Today rounds out the trifecta of birthdays that happen in the month of September – Richard, Rob and Matt, otherwise known to con-goers as R2M! So, in the spirit of this being the last year of the little show that brought the three of them together being on the air, a look back at what makes Matt Cohen so special, and such an integral part of Supernatural.
Kathy and I first met Matt ten years ago at his first Supernatural convention. He didn’t really know what to expect, so he just went with his instincts. That is, he attempted to hug every single person who wanted a hug from him. I remember turning to Kathy and saying oh, we need to interview this guy, he really knows how to interact with fans (And also? He’s gonna have to not keep hugging every single person or he’s never going to get anything else done ever again!)
We sat down with Matt for the first time shortly thereafter, and found out that he was in fact every bit as warm and genuine as he seemed – and just as appreciative of the fans as his hug policy had suggested. In those early days, when Matt was onstage with Richard Speight, Jr. he was the quieter one. Richard’s quick wit and ability to riff off the cuff had to be intimidating – for anyone! But little by little, Matt developed the same ability, and soon he was keeping up with Richard and making us all laugh.
I have enjoyed all our thoughtful chats, and a few times when we weren’t all that serious – what were we doing this day?? I can’t remember but it was undoubtedly fun!
When Rob joined Richard and Matt onstage at cons, the kinetic energy between the three of them onstage was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever sat through an R2M panel without laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes. They are hilarious together, and at the same time, the depth of their genuine affection for each other is always clear. Who knew I’d be missing Matt’s traditional leap off the chair onstage that kicks off every R2M panel so much right now?
As some of the few ‘regulars’ at the early Creation conventions, Matt and Richard also were the natural options to revamp the convention karaoke. When they realized it wasn’t as egalitarian as they wanted, they recreated karaoke and made it something amazing – something no other show’s conventions had. They had costumes, they had themes, we all dressed up and got silly together, and they played all the songs we loved from the show.
This is such an unusual time to be in the Supernatural fandom. I feel like we’re suspended in this bubble that’s about to break, acutely aware that the show is returning in less than two weeks but also that it’s already filmed its last scenes and wrapped for good. I’m both full of anticipation to see those last seven episodes, and dreading seeing those last seven episodes – because they will be the last.
One thing I’m grateful for is that this interim time has not been quiet in terms of my favorite show. As the crew and production office continue the rather depressing work of taking apart the offices and sound stages, some of them posted along the way, including this lovely post by one of the women in the costuming department as she prepares to start work on a new show. For most of them, as for us, I don’t think there will ever be a show quite like this one.
There was also a brief video of workers dismantling the Men of Letters bunker, which I could only watch once and then had to put aside. I was only there once in person, but that set was so real and so important to so many of us – because it was so important to the fictional characters we loved – that it literally hurt to see it being destroyed. Knowing it was home to them made it, in a weird way, feel like home to us too.
Shortly after, my friend Alana King posted a Tik Tok saying her own goodbye to the bunker and Sam, Dean and Cas, and the combination singlehandedly resulted in me going through half a pack of tissues in one morning.
Alana said she’s sorry, but she’s not. (And ultimately the video was validating and cathartic for me too). I’m sorry I told you to go to your room, Alana. (Kinda)
We’ve also been blessed by lots of content from the cast, which lets us know how they’re doing (Yes, I worry about these things). Last week we got video interviews with both Jared and Jensen, and although Jensen’s was not new, it was still a helluva lot of fun.
Richard Speight, Jr. and Rob Benedict have had a podcast for some time, as most of you know, but they kicked off their new name and format (a return to Kings of Con) with special guest and good friend Jensen Ackles on Tuesday. As is the tradition on the podcast, everyone fixed themselves a drink before they started, and that made for a fun and laid back video of their chat. (Jensen tweeted the day after the video “Not gonna lie….I was pretty drunk”, shocking exactly no one). He also dressed like a train engineer and somehow made that ridiculously attractive anyway.
Richard: We’re going right down the shitter from here. There’s nobody we know that’s gonna show up with a hat-shirt-kerchief combo that matches their throw blanket and their background….
As the video begins, Ackles realizes his spotless Vancouver apartment has the bedroom door open.
Jensen: Let me close my bedroom door, nobody wants to see that!
Everyone watching: Umm…
Jensen insisted he’d gained the Quarantine Fifteen but got the word at the end of May that they’d be back to shooting in August, so had two months to ‘clean it up’ and work out. Whatever he did, looks like it worked out fine.
Jensen and Rob apparently had some epic zoom calls during their quarantines in Vancouver, hanging out for 5 or 6 hours with their computers propped up while they talked and made dinner, and there was some talk of them doing music together, which yes please.
Jensen also talked about how odd it will be to film with the Covid regulations (the podcast was filmed before he went back to the set), with everyone in a color coded group and not allowed to “cross pollinate”. In his chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, Jensen talks about the unique closeness of Supernatural’s cast and crew, and he said that’s what would make it difficult.
Jensen: This is a crew that’s so intertwined. Most shows, the grips show up, they do their work, and camera, sound, then actors and hair, makeup. But the camaraderie that has grown on this particular set is unlike most, so it’s gonna be really tough. These are friends that we talk to on and off set quite often. People I’ve spent my birthdays with, celebrated life achievements with. To now have this barrier between is us gonna be weird and sad.
They all agreed that not being able to shake hands with someone you meet will be weird if that custom doesn’t ever come back, saying that they were taught that by their fathers, that it’s a cultural thing.
Jensen: That physical connection is so ingrained in me, I can’t imagine meeting someone and not shaking their hand. With people you know, I’m hoping that hugging will still be, because we all hug each other, whether it’s the bro hug or the full bring it in.
Honestly, I love that about this cast. They’re all demonstrably affectionate with each other, and the feeling is clearly genuine.
Supernatural filmed its final scenes on Thursday, September 11. I stayed online all day, as did most fans, as cast and crew and guest stars from the past fifteen years posted their gratitude and appreciation for the show. When the final wrap happened, we all sobbed together, and I for one did a fair amount of grieving over the next few days. I wrote up all the events of that last day in an epic article, and then I sat back to figure out how not to fall into a depression knowing the show I love has filmed its last scene.
As I write this now, it’s September 19. In exactly two months, Supernatural will air its final episode. I’m indescribably grateful that we have these two months to still savor our favorite show, and to still have this active and engaging fan community to enjoy. I intend to appreciate every moment of the next two months – and to keep on cataloguing the last months of Supernatural’s epic journey. I hope you’ll join me here for all of that last wild ride!
I’ve done alot of chatting with my fandom friends over the past week, in DMs and phone calls and text messages and emails, all of us trying to help each other get through this. I had a zoom chat with my friends Kim and Alana a few days after the wrap, which helped alot. Everyone grieves differently, but Alana (as someone who has studied film and does it for a living) and I were both very impacted by the show itself ending. Not the broadcast of the show ending (which hasn’t happened yet), but the actual existence of the show as something being acted and produced and filmed. That has ended, and that’s significant. For me, it’s also been tough to know that in some sense at least, Jared and Jensen are no longer Sam and Dean. I am so used to being able to ask them questions on a regular basis about their fictional characters, and trust their answers, that it feels incredibly sad to know that they are no longer those fictional people – almost like I know I can never talk to Sam and Dean again. I know that a part of Jared and Jensen will always belong to Sam and Dean, and I know that in real life they consider each other brothers, but it still feels like a loss. I fell in love with those fictional characters, and their story has ended – even if we haven’t seen it yet.
Like most of the fandom, I’m cheering myself up and hanging onto the fact that we have yet to actually SEE the rest of that story, and that we have that to look forward to. (No, I have no idea how I’m going to cope with the end of the show airing, because then I won’t be able to use this particular coping strategy – I’ll deal with that when I get to it!) I’m also consoling myself with the fact that the fandom is still very much vibrant and alive, with as many tweets and posts and interactions as I’ve grown accustomed to over the past fifteen years. Cases in point:
Last weekend, we were treated to photos of Jared and Jensen celebrating the end of filming at the same restaurant they always go to, Cioppinos in Vancouver, with the amazing Pino Posteraro.
I had one of the most amazing evenings (and meals) of my life there at dinner with them a while back, so I was thrilled that they’d been able to keep up a tradition that I know is important to them. I’m sure that not being able to hug their long-time crew goodbye, let alone have the epic wrap party that they’d been planning for so long, was devastating. We all need rituals to grieve, and the pandemic denied them most of those. At least they could keep this one – I hope it gave them both time to process the loss of Sam and Dean with the other person who understands that loss completely.
We still don’t know for sure when Misha was in Vancouver and when he was not, but if he didn’t get a chance to do that sort of processing, that’s really difficult. He would have been there, of course, at the epic wrap party, as would all the other cast who have worked so hard and cared so much about this show over so many years. What a loss for all of them – and for the fandom, since we would undoubtedly have been able to celebrate with them vicariously through photos and videos.
Misha’s friend Darius posted a tongue in cheek old photo of Misha, Jared, Jensen and Adam Fergus in non-pandemic times, asking what to do with his friend now that the show is over – and wondering about his next job.
Good times, pre pandemic! I won’t be shocked if Misha’s next venture isn’t acting, but we’ll have to see. I have no doubt that whatever he does, he’s going to kick ass at it.
September 13 was also Supernatural Day (15 years from the date of the premiere). Misha kicked it off with a Supernatural Selfie challenge, and both cast and fans posted themselves back in 2005 and then today. It was bittersweet to celebrate the show’s special day knowing that it had wrapped its final episode, but it was heartwarming to see all the posts and memories.
Those blue eyes though…
I’m not sure when Jared and Jensen left Vancouver, or I guess even how they left Vancouver, amidst various people ‘in the know’ posting conflicting things about the two of them roadtripping their way home to Texas. Suffice it to say, the Impalas were loaded up and began their trek south toward Austin. Fans spotted them on the road driving through Colorado, and an entire fandom cheered the Babies on.
It’s taken me two days, after Supernatural finished filming its last episode ever, to sit down and be calm enough to write about it. We knew the day was coming – in fact, we expected it to happen back on May 18. But then the pandemic pushed it back and I think I got lulled into a sense of complacency, as though now that it hadn’t ended in May, maybe it really wouldn’t end at all. All those years of saying “Supernatural will never end” felt prophetic – or maybe I just needed to stay in denial for a while to cope with everything else going on in the world.
Either way, ready or not (not), Supernatural filmed its last scenes on Thursday, September 10, 2020. As I’ve been doing for the past month, here’s a recap of that memorable day, and the few days before, so that we can always remember.
The cast and crew were wonderfully generous in sharing the end of their journey with us, so there were posts all week – often emotional ones, as they dealt with their own feelings of both loss and pride, in making something that became so important to so many. Fandom emotions also ran high, so there were eruptions of fear and sadness and anger spilling out in sometimes unexpected ways or at unsuspecting targets. It was an odd reminder that no community is a utopia – there are always disagreements, in groups and out groups, jockeying for power. Fandom is a group, after all, and that’s what happens in groups. But in the midst of those things, there was also celebration and support and the validation that comes only from someone else really “getting it”.
Michael Rosenbaum’s InsideOfYou podcast aired his chat with Jensen Ackles on Tuesday, taped during the start of his quarantine in Vancouver (when he still had that glorious quarantine hair!) The podcast and youtube video were a breath of fresh air, as Jensen and Michael reminisced like old friends and Jensen talked about the end of Supernatural. We were all happily distracted from the looming ending for an afternoon, and I was grateful.
In their chapters in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, Jensen and Jared both talked about how the relationships they’ve made through Supernatural are the most important thing the show has given them. Jensen touched on that with Michael too.
Jensen: I’ve got my friendship with Misha. Jared’s got his friendship with Misha. And then Jared and I have our friendship. But then also we have this kind of triangular relationship as well that’s just works. It works in a public form and works in a private form.
And has been one of the main reasons this show has run for 15 seasons. Lightning in a bottle, and I can’t imagine it ever being duplicated.
He laughed when Michael asked if he’d ever seen Jared cry.
Jensen: Like for real? Oh yeah.
He said they’d seen each other emotional, in fact, which isn’t at all surprising. My guess is there have been some very emotional moments on that set for the past few weeks.
But it wasn’t all serious.
Jensen: Because of the pandemic, there’s some things we can’t do…
Michael: Like you and Jared can’t make out…
Jensen: No no no, that’s happening regardless, we’re hanging our hat on that. Corona or no corona, we’re making out!
We all needed a little levity, that’s for sure.
Misha gave us some bright spots too, recording the video messages to fans that had been purchased as part of the online Creation con. Since they’re all playing it very close to the vest as to what episodes Castiel is part of at the very end, it just felt good to see Misha, especially when he was smiling.
Since he wasn’t there on the last day (we think), Misha also posted his thanks to Eric Kripke. He’s right, the show has changed all of us – but I replied that I hope Misha knows that he too, personally, has unequivocally changed the world. And I have a feeling he’s just getting started!
Some of the conversation between Jensen and Michael, on the other hand, did make me tear up. Michael asked if they thought about continuing the show, and Jensen said yes – something he touched on in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done too.
Jensen: There’s a possibility of, five years down the road, getting the call — hey let’s do a short order action for a streaming network and bring them back for six episodes! I feel like this isn’t the long goodbye right now. This is, “let’s hang this in a closet for now.”
His chapter in the book is called “I’m Proud Of Us”, and that comes through every time he talks about this show, from how hard he and Jared worked from the start to create a tone on the set that was welcoming and never toxic, to the friendships made in the fandom and among the cast. It helps, knowing how proud they all are of what they’ve created.
The next day was the penultimate day of filming, and the posts started to come in early, the crew sharing where they were filming. It was gorgeous, and somehow that felt both very fitting for the end of this beautiful show, and also made it even more emotional. It felt good to know that the actors would film their final scenes surrounded by the beauty of Vancouver, which has been their second home for so long – and which will always be the sights and sounds of the Winchesters’ home.
Today is the last day of filming for Supernatural, after fifteen seasons on the air. It took me a season to truly fall in love with the show, but once I did, I fell head over heels – and in fourteen years, I haven’t looked back. Others’ stories are different, but where we’ve ended up is the same. All over the world today, people whose lives have been touched by Supernatural are feeling the loss of something that is so much more than a television show. There’s a collective grieving, a sense of shared overwhelming emotion, that I’m grateful for – one of the most powerful things about fandom is its validation, and I feel that today. There are plenty of people in my everyday life who don’t really understand what a big loss this is, but there are plenty of people in the SPNFamily who do.
At the same time, there’s also a worldwide celebration of a little show that began on The WB and was an unlikely candidate for fifteen seasons and an incredible impact. The show itself and its brilliantly depicted fictional characters have been an inspiration to me, like they have been for so many other fans. For fifteen years, the Winchesters, and soon after, Castiel, have faced seemingly insurmountable odds – and have come out swinging again and again. The ‘monsters’ they’ve faced have been literal, but they have also been figurative: addiction, depression, PTSD, loneliness. Struggles with identity and purpose and finding one’s mission in life. The challenges of family, both by blood and chosen. The very things that we all struggle with are things these fictional characters have faced, again and again and again. And yet, no matter what the challenge, again and again they have persevered. Always Keep Fighting is a mantra for us all in real life, but it has also been the mantra of the show since the beginning. And that has made Sam, Dean and Cas incredibly important to many of us.
The final seven episodes of Supernatural won’t start airing until October and the series finale won’t happen until November 19. But for me, there’s a tremendous sense of loss knowing that today may be the last time that these fictional characters who are so real to me will exist in the world. No, I’m not delusional, but psychologically our attachment to fictional characters who become very familiar over time is significant. We have the same biochemical reactions in our brains when we watch our favorite television show with our most beloved fictional characters as we do when we sit down to dinner with our loved ones in real life. It’s powerful, and especially in stressful times like these, it helps us feel a sense of safety and satisfaction. I am going to miss them so, so much.
I fell in love with Sam and Dean Winchester watching one of the first episodes of Season 2, as Dean broke down and tearfully confided to his brother that he was not all right, and Sam’s anguish at his brother’s pain was equally palpable. I realized at that moment that this show was so much more than its monster-of-the-week episodes, and that these characters had a depth that pulled me right in, hook line and sinker. I realized too that these actors weren’t just pretty faces (though that was a bonus) – they were willing and able to portray that depth, expressing emotions that ran the gamut, just like real life. Their acting sold their portrayals of these characters, just as Jensen and Jared’s real life friendship sold their love as brothers. I will never, I don’t think, feel this way about fictional characters again, as long as I live.
When Misha Collins arrived – whether he expected this or not – Jared and Jensen pulled him into that norm of openness and vulnerability and he rose to the challenge, forging his own friendships in real life and crafting distinct and complex relationships for Castiel and each of the brothers.
Knowing that today those characters will say their last words to each other is hard for me to get my head around. I can’t even imagine how hard it will be for them. Yesterday, on the second to last day of filming, some of the crew tweeted photos of the beautiful Vancouver locations they were filming at, and Jim Michaels and Kevin Parks shared photos of the Impala. I began to tear up immediately, thinking of the actors looking out over the familiar Vancouver beauty. I felt a rush of gratitude that Baby was there with them. They’ll need her comfort, and she’ll comfort them and keep them safe, just like she has for the past fifteen years.
Today will be the last Quote of the Day, the last song, the last whiteboard that Jason Fischer shared with us every day, making us feel like truly part of the family.
Nobody knows how life will go for any of the actors or where each of their roads will take them. There may be a Netflix limited series someday or maybe even a film, but whatever there is, it won’t be exactly this. These actors who have worked together so closely have become brothers in real life. This crew, many of whom have been there since season one, who work together like a well oiled machine and who have been there for each other through births and deaths and marriages and divorces, are family. They have all loved this little show so much, so tangibly, turning down other opportunities to stay loyal to what they built together with Supernatural.
That love and loyalty and care have made all the difference; have made the show what it is.
We put together two books to make sure that we would always remember how special Supernatural is, both to its cast and crew and to its fans. Family Don’t End With Blood and There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done have chapter after chapter that attest to the importance of this show, and its ability to change – and even save – lives. More than thirty Supernatural actors and fans wrote from their hearts about what Supernatural and the SPNFamily has meant to them; hopefully the book and its photos and art and personal stories will be a comfort as the show reaches its end.
In their chapters in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, Jared and Jensen both express their deep love for Sam and Dean, and their reluctance to make this a goodbye. I’ve talked to them from time to time over the past year about their feelings on the end of the show, witnessing them go from protective denial and ‘let’s just throw ourselves into this last season’ to a gradual breakdown of that denial and starting to feel the strong emotions that come with that. I know they’re feeling it now, and that there will be tears today. Saying goodbye to their own characters, as well as saying goodbye to each other’s, is going to be very hard. Incredible actors that they are, they’ll channel all those real life feelings into their characters, and that will make the ending every bit as genuine as all those other scenes they’ve done that have broken my heart in two.
It’s the title of Jensen’s chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done. It’s about Sam and Dean, but it’s about Jared and Jensen and Misha and the entire SPNFamily too.
It helps somehow, knowing they’ve been as affected and changed by this show as we have. Jensen went back to the Men of Letters bunker as they tore down what apparently had been Dean’s room a day before, taking us along with him and letting us see his emotional reaction. I’m so grateful to have been along for this wild ride and that even now, at the end, they want to take us along on their journey.
Jensen: Goodbye, men of letters…
I also keep re-watching Jensen’s chat with Michael Rosenbaum, listening to him talk so genuinely about his friendships with Jared and Misha and how he thinks of this not as an ending of Supernatural, but as “let’s hang this in the closet for now, and we’ll dust her off down the road a bit.”
God, I hope so.
I don’t want to think that Sam and Dean and Cas aren’t out there somewhere, fighting insurmountable odds and trying to save the world — and each other. I don’t want to think they’ll never be on my screen again, that their stories won’t continue.
The loss is too big, if I think of it as forever.
For today, I’m sending all good thoughts northward towards Vancouver, and hoping Jared and Jensen (and anyone else who’s there on this last day) can feel it. I know I’ve told them many times, but I hope they really believe it – that these characters, this show, this SPN Family, have changed the world. We’ve made forever friends, discovered creativity we never knew we had, made the world a better place through all kinds of charitable endeavors from GISH to making sure an SPNFamily member had a safe place to live. We’ve been part of a worldwide community that makes us all feel less alone, all sparked by sharing a passion for a little TV show on The CW. We’ve been inspired by the Winchesters, and Castiel, and Jody and Charlie and Bobby and Donna and Ash and Jo and Ellen and Rowena and Jack and so many others to keep on fighting even when we felt like giving up – because that’s what they do.
I can never express my gratitude enough for all that Supernatural has given me.
As they film their last scenes and the words “that’s a wrap on Jared and Jensen” are called out, with a hitch in the voice no doubt, I hope the words of Kim Manners are ringing in their ears today. I hope they know they made him proud a thousand times over.