This is a tough time for everyone. For fans of Supernatural, it’s also the countdown to the ending of the show that has gotten us through our toughest times for the past fifteen years. I’ve seen the fandom and the cast come together online to try and offer ways to help each other get through this, from posting adorable family home videos to organizing rewatch parties to Stage It shows to virtual cons. For our part, we’re really hoping that our new book, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, that celebrates the legacy of Supernatural will also be a help to this SPNFamily we love.
We planned the book because we knew this would be a hard time for Supernatural fans and cast – hoping that a book to hang onto that celebrates the legacy of the show and its importance would be a help getting through. But we had no idea just how hard this time would truly be. Our hope is that getting There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done out in early May will be a bright spot for the SPNFamily both for the show’s ending and the painful position all of humanity is in right now. Preorder link is at the end – and you get some freebies right now to amuse you until the release date.
We’ll try to do our part here on the blog too, with more features from the new book and its authors – both cast and fans – in the coming weeks. Here’s our first offering of ‘bright spots’ to give Supernatural fans something positive to hang onto – our adventures at the last Supernatural convention for who knows how long, SPNVegas. And some pretty pictures.
Everyone knew that this year’s Vegas Supernatural con was going to be an emotional one. For one thing, there hadn’t been a con since November, so cast and fans and vendors were all missing each other a great deal. Even more impactful, this was the last convention during which Jared, Jensen and Misha were still filming Supernatural. The last con at which they still *were* Sam, Dean and Cas. (Or at least that was the plan – who knows what’s going to happen now!)
As I boarded my flight on Wednesday morning – more than two weeks ago as I write this – (clutching my hand sanitizer and incredibly thankful that there was no one sitting next to me), I kept thinking that this was the last convention that would be the same as all the ones before it. I’ve been going to these cons for 13 years, since 2007, and all this time, Jared and Jensen have been Sam and Dean. If you know me at all, you know that my questions are always show questions. I am always dying to know what they thought about their character’s emotional reaction to whatever was happening on the show, or what their head canon is about the latest episode. This would be the last convention where I could ask those sort of questions and still have ongoing canon to spool out before us. The last one in which the Winchesters’ and Castiel’s stories are not yet over; not yet fully told. At this point as I post this, we don’t know when they will actually be able to film the last two episodes, but it will certainly be different, and not something that happened organically, with the crew that has been family for fifteen years, in a continuous season of filming. There will never be a convention quite like this one ever again.
Like so many things I’m emotional about that have to do with my favorite show ending, it sounds silly to be so worked up about this kind of ‘never again’ – but it’s not. This show, these conventions, these actors, have been a big part of my life and the lives of most Supernatural fans – whether you’re there in person or not, everyone enjoys the panels and getting to know the cast of our favorite show better. And while some things won’t entirely change going forward, some most definitely will. There are cons planned throughout 2020 (assuming COVID19 allows any), but they will still be different. And now that the entire world is on the brink of apocalypse, I need the healthy escape and inspiration of my favorite fictional characters more than ever!
So let’s just say I arrived in Vegas already a bit teary eyed. It seems weird to write this now, only two weeks later, but at the time we didn’t know just how serious and widespread COVID19 would be. Nevertheless, I followed an air hugs only rule at the con, washed my hands constantly, and kept a bottle of hand sanitizer at my vendor table throughout the con. I’m now very glad I did!
Luckily my good friend Laurena met me at the airport so we could share this entire experience, and ensure that neither of us totally decompensated from being emotionally overwhelmed at some point. We caught an Uber and consoled each other with a plan of an afternoon lounging in the sun beneath the palm trees at the Rio’s beautiful pool. Ahhh, just what two people escaping from Philly and Chicago needed in early March!
I have a love/hate relationship with the Rio. It’s always where the Vegas con is, and that makes me fond of it in that nostalgic way I have of being fond of everything that’s familiar in my life and can anchor me to the good stuff. On the other hand, there was that year the entire bathroom overflowed with sewage in the middle of the night – literally bubbling up out of our sink and tub and toilet – that sent me and my roommates out onto the casino floor in our PJ’s with a luggage cart of all our hurriedly stacked up belongings to move rooms at 3 am. Not one of my best memories.
So when Laurena and I arrived and were informed that the pool was CLOSED, it was like a flashback to that earlier trauma. Closed??? For the entire time we’d be here? What’s worse, it wasn’t just the pool – it was the entire outside area. There was literally nowhere to sit outside and enjoy the Vegas warmth. We ended up sitting at the shuttle stop on a metal bench, feeling pretty forlorn, just to get some fresh air for a little while.
First it was the announcement that this would be a “no-touch” con, thanks to COVID19, which was upsetting to many fans who were looking forward to hugging their faves in a photo op, even if everyone was starting to understand that it was probably very necessary. Then no pool??
Late lunch at Hash House, which is always a treat, made us feel a bit better. Then it was time to open our table in the vendor room, and to reunite with all the awesome vendor squad people I hadn’t seen in way too long. I was so exhausted from the time change and travel that I almost crashed right after, but luckily I decided to join my friend Lisa and a bunch of her friends – all of them writers – for a late dinner. Well, really for some delicious milkshakes. YUM! And writing talk, which I always enjoy.
Thursday the convention itself kicked off. Vegas is four days long (five if you count Wednesday evening vending and events), so it’s really more like an endurance marathon. The walk to the convention area of the Rio is approximately ten miles long, so endurance really is the right word. My knees have still not recovered.
There were SO many friends at this con, and I’m so grateful I had the chance to catch up with so many people since I have no clue when we’ll all be together again. HR was there with his newest awesome sculptures – I’m always blown away by the talent in this fandom!
Can’t you just hear Jack saying “Hello…”?
Thursday kicked off the con itself. After an intro by Rob and the band, first up was a panel by DJ Qualls, who hasn’t been to a con in a while. It was wonderful to see him, and heartwarming to hear the SPNFamily’s enthusiastic support of DJ, who had recently come out as gay.
DJ: Everyone knows I came out, right? I really was never in to anyone who knew me. But I learned at the time I started in this business that Hollywood wanted you to be quiet about it.
He shared the whole story to lots of cheers.
There were also several stories that involved his penis – one where he had on the werewolf claws and had to pee (ouch) and another where as a little kid his mom told him to pee in a coke bottle and as soon as he started to go, it popped out and he peed all over his siblings and the car they were in.
DJ: Sorry, not all my stories will be about my penis…
DJ also talked about his recent episode, in which he and Jensen Ackles had to tap dance.
DJ: So a producer asks me, can you dance? I was like, I grew up a gay kid in the south, if I added dance, I would’ve been…. No!
They had only a few days to learn the tap dance, but DJ said that Jensen was a huge help.
DJ: I got there an hour after Jensen did, and he was already tap dancing. Did you know he used to be a cheerleader?
[Actually that was just for one game, but still…]
DJ: Jensen was my cheerleader in learning to tap dance. He’s just such a good man. I’ve been closer to Jared, we’re drinking buddies sometimes, but I have more chemistry onscreen with Jensen. At that moment, I fell in love with Jensen Ackles.
Everyone in the audience: Same, DJ. Same.
Friday also had a panel with Gil McKinney and Osric Chau. It was one of the early panels, so both were wearing gloves and trying to keep the recommended distance even onstage – but it was also clear that they were very glad to see each other!
I have missed Gil and Osric’s presence at cons so much, and it was wonderful to have them onstage again.
Osric and Gil reminisced about their very first panel together, which I was thrilled to be at. I remember them walking out together and sort of looking at each other in bewilderment, like why are we onstage together? But after that? It was an amazing panel, and the start of an adorable friendship.
Remember that time Osric came onstage cosplaying Ariel and Gil ended up dressing as the prince? Good memories…
I just saw Gil on my tv screen this past week, and Osric has been busy being a filmmaker. They’re two of my favorite people, Both Os and Gil wrote chapters in Family Don’t End With Blood about what the SPNFamily has meant to them and how it’s changed their lives and I love what they had to say. They talked about how grateful they were for this experience in the book, and also onstage in their panel. In fact, this con had almost all the authors from Family Don’t End With Blood in attendance – Rob Benedict, Kim Rhodes, Briana Buckmaster, Ruth Connell, Gil, Osric and Jared, Jensen and Misha all wrote chapters (as did Matt Cohen and Jim Beaver, who weren’t there, alas).
Rob Benedict played emcee as well as lead singer of Louden Swain all day, since Richard Speight was up in Vancouver directing Supernatural. He also shared the stage with Tim Omundson, who made his triumphant return to the cons with Vegas. Tim walked onstage himself and greeted the crowd, to a standing ovation.
Pretty sure I wasn’t the only one grabbing for my tissues as Tim stood looking out over the cheering crowd.
Rob to Tim (speaking for all of us): We missed you.
He spoke about having a stroke, and Rob replied, ‘same thing happened to me’.
Tim: Are we okay?
Rob: We are. We’re here.
I needed my tissues again then, I confess. So grateful to have them both with us. They also shared the surprising information that they have something else in common – they’re distantly related!
Tim said that his character Lassiter’s recovery in the new film Lassie Come Home is based on his own recovery and being in a halfway house for a while to learn independent living skills to be able to come home.
He also talked a bit about Galavant, another show I adored.
Tim: On Galavant, I had this huge horse. I knew how to ride, but this horse, when you pulled on the reins, was trained to rear up. Might have been nice to know that!
Fans were eager to ask questions about Supernatural too.
Fan: What would happen if Chuck and Cain got together?
Tim: Define got together…
Rob: I’m into it if you are. What happens in Vegas…
The unique panel was both amusing and touching, almost like we were eavesdropping on an intimate conversation between two people who very much understand each other.
Rob to Tim: From the beginning, you had such a sense of humor in the midst of all.
Tim to Rob: You were an inspiration for me. And the support I got from all of you [the fans] on Twitter was too.
Tim: We all have our own battles. I just hope I can help paddle. And whatever joy I’ve brought you, you’ve given me back 100 fold.
If you haven’t heard the full story of Rob’s stroke, which happened at a Supernatural convention, he takes you moment by moment through what happened to him in the chapter he wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood. I still cannot read it without tearing up.
Thursday night was dinner with Laurena, Alana, Lauren and SamSam (I think – the days have all run together at this point!)
There might have been more milkshakes.
And then SLEEP. Lauren looks way more wide awake than I was….
Friday was a jam packed day, which meant that Laurena and I ran back and forth between the vendor room and the ballroom trying to vend and cover panels all day – and which also means we didn’t get to eat or drink much. But we did meet lots of wonderful fellow fans and see some great panels!
Rob, as he introduced the first guests: You’re calling this #CroatoanCon2020? You guys win.
Also Rob in glasses and the new Swain tee shirt!
David Haydn-Jones and Adam Fergus kicked off the day with their boundless energy and sense of humor – and their ever present chemistry. David showed up in a hazmat suit, as Mr. COVID Haydn-Jones – and Adam soon helped him divest himself of it. (After some sort of dance routine I can’t recall now but made for some interesting photos…)
David: I’ve sprung a leak!
I’m writing this after Supernatural suspended production over a week ago, so at this point I’ve lost any sense of humor I might have had about COVID19 – it’s been replaced by way too much fear and anxiety and worry about everyone, both cast and crew and fans and humanity in general. But at the time, we didn’t quite know how bad it was. Or we were in denial.
Meanwhile, Adam’s shirt pretty much said it all.
Adam: I think this shirt just sends such an important message.
They answered some questions about their characters and arcs on the show.
Adam: Yes, I do think Mick in the AU would be pissed that Ketch didn’t look for him. But I loved my character’s arc.
David: When they said they wanted me to play “old school posh” at the call back for Supernatural, I wore a tux and based Ketch a bit on my posh Uncle – with a bit of John Cleese thrown in.
Both felt they’d had some input into their characters – which they write about in their chapters in the new book, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done.
Adam: The writers do look at the dailies and what you’ve done with the character. They don’t know where you’re going to take the character at the beginning either, so it’s a feedback loop.
Adam and David have great chemistry together, which makes their panels very enjoyable to watch.
Never mind, dont…
Someone asked what was the most evil thing that Jared or Jensen did to them?
David: I don’t know if it was the most evil thing he did, but Jared’s farts are kinda legendary.
Adam told the story of a prank that Jared played on him that involved pretending to be unable to understand him because of his (lovely) Irish accent.
Jason Manns took the stage next, singing Wagon Wheel with the Station Breaks to kick things off.
Jason: Thanks for coming all the way down from your hotel room for my “quoncert”. Which in this hotel is about 7 miles.
Me and my aching knees: Accurate.
Jason: As you know, it’s very common in Hollywood to do 100 conventions after you’ve had 14 seconds of a song in one episode of a show 10 years ago…
A fan asked, if Jensen asked Jason to do a part in a film, would he act again?
Jason: I’d punch him in the face! (laughing) No, of course I would do that if he asked.
He played us some beautiful songs too, as always.
We also had a panel with Grey DeLisle (Daphne on ScoobyDo) – she did both a solo panel and another in which she teamed up with Matthew Lillard, who also did a solo panel at some point, but they’re all blended together now. With all the (bad) news that has happened in the past week, it seems like Vegas con was about a billion years ago, honestly.
Grey has voice acted about a million characters.
Grey: I had to entertain myself a lot as a kid, so I did voices. I also entertained myself doing prank calls as a teenager. I feel bad about it now!
When she took over the role of Daphne, she was at first reluctant, because the woman who played her before was a good friend and had passed away. Over time, though, Grey said she let more of her personality come through – so Daphne got more snarky.
On Scooby Do:
Grey: Since I didn’t get the Supernatural guys, I guess it’s back to Fred. I wanted there to be an episode where Fred proposes and Daphne says no. She’s an independent woman who’s a ghost hunter.
Matthew has also been on a ton of shows, and was tremendously popular with the Supernatural audience.
Matthew: I play a lot of bad guys. Which is weird because I think I’m a nice guy!
He actually really is. He told a story about having to put his beloved rescue dog (Mirth, I think, who he rescued at 22 and had for 17 years) to sleep that didn’t leave a dry eye in the house. And his autograph line? Was literally down the hall and around the corner!
Grey said she actually sort of knew Misha before doing Scoobynatural.
Grey: So Misha Collins is a dad at my kids’ school, and I just thought he was like, the hot dad. When I got the Scoobynatural part, I was like, oh hot dad is in that!
Matthew: I had no idea that Scoobynatural was going to be so big and so well received.
Also Matthew: Do the Supernatural guys ever take their shirts off? They are dreamy…
We also had a panel on Friday of Chris Gauthier (Ronald Reznick), DJ Qualls (Garth), Osric Chau (Kevin Tran) and Gil McKinney (Henry Winchester).
As I walked in, Chris was talking about working with Tom Welling on Smallville.
Chris: First time I worked with Tom Welling, I was like, wow this guy is beautiful!
Clearly a man with good taste. And eyes.
Chris about Ronald: Ronald would love to be a detective. You remember all those maps he had on the wall!
Chris said he was up against the guy who says “okey dokey” in his audition for Supernatural, and that it was really cool filming in that bank – because it’s the one he actually banks in in Vancouver! He also has lots of friends on the Supernatural crew, so it was great being on the show.
Gil answered a fan’s question by saying he’d love to be cast as a superhero, but he’d probably be a villain.
Osric: (shocked) WHAT??
Chris: I played the Toy Man on Smallville. I love playing a villain!
Osric told a very funny story about the time he was in China and then flew back for an audition, and since they knew he had flown in from China they were like, wow, your English is great!
Gil told an equally funny story about doing a hot tub scene and the guy was supposed to be totally hairy, so he had to wear an entire hair suit. Eww?
Osric also talked about producing his first film, Empty By Design. He felt so burned by his previous project that he just wanted to do it on his own. They flew one way to the Philippines with no money to make the film, and raised it all within two weeks.
Gil: (heartfelt) Proud of you, buddy.
DJ chimed in about how wonderful it was to pull together all the creative people around you and make your own projects.
He also answered a few questions about Supernatural Season 15.
Someone asked DJ about the scene where Garth’s kids are named Sam and Cas. And not Dean.
DJ: Garth is actually closer to Dean, so we thought it would be funny if his kids were Sam and Cas.
[Me: Nope. Not really that funny.]
DJ: Those kids were great actors!
Julian Richings also did a panel on Friday, the original Death on Supernatural. I love how much Julian loved his character.
Julian: I didn’t deliberately do this, but I brought the way I look and the way I talk to the role – I’m a fussy old guy, just ask my family! Even though Death is an iconic character, on Supernatural he’s surprisingly also gentle and sassy. It makes the character much more interesting.
How would he have liked to come back to the show?
Julian: I’d like to surprise Dean. Like he’s walking along the road and there’s a banana peel and I’m like, remember me?
But Julian also had some very kind words for his fellow actors.
Julian: We all admire Jensen for many things. He’s cute, yes, but he’s also a very good actor. So is Jared. They can play all the notes. Jensen was very good at portraying Dean’s fear in that first scene I had with him, so I could trust him to put that out there. To create an effective scene, look at the person listening. The boys are always making the other actors look good, and that’s the mark of a good actor.
Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster also did a Friday panel, and also talked about working with Ackles.
Briana (impersonating Kim) answering a question about that scene where vampire Dean bit her neck: If there’s one thing I know about Jensen, he likes a good veiny neck. So that vampire Dean scene… you know how he makes my upper lip sweat? Well now it’s his turn!
Kim (actual Kim): What I heard while filming that scene was “someone get the hot sauce!”
They also gave us the surprising news that if Wayward the spinoff became a series, Donna was going to be turned into a vampire!
And Kim told an amusing story about being in the car with Jensen and wanting to put on the seatbelt. He had to reach over her to fasten it, naturally, but all she could think about was safety despite that.
Later Jensen said he thought that was the first time that seatbelt has ever been used!
If you haven’t listened to Kim and Briana’s Wayward Podcast, it’s excellent. Give it a listen!
Also Kim’s outfit. Want.
Briana: It has never been a challenge for Kim and I to talk openly. The podcast can feel like therapy.
It really can.
I was so exhausted on Friday night that after a lovely dinner with friends, they headed down to catch the end of karaoke and I headed upstairs to crash into my bed and instantly pass out. Maybe it was the ten mile walk to and from the convention center section??
Saturday was another jam packed day. Ruth Connell was first up – I always very much enjoy her panels. I came in a little late thanks to working in the vendor room, so I missed whatever question prompted this, but Ruth was talking about killing Jensen Ackles slowly by tickling him with a feather. Or maybe she was talking about Dean. And Rowena. I honestly don’t know but I’m damn sorry I missed the rest of it…
Ruth took a minute to make Mike and Rob’s days, then took to the audience to greet everyone, as she often does.
She stopped to sign her name with the awesome con interpreters who worked tirelessly throughout the convention, always with enthusiasm and good humor. Shout out and thanks!
Someone in the audience gave her a crown, which she wore for the rest of the panel, as the Queen of Hell should. Ruth also shared some behind the scenes tidbits and glimpses into Rowena’s complex psyche.
What does Rowena dream about?
Ruth: Muscular oiled torsos…dungeons…chocolate…
Who would be a consort for Rowena?
Ruth: I mean, if Michael Fassbender was around… I think she’d just have boy toys.
(I love Ruth’s crush on Fassbender, ngl)
She shared that Rowena’s throne is actually made of molded polystyrene.
Ruth: I have to try not to put my foot right through it! And it’s scaled for me, so my feet can hit the floor.
It’s that kind of care that makes Supernatural so unique.
Ruth: My look for the Queen of Hell was a great collaboration. They even made me custom fitted snake rings, and wanted my input on her hair and costume.
She also shared some touching stories about filming the episode in which Rowena sacrifices herself and dies.
Ruth: We went out to dinner the night before Rowena’s scene with Sam when she died, and Jared was so committed. He said, ‘let’s make this count.’ The night before he texted me such a supportive message. I’m kinda protective of him, we’ve supported each other.
Next up was the threesome of David Haydn-Jones, Adam Fergus and Gil McKinney.
Adam said he made the mistake of having Osric play a hand of poker for him at the casino the night before. Uh oh, Osric, what happened? I guess what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Gil said he’d still love to do a musical in NY, and they all talked about how different and difficult it was to make it in NYC.
David: You walk outside and it’s like, I’m surfing humanity today!
All three had lovely things to say about being on Supernatural.
Gil: You have to appreciate an opportunity like Supernatural. I don’t take it for granted – it’s one of the best experiences of my life.
Adam: What I’ll take from Supernatural are the friends I’ve made.
David: I loved doing the fights on Supernatural. I had great dance partners and the fight coordinators are incredible. (Shout out to Rob Hayter!)
Gil: I’m so grateful to be here – and for all of you.
Adam: This is so special. I don’t think it will ever happen again.
David: I once asked Jared, why is everyone on this show so great? He said I don’t know – but it’s true.
Kim and Briana did another panel on Saturday, and were asked how it was for them to not have the proposed Wayward spinoff go forward. Kim acknowledged that she was still salty about Wayward, especially in view of the realities of the industry. Briana said she was very glad to be with her fellow convention actors when she found out.
Briana: Jason Manns was like, you can be angry or sad or whatever, and we’ll stay here with you.
SPNFamily for real.
Kim gave a tearful shout out to Pink for inspiring her daughter, saying that she was also such a fan of “all of you” – and of Briana.
Kim: The sex talk at the dinner table with Jared and Jensen.
Briana: When Kim and I were in the back seat of Baby and laying down all the fart jokes and Jensen and Jared were like, more of this please!
Briana: They weren’t actually fart jokes…
I don’t know what Briana was singing here, but I just kinda love these photos, so…
We then had the treat of an unusual panel – Rob Benedict and Jake Abel. Jake was replacing Matt Cohen, who wasn’t able to be at the con, and Richard Speight wasn’t there yet either, so it was just the two of them. Which ended up being a really insightful conversation!
The two actually did a sci fi show together in 2005 called Threshhold, which was news to me!
Someone asked if they were religious and if they ever worried if they were going to hell for Supernatural, which was an unusual question. (Luckily, no).
Rob lamented how much people hate him now for playing the much-hated Chuck.
Jake (attempting consolation): Maybe when you’re a really good actor, people hate you for your character.
Rob (wryly): That’s what you tell yourself…
They also had kind words for their Supernatural directors.
Jake said how wonderful it was to be directed by Richard Speight, Jr.
Rob added that he had a great experience working with Jensen as a director.
Jake: Even early on, I knew he’d be a great director.
It has also been fun for them acting with him.
Rob: I’m a 5’ 7” nerd, so it’s fun to stand up to Jensen and then toss him across the room. Then I’m like, I’m sorry Jensen!
They are both too adorable.
Matthew Lillard and Grey DeLisle came back to do another panel too. Grey said that when they’re recording Scooby Do, she’ll be on her phone in between lines and lose track of where they are and then Matthew will tap her to remind her on those lines.
Matthew: It’s every line, actually…
The twosome are very relateable.
Grey: You know when you meet a celebrity and you try to make words and you’re like *^^%$#?
Everyone in the entire room: YES.
Grey: Misha Collins came into the green room and saw me and was like, it’s been so long! And I was like, OMG the hot dad remembers me!
Matthew and Grey thanked the fans for the warm welcome: This fandom is so generous.
Mark Pellegrino did his first panel in a long while on Saturday as well and answered lots of Lucifer questions.
Mark: I think Lucifer did want to give Jack what he didn’t get from his own father, but it was intermingled with a desire for power. Lucifer also had a real beef with God – now you know, God sucks!
Mark said there were some times when the writers wrote lines for Nick that were very Lucifer, and he had to say, that’s not really Nick, that’s more like Lucifer. (It was confusing for everyone, for sure).
Whose portrayal of Lucifer did he like best?
Mark: I really liked Misha’s portrayal. And the guy who played the president. He was so virginal!
(Not a big fan of Rick Springfield’s portrayal, he said)
Mark also talked about that recent fight scene with Jared.
Mark: He’s a massive guy – he dented the side of the car!
There was a person asking the recurring question to all the guests about which actors would play which parts in Rocky Horror.
Mark: The rockstar here (Rob) would be Riff Raff. And Jared is definitely Rocky!
Mmm, now that I would pay to see.
Misha Collins was up next, to a cheering ballroom. He shared an air kiss with Rob.
Misha: The no touch rule has created a lot of intimacy between us…
Some of the panel was irreverently funny, as Misha’s panels often are (Something I enjoy)
Fan: Angels can see demons’ true faces. What did Cas see in demon Dean?
Misha: (deadpans) Jared
He said his new dog, Hazel, is a ‘hand me down animal’ and is very cute.
Misha: She’s also obsessed with my face (licking it)
Somehow a question about his cookbook ended with “Sam and Dean on top”.
Misha: (quips) They’re both bottoms.
Misha hasn’t said exactly what he’s doing after Supernatural, as a fan pointed out.
Fan: You’ve said you don’t know what you’re doing after Supernatural….and I don’t believe you.
Misha: (cracks up)
Misha: I am interested in politics.
Seriously, I’m on board.
A lot of Misha’s panel was uncharacteristically emotional, though. Misha was exhausted after an absurdly long “Fraturday” – and then the plane that he, Jensen, Alex and Richard were on coming to the con had an engine explode and had to turn back and make an emergency landing. Needless to say, poor Misha was frazzled and thus without much emotional regulation. Understandably. (Which put him right where most of us in the audience were too).
Misha: I try to always pay for the person behind me at the local coffee shop. I’m buoyed by that and by when someone did it for me recently. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all did that for each other?
He was also very emotional about the show.
Misha: There are already tears on set, and I think there will be a lot of tears when you see the end. It’s both sad and redemptive, I think.
Me: (grabs for tissues)
Misha: We shot a really emotional scene last night. All these lasts are so hard.
He then attempted to interject some humor…
Misha: Aww, this is the last time Jared will fondle my balls with a broom handle…
But the emotionality was undoubtedly real.
Misha: This is the last con when the show is still filming. We’re starting the saying goodbye process, and it’s really hard.
Damn. Now there’s something in my eye again…
Misha really needed a hug from Rob by the time the panel ended.
After Misha’s emotional panel, we all went out to have some dinner – I think this was the night that Lauren had a horchata cocktail and I desperately wanted one (because, come on, horchata!) but knew I’d just fall asleep if I drank anything, so I had to put it off. With difficulty!
Luckily the food was delicious.
The SNS was also extra emotional – which is really saying something, since it is ALWAYS emotional! Once again, I kept thinking about how this was the last SNS when Supernatural was still filming, last SNS when things were still as they have been for all these years of cons. I should probably try to stop thinking about that, but it’s difficult!
Richard joined the party on Saturday night, to lots of cheers from the crowd. And performed one of the songs from his kickass new CD too!
Rob (and all of us) were so happy to have him there.
Briana had been unable to sing at the last convention back in November, so this SNS also marked her return to singing at SNS – and wow, did she bring the house down!
Ruth was gorgeous both visually and in her singing, mesmerizing everyone.
Kim also kicked ass – when she sings one of her favorite songs, her joy in the music and in being there to share it with us is infectious. Puts a smile on my face every time.
David Haydn-Jones made his SNS singing debut with George Michael’s ‘Faith’ and also brought the house down – once again, I swear this show casts people after making sure they can sing!
And last but not least, Gil McKinney returned to the SNS, his voice as beautiful as ever and as full of emotion (and his sense of humor intact after a restart with the band lol).
Of course, Louden Swain kicked it from beginning to end, from some new songs and some rocking out to emotional renditions of ‘Amazing’ and ‘Mama’s Jam’ with Billy and Rob’s guitars wailing.
The encore brought everyone onstage to join in – including Jake Abel singing along. We had all missed the Saturday Night Special, and it felt so good to have it again – who knows when the next time will be!
Sunday morning I got up early to have breakfast at the Hash House with my friends Wendy and Becca, who I always look forward to seeing at Vegas con. I feel so lucky to still be friends with people I met when I first discovered this amazing fandom, so many many years ago. I also had a banana something pancake that was as big as my head. No, seriously.
Then it was time for the J2 gold panel. Someone asked Jensen about his tap dancing scene in a recent episode, and he echoed what DJ Qualls had said a few days earlier.
Jensen: So Andrew Dabb called and was like, hey man, can you dance? DJ and I had like a few hours to learn that!
Jared and Jensen were also emotional about both being away from conventions for so many months and about the show ending.
Jared: I missed this!
Jared said that he had gotten emotional on Jensen’s birthday too.
Jared: I wanted to send a birthday wish to my boy here, and then I thought about how many birthdays I’ve spent with this guy… and it hit me.
(If you haven’t seen the photo Jared posted for Jensen’s birthday, of an emotional moment shared at their last photo shoot as Sam and Dean, have your tissues ready when you read it. And Jensen’s reply).
Jensen said that they’d just gotten the full script for the last episode.
Jensen: I tried to read it out loud, and I didn’t make it through one page. This is the most consistent thing in my life for this long…
They both talked about how much they’ll miss both their own characters and each other’s.
Jared: I’m drawn to people like Dean in real life, and I’ll miss that a lot.
They recognize that this really has been lightning in a bottle.
Jensen: I created a headspace for myself to be Dean, that I didn’t realize was there until I directed. We find a lot of the magic because Jared and I are available for it.
They’re also very aware of how much they’ve gained from the experience of playing Sam and Dean for fifteen seasons.
Jensen: There’s so much that he and I have learned together throughout this whole process. Growing not only as human beings, but as professionals and also with these characters. We’ve been able to unpack these guys for 15 years, and there’s a ton that I will miss about playing Dean next to his Sam, and what that chemistry was. One thing is he brings this amazing kind of straight man humor to Sam that bounces great with Dean’s idiocy sometimes. And I’m gonna miss doing something as Dean and looking over at him and seeing the Sam Winchester eyeroll.
Jared: I think, from what I’ve seen on the interwebz, it’s his bitchface. Every morning I’m gonna be brushing my teeth and be like ah, I gotta text Ackles. (makes bitchface into phone)
Then they both answered more seriously.
Jared: I’ve learned from this that I can keep going.
Jensen: I’m proud of what we’ve built, that brings us all together.
Jared: I’m happy we had this – but I’m very sad.
Me: (needs tissues)
After the gold panel, Alex Calvert had a panel – it was so nice to see him again! He got a lot of questions about his scenes as Jack. What was his favorite thing to film?
Alex: I liked playing Jack when he was very confused about his lineage, and we didn’t know if he’d go darkside or not.
Alex: Jack gets a spinoff set in Hawaii. Cas wears a trench coat – just a trench coat.
He laughed, then gave his real answer.
Alex: No, really I want Jack just to find his place in the universe.
He said he shot Jack’s nude scene in July, so it wasn’t too chilly, but he once did a film in Vancouver in March where he had to jump into a freezing swimming hole partially clothed.
Alex: They said, “look like you’re warm.” I was like, what, unsharpen my nipples??
He also talked about some of his more difficult moments. Like being in the Ma’lak box.
Alex: They did let me out between takes. Then Mark Pellegrino and I had a double box to hang out in. It seems like I always hang out with dudes on the show…
And finally, the most difficult thing of all – being dogpiled by all his costars.
Alex: My thought process when they dogpiled me? I’m gonna kick Misha in the nuts! I mean, I got crushed by three grown men.
Poor Alex. He’s a trooper.
Then there were photo ops with various people – photo ops were no-touch at this con, which made for a lot of innovative poses. Alana and I let Jared and Jensen see an Advance Review copy of There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, but they couldn’t steal it this time because – no touch! Hah! (Jared ran off with the Advance Review copy of Family Don’t End With Blood when it came out. I’d rather them wait and have the version with all the pretty pictures in it!).
Also, Alana got all emotional seeing her chapter in print for the first time, which warmed my heart. (She wrote her heart out, fyi – it’s a beautiful chapter titled “Always Keep Fighting”.) I can’t wait for everyone to read it!
I also jumped into an op with my friend Sue, which is always a treat to be able to do ops with friends. (Shout out to Sue and company for helping me not lose my mind in the vendor room, especially when my phone kept losing ITS mind in the middle of vending!)
And then it was time for the Jared and Jensen afternoon panel. They took the stage and immediately went right to the emotional.
Jared and Jensen: This is the last con when we’re still filming as Sam and Dean.
Me: I knowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!
To say that got me emotional would be an understatement.
Some of the questions were lighthearted, as though everyone knew we all needed a break to just enjoy this panel for a while. What’s on their bucket list as far as places they’d like to go but haven’t been yet?
Jensen: Iceland is high on my bucket list. Just seems like a mythical place.
All fans in Iceland: Tour guide here!
Jared: I’d love to go to Lawrence (Kansas). I feel a connection.
[Jensen made a pilgrimage there earlier this year, and it was clear he felt the same – as do many of us.]
Jared said that Sam is the Luke Skywalker character on purpose (per Kripke), while Dean is more Han Solo. He then talked about Joseph Campbell and archetypes, which…mmm… I do like it when Jared lets his considerable smarts show.
(He added that since he’s a tall hairy guy, Sam would also have to be a wookie…)
Jensen: And given Dean’s diet, he’d probably have to be Jabba.
Jared: Dean the Hut? And obviously Castiel would be Princess Leia. He’s got the outfit already.
Jensen: And the legs!
If there was a different theme song for the show?
Jared: Let it go?
Jensen to Jared: You really get me.
Probably the most hopeful questions was, will there be a Supernatural movie once the show ends?
Jensen: I don’t know. But we’re game.
Literally everyone: PLEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAASE!
That might be a bigger hope than ever, now that we don’t know how they’ll finish up the show itself.
One of the most hilarious parts of the panel was Jared and Jensen’s attempts to freestyle, which mostly consisted of Jensen periodically saying “Yo” into the mic and Jared and everyone else cracking up.
Another was when a fan asked if they had a “hall pass”, who would it be, adding “boy or girl”?
Jensen did a double take, while Jared had a follow up question: “Which hall?”
That was hilarious enough, but he then turned to Stephen Norton anticipating a drum beat. When he didn’t get one he complained about “not even getting a rim… shot…”
Jensen LOST it, staggering up from his chair and laughing so hard he ended up curled up on the floor while Jared hid his face in mock shame.
Jared finally answered the fan’s question, unrepentant: Stephen Norton.
OMG these two. I laughed so hard I had tears running down my face. I honestly can’t help it, I love when they get a little dirty. Apologies to those who don’t.
(I have no clue what they were whispering about, but I generally assume it was something dirty…)
At some point, Jensen confessed that he fell down the rabbit hole of some advertisement that combined donuts and fried chicken.
Jensen: Pulls a picture up on his phone.
But the most hilarious part, by far, was the now famous “Hi I’m Kirby” story courtesy of Jensen – who is, if you haven’t realized it yet, a master story teller. He got up and acted out most of the Kirby story, nailing his imitation of the extremely inebriated young woman he met at a social event at the winery down the road from the brewery last weekend. Kirby was being tended to by two paramedics, who gasped as Jensen walked by. They respected his privacy with his family and didn’t come over, but their patient – who probably was trying to do a thoughtful thing in her inebriated state – walked right over and introduced herself.
Jensen: (in a perfectly hilarious imitation as he gets up and reenacts the scene) Hi, I’m Kirby. I’m from South Carolina.
She went on to say ‘I don’t know who you are but my friends over there want a picture.’
A few minutes later she returned with the embarrassed paramedics and walked right up to Jensen, who had tried to remove himself from his kids when he saw her heading his way.
Kirby: Hi, I’m Kirby.
Jensen: Wait…let me guess…South Carolina.
At which point, Kirby passed out and fell over, skirt up, legs akimbo, the whole picture.
Jensen to the paramedics: She’s all yours.
The entire audience, and Jared and the band onstage, were laughing so hard we were crying. You need to find it on youtube and watch it because it is priceless!
After the last question and the last question song with Jensen and Rob singing along, there was a surprise birthday cake for Jensen delivered by the unflappable Jen.
And then the last panel that Jared and Jensen will do while the show is still filming came to an end.
There were a few more moments of joking around…and adorable giggling…
They did their traditional fist bump, which is how Jared and Jensen have ended their panels for quite some time. It’s a tradition for them, and something I always look for – makes it seem like all is right with the world. And always makes me feel emotional.
There’s gratitude in it, to each other, and mutual respect, and an acknowledgement that sometimes there’s alot on their shoulders, but they’ve always gotten through it together. You can see it, in just this small gesture.
And then – as has been the case with the most recent cons – Jared and Jensen collided together in an emotional hug. Jared sort of ducked himself down and launched himself into Jensen, and I couldn’t help but think he was making himself the “little brother”, like Sam sometimes does with Dean. For them, it’s their last panel when they still ARE Sam and Dean, and that hug seemed to encompass all their emotions about that fact.
I think my pictures are blurry because my eyes were.
That time my tears weren’t from the hilarity, but from the simultaneous strong emotions of gratitude for having this for so long and grief at knowing that part of it is ending.
I think all of them – especially Jared, Jensen and Misha – felt the same.
The day – and the con – ended with a Rob and Rich panel, which again had both comedy and feelings.
Someone asked about things done in photo ops, and they shook their heads in mock dismay.
Rob: We unfortunately have photographic evidence of what we’ve done in photo ops…
So politics are out then?
We also got to hear the hilarious story of their most embarrassing photo op, which I’ve heard before, but honestly? It never gets old. Much like the train story or the “there was only one bed” story – the real life version, not the fan fic version.
In this story, a fan who didn’t speak English instead tried to mime what she wanted them to do, which pretty much looked to them like they were pleasuring two dudes at once. When they balked (and blushed), she came back with something about “being tired” and they belatedly realized she actually wanted them to yawn.
There were a few good questions for Richard about directing Supernatural, and about the episode Stuck In The Middle With You.
Rich: Stuck In The Middle With You is a great episode by Davy Perez. It felt like a western, and I had a great time playing with that.
Richard also gave us more information about the engine failure on their plane as they were headed to Vegas. One of the engines exploded, and it was a fairly serious situation, though the crew and pilot were trained for it and smoothly handled the emergency.
Rich: The engine of our plane exploded. It had been an emotional day on set already. So for Jensen, Misha, Alex and me, we had a four way bonding session. If something like that had to happen, I’m glad it was those guys I was with.
SPNFamily for real.
Rich: Both Jensen and I called our wives after, and they both said ‘get back on the plane and go to Vegas.’ So we did.
We were all grateful they were okay – talk about an emotional con!
Vegas 2020 wrapped with the traditional singalong of ‘It’s The End Of The Con As We Know It’, but that took on a whole new meaning knowing that it literally was.
After autographs with Jared, Jensen and Alex and some lovely conversations with them, Laurena, Alana, Lauren, SamSam and I packed up my vendor table and wearily headed to the take out place for a slice of pizza and then to the restaurant that had those delicious horchata cocktails I’d been craving. By the time we got there, they informed us that they were closed, instigating a near meltdown on my part. But wait! The lovely hostess said we could get our horchata cocktails to go, so that’s what we did.
And yes, they were bliss!
We all piled into Laurena and my hotel room, kicked off our shoes and sipped our cocktails and just talked Supernatural into the late night hours. There were laughs, there was kvetching, there were heartfelt expressions of gratitude – but mostly laughs. Who cared that I had to get up at 5 am to catch a flight home??
It’s been two weeks since Vegas, and the world has changed unbelievably since that time. It’s hard for me to believe we really had that con, since we are now all isolating and sheltering in place. I’m grateful that I had that time with my SPNFamily, and hope that everyone is safe and well (and hunkered down too).
We don’t know what will happen as far as Supernatural filming its final episodes, or when conventions will be able to return. But Supernatural itself returned with a new episode last week, for which I was also very very grateful. We all need our favorite fictional characters and the escape of their fictional world now more than ever. I must admit, it makes me even more apprehensive about its upcoming ending, whenever that might be. But for now, I’m enjoying what I have – and I hope this article and the new book that comes out soon are another bit of escape that we all need!
You can preorder There’ll Be Peace When
You Are Done: Actors and Fans
Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural,