Toronto is always a special place for the Supernatural gang to come back to. It was the con where long ago Jensen came back onstage after everything had wrapped up and picked up an acoustic guitar and sang a few songs for those of us lucky enough to still be in the ballroom. It was the con where Rob Benedict had his stroke, and his fellow Supernatural cast members saved his life. It was the con where, the very next year, Rob’s friends all put on a concert in his honor as he continued to recover and the Saturday Night Special started to become the emotional thing that it is today.
I love the hotel where it’s at and the hot dog carts and Tim Horton’s right outside and getting to see some fellow fans who I only encounter at this particular con. This year was no exception – and we got more Ackles songs, not exactly laid back and tentative anymore though.
Friday kicked off with Rachel Miner, as always. It’s a good way to start the day.
Rachel: I chose acting because it seemed like the best way to get to magical realms is the most Rachel Miner thing to say ever.
She also had some interesting things to say about the show and about the way in which fans interact with the show, which I always appreciate.
Rachel: I think Cas will be happiest if he feels he’s done some good in the world, so that’s what I want from him.
But she was quick to point out that’s her interpretation, just like the fact that she enjoys the idea of Megstiel.
Rachel: When it comes to shipping, my imagination is not your imagination, and it’s all okay. I like Meg and Cas together though!
And if you ship something that’s never on the screen?
Rachel: If you don’t like the way writers take something, you have the creativity to imagine the story the way you like it. When I was younger, I’d get very emotional about characters I loved, and that helped me.
My phone was on the wrong setting so I got absolutely no decent photos of Rachel, which makes me sad :/
Next up was Jason Manns. He and Rob and Billy did some Station Breaks, but at first Jason was oddly reluctant to hand over his guitar to Rob – turns out it was to cover up the sweat spot!
That threw Rob into a fit of laughter, which was adorable.
Rob and Jason were so pleased that some of us sang along to the “three ibuprofen headache” line in “Gone”, which was also adorable.
Then we had some Jason “quoncert”.
Jason on picking the songs for Covers With Friends: I keep a running tally of songs I think would be fun and who might sing them.
Next up were the OG Friday fluffers, Chad Lindberg and Gabriel Tigerman.
Gabe brought Mad Libs After Dark for us all to play and it was PRICELESS. I love that though everyone playing was an adult, we were all every bit as silly and filthy as when we all played Mad Libs as twelve year olds.
Gabe told some of his best stories (though not the five legged cow alas). Like that time a friend sent him some slash fic about Andy and Ash and he made the mistake of reading it at his mom’s house. Then he met Chad in real life later and was like oh god you’re the guy, umm…
Chad: Someone drew fan art of me and Gabe in a car together…
Gabe: Oh god, was I…?
Chad: Ash died way too fast.
He then reenacted Ash’s fiery demise lol.
Chad said that he was so over the top as Ash in his first scenes that he actually had to go back and reshoot some scenes to “tone it down”. Oh to see those early versions!
Gabe told the story of being on set watching Chad as Ash, and Jensen turned to him and said, “look at this guy, he’s like effing Jack Sparrow!”
Chad also told and acted out a real life horrifying ghost story that scared everyone – including Gabe.
They read the Mad Lib at the end of the panel, with Rob Benedict giggling and contributing the final noun: peepee!
We also had the dynamic duo of David Haydn-Jones and Adam Fergus on Friday. They got some good questions about the show and their characters.
Adam: it could be intimidating coming onto a set like Supernatural where everyone has been working together so long, but they make it comfortable. Jared pretended he couldn’t understand a word I was saying that first day.
On a serious note, David said that it’s so rare to have this level of engaged fandom and this level of kindness.
David: So give yourself a hand!
He appreciated how much fun the Supernatural set is.
David: Phil Sgriccia is still having the most fun and he gives you permission to play, and Jared and Jensen are still having fun too.
David and Adam both have an affection for their characters.
David: Ketch was a troubled aristocratic boy who was sent off to boarding school at a young age instead of given love – at age six – so they could harness his violent streak.
Adam: My character’s death came too quickly, but I thought it was a well done one.
The two have the kind of chemistry that Jared and Jensen have, and they aren’t afraid to have fun with that onstage.
David to Adam: I fell in love with you the first time I met you. Awww.
Rob came out in between panels forgetting he was wearing his glasses.
Rob: I can’t sing a rock song like that with these glasses on, it’s like dad rock. I was like oh shit, I’ve got my readers on!
Me: But….so hot…
Lisa, Kim and Briana were up next.
Kim was asked about the difference between the two sets of brothers she’s worked with.
Kim: Jared and Jensen don’t have an elevator and the ten year olds didn’t have motorcycles!
Kim was unabashed in her wish for what comes next: I want a Season 2 of Good Omens and I wanna be a demon.
Make this happen, universe!
Briana: My first con I stayed at the con hotel because I didn’t know people didn’t do that. I got in an elevator full of fans and nobody recognized me. They asked if I was here for the con and panicked and said “no, never heard of it, bye!”
Lisa: This is such a beautiful group of people. It’s like church for people who don’t go to church. I don’t want it to be one way, I want to give too.
Favorite lines were somehow all about Dean.
Briana: Stuff you, Dean!
Kim: Screw you, Winchester!
Lisa: Hey Dean…
Friday night I had a lovely dinner with my friend Sandra, who I met at my very first tiny Supernatural convention in Vancouver held in either 2006 or 2007, I can’t remember now. I love that I still know a bunch of those people from that first con – this time, Sandra and I spent some of the dinner trying to figure out how we’re going to deal with the loss of this show that has been such a big part of our lives for so long. We didn’t come up with any brilliant answers, alas.
The next day we got a panel of awesome with Ruth, Lisa, Briana and Kim. They had a great discussion about emotional vulnerability.
Briana: Why are we considering it a weakness?
Ruth: And it helps if men are allowed that too.
Fan: What makes a strong female character?
Ruth: Muscles! But I don’t think we always have to be strong, women are complex.
We had a few fangirl moments too.
Lisa fangirled over Terminator Linda Hamilton to the delight of her friends.
Ruth professed her teenage crush on Tom Cruise – and her current love of rice.
Kim set a goal to write a book, which she really should do. The chapter she wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood is one of the most powerful in the book.
Ruth said her goal was not to sing on key at the SNS but to commune with all of us. She writes about her anxiety about singing and how the SPNFamily helped in her chapter of Family Don’t End With Blood.
Richard came out to announce the next panel just as the conversation turned to Twatwaffles as the ladies’ band name.
Rich: I was about to come out onstage and I heard them talk about Twatwaffles and thought oh no, do I have to come out now??
We then were treated to a vendor room acoustic jam by Louden Swain, which always brings everyone together and puts smiles on everyone’s faces as we sing (and kazoo) along.
David and Adam did another panel on Saturday, and this one was so innuendo filled I could barely tweet it – I was literally laughing too hard.
David to Adam: Know what I’d love to do with you?
David: You have the filthiest minds! I love it.
David: You are all so into innuendo, all you need is halfway…
David: Just the tip…
Adam: You took that right out of my mouth….
Fan: I love your chemistry.
Adam and David: smooch
David on how Jensen has inspired him: I love the two handers….oh shit!
Adam: I hear you do need two…
Fan: What was your favorite scene to film together?
David: Oh no, I’m not touching that!
Adam: I liked the first scene we shot with Misha. My first introduction to shipping was the fan reaction when Mick Davies gave Castiel his number. Their love is a real thing.
David: So is the ship name Cavies??
We also got some fanboying in this panel, with David enthusing over Star Wars and Adam over Indiana Jones.
We have some fun to look forward to next year at the cons – David will perform George Michael’s ‘Faith’ at SNS and Adam will do some co-hosting of karaoke with Matt Cohen!
The R2 of R2M panel was next. Rich and Rob mimed the traditional Matt Cohen chair leap even though Matt was stuck in traffic and not there.
Rich and Rob were frankly hilarious trying to bluff their way through a question about The Empty lol
Favorite scene partners?
Rich: My favorite scene partner on Supernatural was me – kicking my own ass!
Rob also had both Richard and all of us cracking up with his endearing stories of how he animates his socks and shirts etc in his imagination and then worries about them being lonely, which is frankly the most Rob thing ever.
Matt Cohen finally arrived, harried and hatted.
Richard: You look like the generic villain on a procedural crime show.
Matt: I’m here to do bad things to you…
Rich: Um, no one is gonna complain about that…
What would Gabriel say to Chuck? Rich: I’m on the side of humanity, you should be nicer to Sam and Dean!
Matt: Supernatural hasn’t dwindled even a little bit. It’s going out like BOOM.
Rob: Supernatural in its form right now is lightning in a bottle. A phenomenon that isn’t going to happen again.
Also? Matt Cohen even looks adorable with hat hair.
Matt came with lots of love for Canada. He finished filming a movie last night and they brought in a poutine truck, much to his delight.
Misha Collins was up next, always a highlight of Saturday. And for Rob, who apparently smells really good.
They had just recently completed the charity pie-throwing etc. competition on the set, so Misha had some stories about that. And everyone in the audience wanted to ask him to prom thanks to the prom dress he wore for the charity thing.
Misha: Text me.
He told the story of how they all ended up in their outfits.
Misha: Jared and Jensen were like oh yes, give me the lederhosen to wear. I said, I want a prom dress! But we didn’t anticipate that it would get glitter EVERYWHERE.
Also Misha: The charity competition showed us a lot about our corporate culture. It’s any excuse to fuck around, we’re gonna take it.
Misha: For the pie challenge, me and Jared and Jensen asked the crew trivia questions about the show. One was ‘where do monsters go when they die?’
Misha: Yeah, none of us knew that. We were all like, really?
On a more serious note, he said that their cast, crew and fandom have an unusual dynamic. Most casts are really walled off, but they only have a partial wall.
He says he wants to take some time to decide what he’ll do next.
Misha: Last time I made an impulsive decision, I ended up on a show for twelve years!
He also shared some tidbits about the show, like that originally they were going to have Castiel singing Highway to Hell when he was babysitting, which was very challenging to sing a capella.
If Cas were to ever find his heaven?
Misha: I think heaven for Castiel would be feeling like he’s part of a family.
Misha also had some kind words for Jake Abel.
Misha: We’ve been shooting with Jake lately and I’ve been so impressed with him. His acting choices make what he says really believable. So we’ve all been like oh okay, I’ll learn my lines.
Perhaps the funniest moment was when Misha reenacted an interaction between Jared and director Richard Speight on set when Richard tried to give Jared a note. He was committed to that reenactment!
Saturday night was an unusually emotional Saturday Night Special. The SNS is always emotional, but Toronto was where Rob Benedict had his stroke six years ago, and that always adds an extra element to the con and especially to the concert. I still remember the concert the year after that, when all Rob’s friends showed up to perform in his honor while he continued to recover. And then the year after, his triumphant return, and all the tears that flowed. This year that anniversary was special again.
Rob talked about it, remembering how Richard and Jensen stayed with him that night (and essentially saved his life). Rob tells the entire story, moment by moment, in his chapter of Family Don’t End With Blood – I can’t think about it without tearing up, even now. We came so close to losing him.
Just after that, Jensen Ackles took the stage to sing ‘Simple Man’ and the crowd went wild!
He forgot the words in the middle and that only made the whole performance more endearing. He was laid back and relaxed, hand draped casually over the mic stand and making the song his own. And he didn’t have on a hat!! (I know there are plenty of people who love his hats, but I was ecstatic to see him come out sans hat for a change). The bandana I’ll take though. And those black jeans.
Jensen: Well, I probably should’ve rehearsed that one a little more than I did. But I feel like there were a couple of things in there we did right.
Rob: Well how ‘bout you stay on and do another one?
Jensen: Are we gonna do something new?
Jensen: Awww bring on the face melter!
Sometimes I see them up there rocking out and sounding so damn good and I marvel at how lucky we got with this show. Rob and Jensen singing their hearts out, Richard playing bass. So damn talented ON the show and so damn talented onstage too.
If that wasn’t amazing enough, he then sang a song I hadn’t heard before (‘Blow’) and turned into a rockstar right before our eyes! If we weren’t already thoroughly blown away, Ackles singing “Supernatural freaks” and pointing to the audience and then belting out the lyrics “Pull my trigger, let me blow your mind!” then let’s just say that did it all right. Minds blown. Lisa Berry joined him for the third verse, everyone rocked their assess off, and it was downright amazing.
My seat neighbor Caitlin and I were pretty much screaming our heads off (sorry about your video, Caitlin) but DAYUM. I won’t forget that performance any time soon.
Ruth Connell did a beautiful job with “Glory Box”, both the singing and the dancing. Sultry as hell.
Briana Buckmaster did “Black Horse and The Cherry Tree” which I have wanted her to sing since the first time I heard it.
Kim Rhodes sang ‘Just Like Heaven’ and put a smile on everyone’ faces.
Lisa Berry did “Feel Like Makin’ Love” with that powerhouse voice.
Jason Manns and Rob sang a beautiful duet of “Hallelujah”.
Richard Speight rocked out on “Copperhead Road”.
Adam Fergus joined the fun with some introductions.
Louden Swain played “She Waits” while the audience swayed lights in support of Rob and gratitude for him being here, and then the band and the cast rocked out with “Mama’s Jam”.
They also played “Angela”, which is a personal favorite, in addition to some of their other popular songs, and then did an encore of “Amazing”.
The rest of the cast joined in for “Hey Jude” and we all sang along to end the evening.
Take a bow, boys.
My roomies and I stayed up until ridiculous hours chatting about the concert and the con and feeling just plain lucky.
Sunday was, as a result, too early starting – but I began it right with a lovely breakfast with fellow author (NY Times bestselling author actually) Courtney Summers of ‘Sadie’ fame. Courtney and I shared an agent when I was writing Family Don’t End With Blood – and we’ve always shared a love of Supernatural. So it was wonderful to get a chance to hang out a little and talk both writing and our favorite show. If you haven’t read her book, what are you waiting for?
Then it was time for the Jared and Jensen gold panel.
Jared: This is our last first con after the premiere
Jensen: This is him for the last few months.
Someone suggested that Jensen should sing ‘Brother’ on the show before it ends, because that song is so relevant.
Jensen: Sure, the last episode will just be me singing ‘Brother’.
Jared: I’d watch that!
Me: Me too, 100%.
The oddest moment was when a fan warned Jared not to let the CW screw up the Walker Texas Rnager remake.
Jared: I wouldn’t fuck with Chuck Norris!
We also found out that Jensen’s dad was on the original!
Someone asked them to “show us your tats” referring to the new Basquiat crown tattoos they got at Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s wedding. Jensen immediately started unbuckling his belt, causing Jared (and the rest of us, who am I kidding?) to swoon.
They did then show off their new matching tattoos, saying that it’s for them as 3 kings but also W for Winchester.
Jensen and Jared: This is what happens when you go to your dad’s wedding.
It wouldn’t be a J2 panel without a reenactment.
This one was the time a breakaway pool cue did not break, and thus gave Jensen a real beating. Ouch. (In the upcoming episode with Christian Kane perhaps?)
Jared told a story about another ouchy time – when he had to keep climbing into a car through the window and kept bumping his head. Finally makeup person Jeannie reached out to comb through Jared’s hair and a piece of his scalp came right off! Serious ouch.
Caitlin asked them if they would still love us as the show ends and they go on to other things, and they gave a beautiful and heartfelt answer, saying that they didn’t need all sorts of awards and accolades, that the 15 years of success of the show was the best award.
Jensen: We’ll never forget you because you can’t, we’re here because of you.
We got a Ruth Connell between the gold and main J2 panels. Ruth loved the song that Jensen and Lisa sang the night before as much as we did, and also the beautiful rendition of Hallelujah by Jason and Rob.
A fan anointed Ruth the goddess of mischief at one point and I think that’s adorably fitting.
Ruth also told a hilarious story about saying a line in Latin last week and it somehow came out “vulva”. She tried to just keep going but Jared and Jensen were like, “what was that, Rowena?”
Ruth: I started to sweat so much I needed Jared’s fan!
Her favorite scene?
Ruth: When I had to squeeze Jared’s bicep all day and accidentally called him Jensen. He was so kind and said ‘no, he’s more muscular’.
On a more serious note, Ruth also summed up her appreciation of this show and cast.
Ruth: We have such an amazing cast and crew. The makeup woman whispers something supportive in my ear, or Jensen leans out of the way because I’m not in my spot, those little things.
Jared and Jensen’s main panel also brought a lot of laughs and also some genuine emotions. Jared didn’t have a chair when they took the stage, so Jensen got him one and set it up for him just the way he likes.
Jared immediately wrapped him up in a grateful hug.
They were frankly amazed at how many first timers were at the con.
Jensen: Where have you been?
Jared was very proud of his “Speighteen Takes” nickname for Richard, that ended up written on the door of his trailer.
Both ended up telling some quintessential dad jokes, but Jared didn’t get any rim shots for his.
At one point a 14 year old fan asked them for advice about boys.
Jensen: The popular boys are probably peaking right now. So go for the mathlete, they just keep on peaking (points at Jared).
It’s sometimes so obvious that they know just about everything about each other. Someone asked their first concert, and Jensen answered that his was Michael Jackson.
Jared (shocked): What? You never told me that!
At one point, Jensen spontaneously leaned in and whispered what was clearly a very dirty joke in Jared’s ear and they both laughed so hard that Jensen had to walk it off – or more like saunter, because he was clearly so proud of whatever it is he said.
I don’t know what these are, but you can just fill in your own captions. With as much innuendo as you want.
They were asked what were the hardest scenes to film, and they both said a scene that was hard for the other. Jared said that when Sam was supposed to be dead at the end of Season 2, at the end he could hear Jensen’s pain and tears, and that was so hard. Jensen said that he looked down and saw a tear leak from Jared’s eye and thought to himself, I’m doing this well.
Jensen said the hardest for him was the “I’m proud of us” death scene, because he could see how genuinely upset Jared was.
They both got emotional as a fan thanked them for being so real and building this SPNFamily.
As Jensen talked about what he’ll miss from Supernatural, Jared slapped him on the back in support.
Rob and Jensen sang their duet of “It’s the Last Question”.
They ended with the traditional fist bump, and the con itself ended then too.
Of course at some point there was “It’s The End Of The Con As We Know It” because otherwise it just wouldn’t feel right. And we were all happy to hear that there will be one more Toronto con next year. I’m sure it will feel very different after the show is over, but I’ll be glad to have one more Toronto reunion.