Once again, I’m keeping my resolve to document everything that happens in the final months of Supernatural – the things that make me cry, the things that make me dance around my kitchen with joy, the things that leave my head spinning because I have so many conflicting emotions. Hopefully it will help you too to make sense of all the feelings we’re invariably having about the ending of this show so many of us love.
The plan for today was to finish an article about another show and then to sit down and write about Jared and Jensen (and some other cast members) going back to film the very last two episodes of Supernatural. I knew it would be an emotional day – for them and also for us – as is every “last” that comes along for this show I have loved so much for so long. I knew I’d send them messages to “kick it in the ass” and hope that they feel joy in putting on Sam and Dean’s flannels and boots as well as some bittersweet sorrow knowing this is their last return from hiatus to become the Winchesters again.
The Powers That Be are keeping it under wraps as to when Misha Collins returns, or if – but I’m going with when until we know otherwise. Jared and Jensen joined Misha for a panel discussion with Senator Cory Booker and MJ Hegar from Texas last week to talk about the importance of voting – but the panel got hijacked temporarily by Booker, who is a huge Supernatural fan.
Cory: Screw you, Misha, I’ve got questions! (about the show)
Misha threw his head back to laugh so hard he nearly fell off his chair. It was wonderful to see how thrilled J2M were to realize that their little show has had such an impact even on someone as influential as Cory Booker, who referred to them as “his heroes”. I loved what Cory had to say about how important the art and media we love is and how much it inspires us, and the story MJ told about how Supernatural got her through some tough times. They clearly get it, and it was wonderful to watch J2M take that in and feel good about what they do.
Cory taking out his phone to take a picture of them all onscreen, unabashedly embracing his inner fanboy, was priceless.
Misha also did a panel for an online ReedPop convention a few days ago and said he had intended to take a sort of sabbatical once filming ended, giving him some time to reflect before taking auditions and maybe figuring out what he wants to do “when I grow up”. Of course, that didn’t happen – the pandemic happened instead. That’s left all of them, he said, feeling adrift because they started to mourn the ending of the show during this break – which must make it difficult to return and put those costumes on again. Misha hasn’t committed to what he’s doing next, but he has a lot of irons in the fire – a book of poetry, two true stories optioned, and his interest in politics very much on the forefront.
Misha said his favorite episode was 15.18, the last episode they shot before the shelter in place order. Many fans speculate that it’s in episode 18 that something big happens to Castiel, so that was both a hopeful and an ominous answer. They’re keeping it under wraps as to whether Misha is in Vancouver now in quarantine – my best guess is that while Cas may not be in episode 19, he will be in the series finale, episode 20. In some way!
The moderator also asked if Cas fans be satisfied with the ending of the show?
Misha: I don’t know, how do you define satisfied? It’s poignant. It will be both a sad and a proud moment.
Will there be room for a spinoff?
Misha: I don’t think so? Resurrection is always possible, you can always bring someone back. But I don’t think there will be a television spinoff. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a Netflix movie at some point down the road, or a six episode limited run reboot. I think we’ll all probably find we don’t like it out in the real world and will want to have a reunion at some point. Nothing in the works at the moment though.
I liked that answer, because it leaves me with hope that November of 2020 will not be the last we see of these characters and this world that has come to mean so much to me. As we head into the FINAL four weeks of filming, I cannot face thinking that after those four weeks, Sam and Dean and Cas will no longer exist. It’s just too much for me to lose, especially right now when the world is full of so much loss. I need these fictional characters and this fictional world that I know so well and love so much to get me through the stresses of real life.
So that’s where I was this morning, trying to hang onto that hope and already feeling very emotional when I woke up and thought about that ‘last’ on Supernatural. Apparently the universe had plans to increase that emotionality by a thousand fold! No sooner did I finish writing that article – which was on Eric Kripke’s newest show, The Boys, with lots of scoop on its upcoming Season 2 from a press junket I did a few weeks ago — than all hell broke loose in the Supernatural fandom. My fannish worlds collided as, just as I finished that article on The Boys, it was announced that Jensen Ackles would be joining The Boys in Season 3!
Jensen let fans know with a little video on his Instagram, with the song “Soldier Boy” playing in the background as someone tossed him The Boys comic and he contemplated his new role, eventually with a smirk.
To say I was excited would be an understatement. My phone started ringing, texts, tweets and emails started pouring in, as fandom lost its collective shit. Me included.
Backstory. I wasn’t entirely shocked because Jensen had mentioned how much he’d love to join The Boys a long time ago, maybe last summer even. I had said to him, at the time, that I loved that show and would love to see him on it. I knew Kripke wanted to work with the Supernatural boys again, so it’s been a hope of mine ever since that Ackles would join Kripke once again when Supernatural ended. In fact, at the press junket last month, I asked Eric Kripke about bringing in more “familiar faces” to The Boys, especially now that his most long running show was over. I think he knew that I was referring to Jensen, though of course he couldn’t have answered that specifically at the time. Here’s what he did say:
Eric: To me it’s like, when I find actors I love who are both talented and, just as importantly, good people, I go back to them over and over again. I love bringing back actors who I love to work with, and it makes it a lot more fun. So yes, there will be familiar faces…
Good people, good actors – and I think people who will be close for the rest of their lives. That goes for Kripke, and Jensen, and Jared, and Misha, and some of the other people who have been so close for so long thanks to this incredible little show.
When Jensen announced the news on his Instagram today, I wasn’t shocked – but I was absolutely exhilarated! Partly because he’s joining a show I already love, and partly because I know how much HE wanted this. I’m so happy that both Jensen and Jared have signed on to new projects that are what they really WANTED to do, Jared with Walker filming in Austin and Jensen with The Boys, filming in Toronto. They deserve that.
Jensen will play Soldier Boy, the ‘original superhero’, who is described – at least in the comics – as a parody of Captain America, who sleeps with Homelander and then is held prisoner and tortured by Butcher. Kripke has made it clear that the show diverges from the comics out of necessity (see my interview below), so who knows if any of that will be carried over, but at any rate this is a fascinating character who I think will have a lot of complexity for Ackles to sink his very capable acting chops into.
Kripke tweeted his excitement about the casting almost immediately –
About the casting of Jensen, Eric said in Variety: “When I was a child, I had a crazy, impossible dream — to provide Jensen Ackles with gainful employment. I’m happy to say that dream has come true. Jensen is an amazing actor, an even better person, smells like warm chocolate chip cookies, and I consider him a brother. As Soldier Boy, the very first Superhero, he’ll bring so much humor, pathos, and danger to the role. I can’t wait to be on set with him again, and bring a bit of Supernatural to The Boys.”
Jared Padalecki tweeted a message of support that made me break down in tears all over again – they were good tears, because those two really are brothers and always will have each other’s backs, but also sad tears, because this is a transition and a show I love is ending. Perfect tweet is perfect, Jared. (After all, who do you think tossed that book to Jensen in the IG video??
Guest actors from 14 years ago hopped online to congratulate Jensen and say how much he deserved this. And the cast of The Boys immediately went online too, to let Jensen know how excited they are to work with him. I imagine he was almost as emotional as me on this day!
As if all that wasn’t ENOUGH emotion in one day, a few hours later the network released the news that the final portion of the final season ever will kick off on October 8, and that the last Supernatural episode will air on November 19. Knowing those dates were the last piece of the puzzle to make this 100% real, and that knowledge hit me hard. I was already an emotional mess, let’s face it, and this just about put me over the proverbial edge. How can one person hold so many conflicting emotions in their single fragile heart, Universe??
The good news is that the series finale on November 19 will be a two hour special event – which, goddamnit, this show bloody well deserves after its fifteen seasons on the air! At 8/7 C, The CW will air the retrospective of the show, called “Supernatural: The Long Road Home”, which will undoubtedly leave me a sobbing puddle on the floor. And THEN the series finale will air at 9/8 C, which…. Actually I can’t even think of any way to describe the condition I’ll be in by that time.
Someone come and scrape me up off the floor at 10 pm, will you?
Back to The Boys and the good news about Jensen joining. I’ll share some excerpts from my conversation with Eric Kripke about The Boys Season 2 (and Supernatural) below, and then post the entire interview with all the cast members in a separate article because I got a little carried away and it is LONG. Knowing that Jensen will now be part of another show that I’ve loved from the jump, and that Jared will be part of a show that sounds like it will be amazing, eases the sadness of having to face that my favorite show of all time is coming to an end in three months. Nothing, to be honest, can take away my grief and sense of loss at losing Supernatural. I don’t think anything will erase that loss for the actors who will walk away from their beloved characters either. The genuine emotions they shared about playing Sam and Dean in their chapters of There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done make it very clear just how important those characters are and just what this show and this fandom have meant to them. But knowing that Jared is doing exactly the show he wanted to do, and Jensen is joining exactly the show he wanted to, must make it a little easier for them both.
Pick up a copy of There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done to hang onto as the show comes to its end – it will help you remember just how special Supernatural is and how much the actors who made the show and the fans who made the show a success truly love it.
If you decide to join in on the wild ride that is The Boys, here are some tidbits from Eric Kripke, creator of Supernatural and showrunner/writer/producer of The Boys, to whet your appetite for Season 2. That show is dark and disturbing, so be sure you’re okay with that if you decide to watch, but it is also fascinating and incredibly well done. Eric’s answers from The Boys press junket a few weeks ago give some insight into what The Boys is like (and how Jensen might fit into its narrative).
For those who don’t know, The Boys is based on the best-selling comic by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson and was developed by Kripke, who’s showrunner, writer and executive producer. Long time Supernatural director and producer Phil Sgriccia is also along for the wild ride. I binge watched Season 1 of The Boys and was thrilled when Season 2 was announced. The first three episodes premiere Friday, September 4, on Prime Video and then new episodes will drop each Friday with the season finale airing on October 9. (I’ve had the privilege of seeing the first three episodes of Season 2, but have kept all spoilers for Season 2 out of this article so you can be as gobsmacked as me when you watch them!)
At the virtual press junket, Eric Kripke was asked how he and the writers find a balance between the very dark side of the show and the very present comedic side of the show. Eric said they try to think about what would be the most stringent reality if something as absurd as superheroes existed in the real world.
Eric: I try to keep from getting too broad with the comedy or too dark even, because the real world is a complicated messy place and if you were to throw superheroes into it, there really would be that kind of violence! Because they’re super strong and they really would be perverts (laughing) because they’d have unlimited access and power. I think that’s been the secret to the tone, because it does take these wild swings from social commentary to crazy dick jokes to really emotional character moments. I think that sort of helps hold it all together.
[He’s right. It’s one of the things that Kripke has always been good at. I was always floored by how Supernatural could be so dark and yet so funny, and at the same time could literally make me cry with the emotional character moments. He brings that to The Boys as well]
Kripke also gave some insight into Season 2 as compared to Season 1, saying that Season 2 is actually pretty stressful for him.
Eric: I walked into Season 2 fairly nervous actually because I was so happy with how Season 1 turned out and hitting that bar is stressful. The writers and I decided early on that the mistake that a lot of second year shows make is that they try to top the first season. Trying to go bigger and bigger every season is kind of unsustainable, so we wanted to try to go deeper. What is the worst position we could put every single character in? So we have Butcher knowing his wife’s out there and he can’t get to her. We have Huey apart from Annie. We wanted to corner all of them, because under that kind of pressure you reveal who you are and you reveal deeper facets of their characters when they’re in really tight spots.
Kripke was also asked if there were any hard lines that the show couldn’t cross of what they can and can’t do from Amazon, which frankly it’s pretty hard to imagine because they do so much!
Eric: No I have to say, they’ve been great. They are putting up with all sorts of insanity from us. They question things, like in Season 1 they were like, does the dolphin really have to ask to be jerked off? And we would say yes, absolutely, it’s really important to the character. There was only one scene in Season 1 that they didn’t want us to show, which involved Homelander masturbating. But I will say, without giving away spoilers, that scene may be making a comeback…I was able to finagle a little sumthin sumthin. But you’ll have to tune in to find out!
I told Eric that one of the things I always appreciate about his shows, as a long time Supernatural fan and someone who has watched all his series, is that there are always familiar faces from those other shows and little homages and in jokes. (Supernatural star Jim Beaver, who played Bobby Singer, a character named after real life director Bob Singer, makes an appearance at the end of Season 1 – playing a character named Robert Singer! Is that meta enough??)
I wondered if there would be more of that homage, especially as the long-running Supernatural is finally bowing out? (I was actually already wondering if Jensen Ackles or Jeffrey Dean Morgan might be joining up, but at the time that would have been a BIG spoiler so he didn’t fess up)
Eric: Yeah for sure, there are Easter eggs. Part of it is just because me and Phil Sgriccia, the producer/director of the show, we’re both long timers not just on Supernatural but on Revolution, so we are just inherently putting in little jokes to amuse ourselves. There are little references, like you said, Robert Singer. In episode 8 of Season 2, pay attention to the name of his assistant. We even found a little internet cartoon – I won’t say when it happens – but the Impala makes a short fast cameo, blink if you miss it, but it’s there.
Lynn: Oh I will not miss that!
Eric: To me it’s like, when I find actors I love who are both talented and, just as importantly, good people, I go back to them over and over again. So Giancarlo from Revolution, and I have a lot of my Timeless cast this year – Claudia Doumit, Malcolm Barrett, Goran Visnjic. I love bringing back actors who I love to work with, and it makes it a lot more fun. So yes, there will be familiar faces this year.
And now we know for sure who one of those familiar faces will be in Season 3!
One of the things that sets The Boys apart is its social commentary. The show blends what it brings in from the comics with current cultural issues.
Eric: I’m a huge fan of the comics, Garth Ennis is the best writer in comics in my opinion. But there’s a lot in the comics, I think he would agree, that’s shocking to be shocking. At the time he wanted to sort of knock the superhero comic on its ass and that was his goal. I had a really clear notion that I did not want to do that. What I wanted to do was take some of those shocking things and modernize them and give them context in the world we’re living in now, because we live in this bizarre world where authoritarianism and celebrity are completely blended. And it turns out that this show happens to hit the sweet spot of talking about the exact moment we’re living in. For instance in Season 1 there was a moment of sexual assault in the comics that was shocking and probably played for shock value and we wanted to make it into a really thoughtful story about trauma and the #MeToo movement and how a character reacts throughout that.
Kripke went on to say that in Season 2 there’s a character who’s very famous from the books that they wanted to use to talk about issues that are happening in the world right now, like xenophobia and white nationalism (Stormfront).
Eric: So part of it is just about wanting to talk about the modern world that we live in and adjusting the comic to what’s happening right now. And then the other part of it is about the characters. Just because it’s streaming, the show is still serialized, and the comic is pretty episodic, so you sort of have to take a different format with it. We really start characters first. That’s always the rule whenever we break a story, we start with where are they emotionally and where do we want them to go and how do we learn something new? Only once we have that locked in do we even start to talk about, oh we can have some political satire here or a bloody moment there. It’s only ever layered on top of the character work, because we’re in TV and TV is the character business. TV shows work when you love characters and don’t work when you don’t. So that’s always the first part.
[This philosophy explains why I fell head over heels for Dean Winchester fifteen years ago and am still watching Supernatural – similarly, the characters in The Boys become more and more fascinating as time goes on and we find out more about their complexity]
One of the things I always love about Eric Kripke’s television shows is the music, which never fails to enrich the show. Eric was asked how involved he was in selecting the music for The Boys.
Eric: I’m super involved in that process. One of the things I really care about is the music in really all my shows. When I was writing Supernatural and certainly this, it’s a lot of long conversations with the editors and talking about the vibe that we want. They’ve learned at this point to rarely pitch a song that was recorded after 1980 (laughs). So they know my sweet spot. And then in terms of the score, Chris Lennertz, the composer who did Supernatural and a bunch of my stuff, we were college friends together, so he was scoring my short films back then and it’s a blast to work with him.
Eric also said that the idea to air episodes weekly for Season 2 came from him and the other producers, who lobbied Amazon to do it.
Eric: We found that in Season 1 there was such an overload of material so quickly that a lot of scenes that we loved and thought would be talked about on social media kind of just weren’t. Because everyone was only talking about the biggest craziest things. So we wanted to slow it down ever so slightly to let each episode land with the fans a little bit more so they could take a little more time obsessing and analyzing it before they moved on. Just because there’s so much crazy in Season 2, so we thought a slightly slower LSD drip felt like the right move for us creatively. We felt it was a little too rich for one binge meal! So we’ll see how it goes.
[In one of my very first chats with Eric now more than a decade ago, I realized that he totally got what being a fan is all about – because he’s a fan too. So when he says let’s give fans time to obsess and analyze, he gets it – because that’s what he likes to do too. It’s stood him in good stead throughout all this television shows]
Supernatural, as most of us know, had a five year plan of where to go, though the show ended up going for ten years longer. Does Kripke have a similar plan for The Boys?
Eric (laughing): I am smart enough now to not publicly say end points for my series. That said, I think five years is a nice round number on this one. I can’t say I have a beat for beat plan – and for the record, I didn’t have it for Supernatural, it grew from a comment I said once about having a cocktail napkin sketch of where I wanted it to end. That somehow grew into this beautiful mind wall that supposedly I kept for what was happening in every episode. I had no idea, I just knew how I wanted the confrontations to climax. And I would say I know that here too, how I want it to come down to the final face offs. And that we’re slowly but surely, even in Season 3, we’re building to those, but I don’t know the details of how we get there. Like I said, I couldn’t have been more wrong about the length of Supernatural, so I will not make any hard and fast rules here!
That seems prudent. Personally, I’m already rooting for another fifteen season run.
You can catch up on Season 1 of The Boys now on Amazon Prime, and watch Season 2 starting on September 4. That season finishes on October 9, right after Supernatural begins its end run.
I’m stocking up on tissues.
You can remember Supernatural and celebrate
Its legacy forever with There’ll Be Peace When
You Are Done: Actors and Fans Celebrate The
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4 thoughts on “Supernatural Heads Back to Finish Filming — and Jensen Ackles Heads to The Boys!”
It really was quite a day! So happy and so sad, I really don’t know where I’m at.
And as usual, Lynn, you captured it all perfectly 🙂
Excuse Me while I squeal again breathlessly OMG, OMG …….it’s happening, Jensen will be back in screen with us again . Very excited and pleased for him.
I think he almost blew up the internet with the news…..
Looking forward to seeing the Winchesters ( who will always have a special place in my heart) but it’s going to be nice to see J2 stretched and challenged with their new projects.
The new poster for SPN is both beautiful and intriguing, there’s some clues in there no doubt and the bullet hole in the glass effect appears weirdly off centre if you look closely….. Draw your own conclusions .
You know, Lynn. I’ve been thinking about this for a day. Jensen should have chosen “TheBoys”. This is what he what does he need. Reboot. I really love Supernatural. This is my show from season 1 to 15. It’s a pity that it’s over. Hopefully Jared and Jensen have some light and luck ahead. I wish them the same long shows as our Show.
What a great article, Lynn! So much went down, in a flurry of days, and you touched on all of it, much to my heart’s pleasure and chagrin. <3