371 things Misha Collins has on his plate right now! He seriously makes me tired just listening to everything he’s working on and accomplishing – which includes an exciting new project!
Misha Collins Press Room Interview
It was great to have a chance to chat with Alex Calvert when the Hall H panel was behind him, after our discussion at the Friday night party about how nervous he was about it.
I asked Alex about Jack’s psychological state at the end of Season 13 – we left him sitting by himself, having just found out that the father he’d hoped to have a relationship with was a horrible person, alone and traumatized while everyone else celebrated around him. It sorta broke my heart. Was that a hard emotional place to be?
At that moment, Misha Collins walked by and stopped to tenderly stroke Alex’s cheek.
Me: I mean, Misha probably helped a lot…
Alex: (laughing) Misha helped with the trauma…when I’m feeling bad I can always count on the guys…to make me feel even more bad…
Alex: That’s interesting you noticed. It was definitely a harder scene. Jack has these moments of like pure aloneness, where only he can really understand, or maybe he and Castiel, having to deal with that level of being by themselves. That was tough with everyone else celebrating, but Jack being very much alone.
Check out our entire interview with Alex below, including how Jack will deal with being more or less human without powers and how long that will take for him to get those powers back!
Alex Calvert Press Room Video Interview
We also got to talk to Brad Buckner, executive producer and writing partner with Eugenie Ross-Leming.
Natalie, who was at our table, asked about the episode last season that Brad and Eugenie wrote bringing Charlie (Felicia Day) back.
Brad: From the moment that Charlie died, we all felt it, that voice was missing.
Me: (silently) I’ll say!
Brad: So if this is a world of doppelgangers, she’s a natural go-to doppelganger. I think what’s interesting about it is that when Sam and Dean meet this person from another world, it triggers all their sense memories, they just can’t help wanting to throw their arms around her and make her that kid sister that they had. And of course she’s like, do I know you guys? Because there’s no Sam and Dean in that world. And now that they’ve come through the door and their enemy Michael has also, their enemy is here – so she’s gonna be here for the duration and they’ve got a relationship to build. How she fits into the team has got to be worked out, whether she has her own cases. And it not only adds back a wonderful character, but it’s a cool way to open up the storytelling. There are more people than just Sam and Dean on the case.
Someone asked about monster of the week episodes versus mytharc episodes, which is always something I wonder about with a new season – how the Show will negotiate that balance.
Brad: I think this is going to be true of the storytelling in general this season, that the mytharc is going to be represented even in the standalones. Especially with the collapsed season, you’ll see that. There are so many things going on at the start of the season, and those have to be kept alive even if there’s a monster [of the week] to deal with.
Someone asked what monsters he enjoyed exploring.
Brad: I love the angels and demons because I think the politics of heaven and hell are so interesting. Lucifer is one of my favorites because I think he’s so complicated and interesting. I don’t think anyone gets up in the morning and says ‘how can I be evil today’? If he were sit down and explain how he’s misunderstood… who knows what’s gonna happen this year?
(Gotta say, I don’t entirely agree with Mr. Buckner about all that. Some storylines run their course and I can’t say I was ever fascinated by the politics of heaven and hell, but that’s just me…)
Of course there were more questions about Michael and Dean, and if we’d see Dean inside Michael’s head. The answer is a bit complex, and some of it I know a little more about than I can say – suffice it to say, I like it. Like, alot.
Brad: We’re not gonna go too deep into the season with Dean not being Dean. You’ll see him physically on screen, but once Dean is Dean, he may or may not stay Dean, you never know… But we won’t go too long. There will absolutely be episodes where we don’t see Dean, we just see Michael. But we find out later that Dean was witness to what was happening and is traumatized by the flashbacks. That’s a terrible burden, to be helpless inside your own body doing really awful things that you remember fragments of.
[I have to say, I’m both tremendously excited about exploring this aspect of what has happened to Dean, and tremendously proud of the Show for doing more exploration of the characters’ trauma and its aftermath instead of just being like okay they’re fine now, let’s never speak of it again. At the same time, I’m so sad for Dean, because I can’t think of anything worse for a man who lives to protect those he loves and keep them safe than to be trapped inside himself forced to watch people suffer by his own hands. It’s like Dean Winchester’s worst nightmare, and it’s bound to bring back the trauma of being a torturer in Hell too. Ohgod, I’m worried already… About this guy. Well, the guy he plays…]
Brad also told us that Rowena (Ruth Connell) will be an integral part of the story this Season and Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) and more Wayward characters will also be back. Yay!!
Showrunner Andrew Dabb, who loves to tease almost as much as Jared and Jensen do, sat down at our table next and one of the people at our table immediately thanked him for returning Charlie (Felicia Day) to us.
Andrew: Sure. But is it Charlie? Is it the same Charlie that we know? Who knows!
Natalie: I just want to know if this Charlie is gay.
Natalie: Thank god.
I couldn’t wait to ask Andrew for more scoop about Michael!Dean.
Me: What’s it like writing for a totally new character who’s played by an actor you’re so used to writing for? Is it weird?
Andrew: It’s weird, yeah. I’m not a fan of Jensen, as I think I’ve made very clear.
Me: Oh yes, very clear…
Andrew: It’s interesting to write a new character. We saw Michael a little bit last season, but the Michael we’re seeing this season is a little bit different. As much as our guys change every season and Michael changed a little by the end of last season as well, you realize that someone who looked like the warlord of apocalypse world in the first episode, you eventually realize he’s quite disappointed with how everything worked out. Now he comes to our world and he has a second chance, and he wants a different result. So it’s the same character, but a little different. And then writing for Jensen, you know whatever you write he’s gonna make it better, and that’s across the board. Obviously there’s a temptation when you’re writing for Dean to put jokes in and things like that and that’s much harder to do with Michael. He’s really not pop culture savvy.
Me: (laughing) No, he doesn’t seem too funny.
Andrew: He’s not a laugh riot, sort of a mean sense of humor, you know what I mean? So it’s been an adjustment but with Jensen, he knocks it out of the park, so that’s never a concern.
On the season as a whole, Andrew had this to say.
Andrew: It’s always been half standalone or quasi standalone and half myth episodes. I would imagine that ratio will stay about the same. We’ve got a lot of balls in the air in terms of the mytharc but also in terms of the characters. Not just Sam and Dean, but Castiel and Jack. And also Mary and Bobby and Charlie. And we don’t want to bring them back for no reason. We’re more confident that we can spend half an episode with Charlie or half an episode with Mary and Bobby, while keeping the story myth focused.
Me: (silently) Half an episode….okay I think I can handle that…
Andrew also said that yes, Michael will pretty much be the big bad this season.
Andrew: I think Michael is the big problem. With him on the loose, suddenly the Alpha werewolf doesn’t seem like that much of a concern. So that’s the focus for everyone.
Our table also asked Andrew about the 300th episode, and his answer just about made me too excited to stay seated.
Andrew: Well, the 100th episode had very few nods, the 200th we went very meta and very much kind of fan-based, so I think for the 300th we want to kinda split the difference. The thing we started with, which was Meredith Glynn’s idea, is that Sam and Dean live in this bunker and they have for a number of years. And this bunker is in a place called Lebanon, Kansas. We’ve never seen what the people of Lebanon think of Sam and Dean. These two guys like come to the bar or drive the car through or they go to the laundromat but their shirts are covered in blood, know what I mean?
[audible moans of ecstacy at the table]
Andrew: So it’s not all rosy, and that’s kinda our idea, to look at their world. So it’s a story about Sam and Dean and starring Sam and Dean but it allows us to make it a love letter to the show and a love letter to them.
Natalie and Lynn especially: OMG OMG OMG so awesome!!!
Andrew: Yeah, I think it’ll be really cool.
Lastly, we got to speak to executive producer and writer Eugenie Ross-Leming, who also happens to be married to the real Bob Singer.
Eugenie: So the season starts out with a lot of tension and anxiety, they’re trying to rebuild. And a lot of uncertainty….
Me: That tends to happen when someone’s possessed…
Someone at our table asked about Adam and if he or other kids might exist in the AU (which sort of confused me because John and Mary had different pasts in the AU, but anyway Jake Abel, your character was mentioned!) That was an unexpected question for Eugenie as well as for me.
Eugenie: Well, the AU was a parallel world to our world until Sam and Dean were never born. And when Sam and Dean were born, the worlds split. And the goodness of Sam and Dean arrived in our world. I don’t know about other kids, it’s such a rich feast to be dealing with the son of Lucifer, so that’s sort of occupying us so I haven’t thought about other brothers and sisters. Adam…We certainly don’t reference him, but I don’t know.
Poor Adam. Sorry, Jake.
Me: How much focus will there be on the psychological aftermath of being possessed and the trauma that it brings for Dean?
Eugenie: It will be given some focus. Again, the way we’re handling the aftermath, I can’t tell you. There’s a twist to it, I can tell you that.
Me: Mm hmm. I love when the show gets psychological.
Eugenie: And that’s more fun to write anyway.
She also talked about the process of bringing Gabriel back to the Show.
Eugenie: We wanted him back, we love him, so we made it happen! You can always bring back someone you love. We’re all going up tonight on the plane together, Richard is directing an episode that Brad and I wrote.
Us: Can you tease that?
Eugenie: (laughing) No. But I think he’s doing a great job!
Of that I have no doubt.
And with that, the press room – and for me, the convention – was over. I was left pretty damn excited about the new season, especially Sam and Cas teaming up to find Dean and exploring the aftermath of what will certainly be a huge trauma for him. I’m happy to have beloved characters like Charlie and Bobby back, and to hear that other characters I love like Rowena and Jody and some other Wayward Sisters are back as well, but I always want the focus squarely on the main characters. Supernatural has never been what you would call an ensemble show and I don’t want that to change, so give me all the Sam and Dean and Cas and Jack please!
Press chores done and with Comic Con in its final hours, I made a few last ditch efforts to snag a Supernatural bag, but ultimately failed. Every other year, I’ve managed to trade whatever bag I got for a Supernatural one, but this year the Supernatural bags were few and far between, and not one person who I asked to trade was interested. I guess I’m glad there are so many Supernatural fans out there, but damn. I wanted that bag – it’s gorgeous!
I also made a last minute return to the always-ridiculously-crowded Comic Con floor, braving the crowds of people doing the same last minute things to see if I could snag a Magic The Gathering exclusive for a friend. Nope. Ah well.
Sunday night was for frantically uploading videos and photos and typing up notes and then collapsing in utter exhaustion, but it was a happy exhaustion. Monday I was able to spend some time with friends reminding ourselves that we were in California by having some good food at the Studio Diner and doing some sightseeing of beautiful San Diego and then cavorting in the Pacific.
It was the perfect way to end another Comic Con – here’s to next year!
And the countdown to Season 14 begins…
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5 thoughts on “ALL the Scoop on Supernatural at Comic Con 2018 – Part Two with Exclusive Video Interviews!”
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So excited for Sam desperate to find his brother and the aftermath of Dean’s trauma (sorry Not sorry!)
Thank you for your coverage, which I read and listened to with bated breath and pounding heart!
Count me as another one who doens’t find the heaven/hell thing interesting. I wish they’d just be done with it already. I don’t know many people who like it either. I guess it just shows how out of touch some of the writers are with why some of us are fans of the show. I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic for this season. I hope less episodes mean more Sam and Dean.
Yeah, there seems to be a consensus amongst many of the fandom about the whole angel/demon politics thing that we’re pretty much done with it. Especially Lucifer. As much as I appreciate Mark Pellegrino’s acting talents, his storyline has more than run its course. Bring on the new storylines of recovering Dean from Michael and the following mental trauma he’s going thru along with Sam and Castiel’s ongoing efforts.
Thanks for your SDCC coverage. I’ve only been once and wasn’t able to go to the SPN panel. It is such an overwhelming experience all around.
I am very sad because they do not want to bring Adam back. He is a great character with a lot of knowledge and a great story to work with, but the writers bring only characters that do not bring anything new to the series like Bobby Charlie or Mary Winchester.