My partner in crime, Kim Prior, wrote the Friday and Saturday wrap ups of Nashcon since I’ve done nothing but fly back and forth across the country, so this is the first time I’m sitting down to do my own write up, and finding that my perspective is different than it would have been, had I written this up as soon as I got home.
Nashville will forever, for me, be the last con before we “knew”. Before we had to recognize what we’d known all along, that this is finite — and that the Show will end after Season 15. Everyone, including the actors, has assured us that the conventions will continue at least for a while, but there’s no doubt it will be different. We won’t have current canon to argue about, for one thing. Jared and Jensen may be working on different and exciting projects, but most likely they won’t be co-leads of another show, so they won’t be working together. Misha will be off saving the world (or possibly being President) and the three of them won’t have any “let us tell you what happened during filming yesterday” tales. Of course they’ve accumulated a lot of those over fifteen seasons, but still, not the same.
At Nashville, I didn’t have that knowledge that things would be changing in a year. All I knew was that we were finally getting to see the best cast ever again after what felt like a long gap – since 2018, in fact. Seattle didn’t happen, so it felt like it had been a very long time since we’d had the actors onstage ‘touching base’ with the fandom, either in person or on video. A long time since we’d been able to ask them questions and see them laugh and enjoy their camaraderie. Maybe that’s why Nashville had an energy to it that took your breath away.
That energy was very evident on Sunday. It was so clear that the J’s had missed doing conventions almost as much as we’d missed them. In Jensen’s chapter of Family Don’t End With Blood, he writes about all he gets from being with the fans – that it’s energy to fuel them. They had been a long time away from their fandom fuel with Seattle con cancelled, and they were almost giddy to be back in the welcoming arms of fandom again. And damn, did that feel good.
March 2019, before we got The News, was a very good month for Supernatural fandom indeed. We’d had tons of photos and videos and tweets from J2M, including a glorious day of Jensen reigning as King Bacchus at Mardi Gras with news coverage and videos from the parade and the charity visits the day before. I don’t think any of us will ever forget King Ackles in full regalia (including white tights and boots!) regally tossing doubloons and beads to his loyal followers. Local New Orleans news teams were like “who the hell is this guy?” but we already knew. It felt like the world was discovering what we already knew is incredibly special, and we really were the fandom on top of the world. That’s where we were when Nashville con kicked off.
[Gorgeous photos ahead by Kim Prior. You’ve been warned.]
The morning began with the Gold panel; the stage and mics were decorated with Mardi Gras beads in honor of Jensen’s recent reign as King Bacchus, and most fans wore gold crowns as we sat in the audience. Jensen got right into the spirit of things, donning one of the crowns backstage and then walking out and doing a little Kingly wave for the fans.
Jared: Ladies and gentlemen, appearing for the first time, King Ackles! All hail.
Jensen rocked his crown and his kingly wave. Jared dropped the crown Jensen gave him then wore it like a belt for a hot second.
A fan asked about Jensen’s experience being Bacchus and we immediately knew this was going to be a day to remember and panels that would be some of my favorites of this entire wild crazy ride.
Jensen: I must say I was expecting more of a skin show than I got.
Jared: I would’ve shown you my chest.
Jensen: I know you would. He does it all the time.
Jensen to Jared: I must say you look fetching today (his luggage didn’t come with him)
Jared: I showered Tuesday.
Jensen: So he didn’t have his luggage, so he went shopping and I’m very proud of you. Someone helped you out today, didn’t they?
Jensen: This will be like an awards show, Jared will have about 10 costume changes today.
He didn’t, but that’s okay because whoever helped him? Good job!
Jared told a story about being at a restaurant in Italy. When they’d bring out a course and ask ‘you like?’, he’d gesture like mmm and they’d have an odd expression.
Jared: I learned later that gesture meant ‘go F yourself’.
Jensen: We were at dinner last night and Jared was like, (middle finger up) ‘it’s awesome!’
Jensen also told the story behind the Red Hood cosplay photo shoot he did with Stephanie, their on set set dec crew person. Fanboy Jensen is one of my favorites.
Someone asked about the marathon they did and if they had tips.
Jared: Go a lot slower than you think you should.
Jensen: Start drinking water a week before the race, because if you wait until the day of the race, you’re already dehydrated.
Jensen didn’t do that, apparently.
Jensen: Every muscle in my body stopped working. And then this numbnuts starts high fiving everyone.
He acted out the painful end of the marathon, Jensen walking stiffly and still trying to high five fans thanks to Jared.
We also got to hear Jensen say “motherfucker” when asked his favorite curse word, which someday we’ll hopefully hear Dean say too. When the show resumes on Netflix, or in the movie version, or… Yes, I’m fantasizing again…
The infamous prank question got asked.
Jared: Every time we mess with Misha and Alex, it makes me very happy.
Jensen: A day or two ago, we were doing a very intense scene with the three of us, where Alex turns to look at Jared and there was… a little more exposed… than he expected. When the camera wasn’t on him, Jared thought it was a good time for a little more exposure. There were no beads to throw, but if there had been, I would’ve thrown them!
Jared: (cracks up)
Jensen: All Bob Singer could see is Alex laughing too hard to do the scene, he couldn’t see Jared, and we hear him yell from off set “Damn it, Jared!”
They did manage to be serious at some points though, especially when talking about the 300th episode
Fans congratulated the boys on the 300th episode and complimented the goodbye scene with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Samantha Smith. How did they get coverage of all four of them when they were all crying in that scene?
Jared: We only used one camera for that scene, and it never felt forced. They just let us be our characters. There’s a lot of ad libbing done in that scene. LIke “my girl” – wasn’t scripted.
Me: And that’s why that scene, and so many scenes in that episode, were so real and so incredible. Petition to let Jared and Jensen ad lib whenever the hell they want – or better yet, just write some of your own dialogue!
Jensen: We knew that scene was gonna be emotional and we just had to stick with it. You have to feed off each other’s energy, and Jeff brings so much to the table. Unlike the other night when I’m getting emotional sitting alone on a tree stump in the middle of the woods weeping. In the freezing rain. It was a crane shot through the trees, so they couldn’t block the freezing rain. There are no words to the scene, just Dean sitting alone weeping. It was so cold I was like, can’t we do this in the car? And Bob Singer said, that’s not cinematic, and I was like, who cares? I’m cold and my tears are freezing on my face!
Everyone: Oh nooooooo
I missed the Rob Benedict solo panel for a meet and greet, but Kim caught a bit of it before she had to do some Jared photo ops with our friend Alana, which sometimes (especially going forward) require the emotional support that fans are expert at providing for each other.
There was also a little Rich and Billy fun, because Rich delights in introducing Billy in various ways designed to embarrass him. And Billy looks adorable. But then again, he usually does.
Rob talked about his movie “Waiting” and explained about set crushes. Sometimes you just click with someone on the crew or another actor, or you just think someone is really cute. By the end of filming, apparently Ryan Reynolds said Rob was his set crush #adorable #ofcourse #Imeanlookatthosebabyblues
A fan asked what he would bring if he was stuck on an island, and Rob said Misha, because he can build a shelter — look what he’s done in Nicaragua! Also his guitar, because he needs music, and he could always use it for firewood if he had to.
And his dog Lilly for companionship… or food (crowd boos)
Rob: Come on, what if I need to eat? (more boos) Ok I’ll keep her, she’s a good dog.
Then we had a Ruth Connell panel, and I was thrilled that it wasn’t opposite my meet and greet as usually happens, which drives me nuts.
Ruth: Thank you for being here, even though I don’t have perfectly symmetrical freckles [like some people we know…]
Ruth really likes Jensen’s freckles. And she’s not the only one.
When asked who she’d like to bring back to the Show, Ruth immediately mentioned Shoshannah Stern, which got a big round of applause. Or Alaina Huffman, who Ruth face timed with on the spot. Alaina was hanging out with Jason Momoa, so tough life, Alaina…
What makes her happy? Chocolate, finding a bargain, and being on Supernatural.
Ruth: Oh, and Maison, she’s my guru.
She got to talk a bit about Rowena too.
Ruth: I already had a backstory for Rowena before filming the scene about hating/loving Fergus and it matched incredibly well with what the writers wrote.
As for being Michael for a hot minute, Ruth said she didn’t read the last page of the script, so she didn’t know right away what happened.
Ruth: (gasps) “I’m gonna be Michael for the rest of the season!”
Luckily for Ruth, Jared and Jensen weren’t on set the day she was Michael. There was a lot of stuff on set that day and they tend to mess around a bit, so Ruth was glad they weren’t there when she was Michael.
The band surprised her by sneaking onto the stage.
Ruth: Thank the Lord!
Rob: You’re welcome.
Then it was time for the main J2 panel of the afternoon.
The boys got a huge screaming welcome from fans who hadn’t seen them in a long time.
Jensen: It’s good to be back. We missed you, you guys are fuel for us. It fuels us to continue doing this show that we love. We’ve been runnin’ on fumes since February since Seattle didn’t happen. We didn’t get refueled.
Jared: The mile high plane club?
Me: Ah so this panel is gonna go off the rails too? Excellent!
Jared: I feel like this is the longest we’ve gone without seeing our extended SPNFamily!
Jensen: We were going through withdrawal.
They always ask how many first timers there are, and when lots of people cheered, Jensen snarked “Where have you been? We’ve been doing this for fourteen years.”
Fan at the mic: Well, I am fourteen.
Jensen: OMG we’ve been doing this your whole life!
There followed a hilarious spiraling out of control J2 unable to get their heads around the fact that a human who was born when their Show began is now walking, talking….a freshman in high school… getting a driver’s license soon…
Jared: That’s messed up, how dare you! [to Jensen] Take it easy, take a seat!
Jensen was unconvinced, still hyperventilating.
Jensen: It drives!
At that realization, Jared burst into (fake) tears.
Jensen consoled him as Jared wiped his tears all over Jensen’s shirt.
They joked about Season 28 and everyone screamed their approval, but now I’m writing this After and it isn’t so funny anymore.
But back to Nashville, because when we were there, everything was beautiful and even Season 28 seemed like a possibility, albeit an irrational one.
Jared and Jensen were in an amazingly good mood in the afternoon panel, constantly teasing each other and slapping each other with “OMG remember when” comments, and making each other laugh every other sentence, including ribbing each other about how old they are.
Jared: In my twenties I could get hit by a truck and be fine, or a golf cart…
Jensen: Now you just wake up in the morning and feel like that.
They got into a mock fight during which Jared knocked over both their chairs and Jensen mock ran away, which was also hilarious.
A fan asked what they should pack but always forget.
Jared: Phone charger.
Jensen: You always have like 13 phone chargers!
Jensen: He loses stuff all the time though.
Jared: Your face loses stuff all the time!
Jensen: He also loses comebacks.
Jared: (mock scandalized because they had dirty dirty minds in Nashville and it was glorious) Can you spell that?
Jensen: (looking positively naughty) Nope.
(J2 secrets then commenced and Jensen cracks up even more)
How much would we give to hear all those J2 secrets?
Clearly Billy Moran wants to know the secret too.
They kept trying to answer the fan’s question, which segued into Jensen saying they don’t forget stuff because they travel so much that they keep a bag packed all the time with socks, underwear…
Jared: (looking equally naughty) You don’t wear underwear…
Jensen: You’re right.
Poor Jared’s suitcase didn’t make it to Nashville (which resulted in him having a kickass outfit, just sayin) which was a repeated source of ribbing. In fact, this one question was a veritable gold mine of content.
Jared: I have an open suitcase all the time. Misha slept at my apartment the other night, he can probably vouch…
Jensen: Wait, WHAT?
Jared: It didn’t mean anything!
Later, Jared tried (and tried and tried and tried) to make everything into an analogy for baseball. Jensen was not having it – even though to most fans listening it totally made sense!
Jensen (interrupts finally) What the hell are you talking about?
This spat was so animated that Jensen eventually had to walk away and pull a director role and OMG it was hilarious. Jared incorporated a little impromptu dancing thanks to the band’s encouragement and corrected himself mid sentence when he said “a island” instead of “an island”.
Jared: I didn’t mean to say that, I think I saw Lynn earlier…
Lynn aka me: I’m too busy laughing my ass off to even notice!
It ended with Jensen patting Jared on the shoulder because of course it did.
They then went toe to toe disagreeing on how to interpret a fan’s question, which was both hysterical and kinda weirdly hot. Maybe that’s just me.
Jensen: Do you need to lie down and take a nap? I promise I will never forget your suitcase.
Finally, in exasperation, Jensen threw up his hands.
Jensen: I’m just gonna blame the cream colored pants.
A fan (who in all fairness was 5’10”) stepped up the mic, mis-heard what the boys asked her, and replied “I’m good.” Jared picked up on the innuendo, until she continued her question with “I’m 5’10” and I’m twelve…”
Jared got up to go over because he couldn’t believe it.
Jensen kept calling after him, “She’s twelve, twelve, one-two, not a two and a one, one-two, not even a teen in it…”
Jared gave her a hug and Jensen joked that everyone on that side of the room was screaming “Jared, Jared, I’m 13!” to get a hug. He acted that out, so Jared promptly ran over and gave Jensen a giant hug. My favorite part is the look on Jensen’s face as he realizes Jared is coming in for the hug, just this pleased expression that says so much about their friendship.
Honestly a few fans just won the day. This fan went on to ask where Jared was able to find pants long enough for his legs, which prompted Jensen to say they actually wear the same size pants, Jared’s torso is just abnormally long.
Jared: And something else too…
He had to hide his face for that one.
Jensen: She’s twelve, buddy. One-two. But you’ll notice, most of Jared’s tee shirts barely touch his belt. Which drives me nuts in a bad way, but all of you nuts in a good way.
It’s true. And so did Jensen’s demonstration, tbh.
They exchanged another off-mic private joke and then Jensen was laughing so hard he had to walk away again.
This time they did share it though.
Jared: A pirate walked into a bar with a steering wheel on his pants. The bartender asked why.
Pirate: Ay, it’s drivin’ me nuts.
They both lost it then, Jared protesting to Jensen “you told me to say it!”
Even a question about whether the denim shirt that Jensen has is shared with Misha (who has a similar one) resulted in this.
Jensen: It’s like baseball…
Jared then went down a path of sort of explanation about Misha begging them for stuff…naked…
Jensen: Is this the kinda things that happened at the sleepover?
Which apparently went nine innings. You can’t make this stuff up.
They also talked seriously every now and then, including how Jack is like the Winchesters in being willing to do whatever to save his family or humanity.
Jensen: I’ve been attracted to these characters’ selflessness and willingness to do whatever for their family, for who they love.
They both said that for Sam and Dean, losing each other was the hardest to lose, obviously.
Jensen: There’s also one coming up that’s pretty difficult.
They also talked more seriously about the 300th episode, which had just aired, and how all the scenes got more emotional than they expected.
Jared: It’s like baseball…
Okay, not that serious.
The most moving portion of the day was when a fan asked about that amazing scene in Prophet and Loss where Sam loses it, frantic to get his brother to change his mind and not sacrifice himself. The fan – and all of us – wanted to compliment Jared on an incredible performance, but for Jared, he said he cried himself to sleep after that day.
Jared: For some reason, the words would not come. I’m a professional, I’ve never had a moment where I couldn’t get it out. I knew that I was messing up, and I literally ran off set when the scene was over.
As soon as Jared began to get upset remembering it, Jensen jumped in to tell the story.
Jensen: The words and the actions weren’t syncing up. I’ve worked with this guy more than anyone in my life and I’ve never seen it with him. He just couldn’t do it. So much that I was like, did you take some cold medicine, or did you eat something, it was that weird…. He wasn’t able to find the emotion. And I just watched and he was spiraling. I tried to say you’re fine, go walk it off, and nothing was happening. He was like, I just can’t do it. And it was awful to watch someone who’s so solid every day, the guy’s a machine. I felt the same way I did when I saw Rob in the hospital after his stroke. It’s heartbreaking.
Jared listened quietly as Jensen explained, looking maybe ashamed still, which just broke my heart in a million pieces.
Jensen finished with his own reassurance, agreeing with the fandom: He finally put in an amazing performance, I thought.
Jared couldn’t look at Jensen then, but he pounded his fist on Jensen’s knee the way they do when they want to reaffirm their connection and are feeling emotional.
Jensen: That hug at the end was, I think, a little more Jensen hugging Jared than it was Dean hugging Sam. But hey buddy, you made it.
They exchanged fist bumps, then knee bumps back and forth, before they moved on.
Jared: Thanks, Ackles.
Everyone in the audience: Who has tissues?
And to the fan, an obviously moved Jared said: The fact that you’re coming up here now to compliment us on that scene, this is why we’re a family.
That we are.
When it was time for the last question, Jensen wasn’t on stage at first to join Rob for the traditional Last Question song.
Rob: I had to do the doodlydobops by myself!
Jensen consoled him, then joined in on the final chorus. Or maybe that was at Vegas, because now I’m confusing them. But have some Jensen hugging Rob anyway.
The last question fan, Theresa, also won the day by asking Jensen to sing Sweet Home Alabama. Which he did! With Jared clapping and cheerleading.
The panel ended with a few surprises – first a birthday cake for Jensen.
He took the making a wish thing rather seriously, then blew out the candles with a smirk.
Then J2 delivered a gift to Richard from the makeup crew. He had no idea what it was, and was pretty timid about opening it – but it was awesome! The ladies from make-up made him a memento – with their faces peering up from it.
Best. Crew. Ever.
Jared and Jensen ended the panel with their traditional fist bump, which always makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
The con ended with a Speight panel which focused a lot on his directing – something we’ve interviewed him about many times here on Fangasm over the years.
Richard said his favorite thing, but also the most difficult, was directing himself.
Richard: I had to tell me how to beat my own ass! I don’t think that’s a common thing.
He also reflected back on that guest spot so many years ago.
Richard: When I filmed a little guest spot, I had no idea what it would lead to.
He was surprised to come back, and didn’t want to admit that he’d gained a little “baby weight” while his wife was pregnant.
Richard: Wardrobe was like, costume still fits? And I was like, oh yeah…. (not)
He loved directing Just My Imagination and working with the super talented Nate Torrance. Nate’s audition tape was made in his Ohio kitchen, but when Rich saw it he thought, that’s him, that’s Sully. And he’d love to direct Rob on Supernatural too.
Rich: Rob’s such an open performer, he can’t not show heart.
He’s also tremendously grateful to Supernatural.
Rich: Jared and Jensen could have said no to me directing. It’s their show. I’m forever grateful for their big hearts and all their support.
I think we all are, for so many reasons.
With that, an absolutely awesome convention was over. Richard joined Mike and Billy and Rob to sing ‘It’s The End Of The Con As We Know It” and we all sang along.
I want to remember that feeling, when a con ended but it seemed like the Show and the cons and the incredible family we’ve all built together would go on forever. When we weren’t yet faced with the reality that there is an ending and we now know when it will be. Throughout the weekend, our friend Alana King and Kim and I vlogged our experience for her YouTube channel, and I am so grateful. We were sleep deprived and hungry and exhausted from traversing the gigantic Gaylord Opryland again and again and we never did find time to take that river boat ride through the hotel, but we were giddy from the pure joy of being with SPNFamily and the Best Cast Ever.
We ended the day with our friends Alana, Shelley and Haley, making as many jokes as Jared and Jensen had onstage and constantly finding a reason to add in “That’s what she said” like the ridiculous people we are – and it was glorious. I want to hang onto that feeling of pure joy, because even when this is all over – and that will be quite some time from now – the people I’ve come to know and love and the inspiration I’ve taken from the Show and the actors will always be something to treasure. I’m feeling grateful that I have these articles and photos to remember the little things that time will try to erase. Because this Show and this fandom are special.
Nashville won’t let me forget that.
You can always remember how special
Supernatural’s actors and fans are with a
copy of Family Don’t End With Blood, the
book the actors and fans wrote. Links
on the home page!