The Last Day of Filming for Supernatural – Now It’s All Too Real

There’s a sense of déjà vu happening in the Supernatural fandom today – for me at least. For the second time this year, we now know when Supernatural will film its last scenes.

Way back in the spring, before the entire world changed and we were plunged into a pandemic, we thought we knew when Supernatural filming would end. We counted down to that date with mixed emotions – something to anticipate and be proud of, because it was to be the culmination of fifteen years of an amazing show – but also something to dread, because it would mean the show that has changed my life would truly be at an end.

As filming began on the penultimate episode (some people do say ‘penultimate’, Sam) we were all steeling ourselves for that ending. Not just the fandom, but the cast and crew too. It is a very big thing to end something that has been your life for that long, especially something that has meant so much. The actors were exhausted but had themselves in the emotional and psychological space to “bring those boys home” and were determined to do it in a way that did them justice. I consoled myself with knowing that we’d have conventions with them right after they finished filming, so we could ‘be there’ for them to process it and hear from them about how it went and how they felt and just be reassured that they were okay.

The last Comic Con

Everything changed when production shut down in March, so quickly that Misha Collins commented on his #SuperGood livestream yesterday that he impulsively grabbed a trenchcoat and some other memorabilia that would be incredibly important to him because he didn’t know if they would ever be back. The May 18 date that had been set in stone for the series finale to air also disappeared, and with it all the coping mechanisms that I had carefully put in place to be sure I was surrounded by my close friends and fellow fans as I watched it. A planned pilgrimage to Lawrence Kansas to pay homage to the show’s roots, a viewing party with friends, a few days off afterwards to deal with the overwhelming emotions I know I’ll have. Poof. Everything swept away.

The conventions that we thought we’d have to see and hear from the actors after filming ended and after the finale aired also were rescheduled, of course, including the SXSW panel celebrating fifteen years of the show that had been planned for March. Suddenly the Supernatural fandom was plunged into limbo, with thirteen episodes of the season aired and seven held up (five filmed but needing post production and the last two not filmed).  There was a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety in the midst of the overwhelming anxiety of a global pandemic. Would they get to film the final two episodes? If so, when? How? Could the cast stay safe enough to film them in the way they had originally planned? What would have to change, if not?

Last shot before filming shut down

Supernatural is my comfort place. I love knowing Sam and Dean and Cas are out there, ready to save the [fictional] world. I love the familiarity of the show, the feeling of ‘knowing’ the characters and that world. I love knowing the actors fully inhabit their characters, making them real, and caring about them as much as we do. I love being immersed in a fandom that is vibrant and energetic and full of creative inspiration and people who want to talk about Supernatural as much as I do. It has been hard not having new episodes of the show as we deal with the heartbreak and frustration of the pandemic. But I realize I’ve been clinging to the fact that Sam and Dean and Cas will be back. That Supernatural will back. That the world and the characters I love so much still exist out there. When the show didn’t end in May as planned, it sort of seemed like maybe the Winchesters would thwart the odds once again. Maybe what we said for all those years really would come true: Supernatural will never end.

Of course, we knew it would, one way or another. And believe me, I’m unspeakably grateful that it will get to end on its own terms, filmed in Vancouver where it belongs and hopefully with the crew that has been such an integral part of the show from the beginning. I’m grateful that the cast cares so much that Misha needed that trenchcoat, that Jared has said that he never wants to say goodbye to Sam, that Jensen just posted about missing Comic Con and has called Dean his best imaginary friend ever. I know they will put their hearts and souls into wrapping up this show the way it should be.

But right now, I’m reeling from knowing that end date. Filming resumes August 18 and ends on September 11. Seeing it in black and white makes the finality of it and the reality of it inescapable. My show – the one that changed my life and gave me so much for fifteen years – is actually going to end on that day. The fictional characters who are so familiar and comforting and inspiring to me will interact for the last time on the show as it has been. To someone on the outside, that might seem like a silly thing to be emotional about, but that is only because they don’t fully understand what Supernatural has meant to so many of us. I’m not going to apologize for the tissues I’m using up this afternoon.

I’m excited to see those last seven episodes, and I trust this cast and crew to pull out all the stops and give us the ending our favorite characters deserve, but damn, it turns out I am not ready to let this go.

Back in May, when the show was supposed to end, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done: Actors and Fans Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural was released.  We intended for it to be something for us all to hold onto as the show’s final episode aired – the heartfelt words of the actors who brought the show to life to remind us of how much Supernatural  and the SPN Family have meant to them too. The equally heartfelt words of fans whose lives have been changed or even saved by the show. This show is  special, and I don’t ever want to forget that. As that final filming date draws near and the last episodes of Supernatural are aired, we hope that the book will be a comfort and a way of remembering this little show that became so important to so many.

Since I clearly won’t be at a watch party in Lawrence Kansas when that final episode does air, I’m counting on all of you to ‘be there’ with me, even if we’re all online from all corners of the world – because I’m going to need all the support I can get. And all the tissues.

And maybe I’m going to hold onto a little bit of hope that, as Jensen Ackles’ chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done concludes, “And let’s be clear. Supernatural will never end. The show might, but what it has built? This will never end. Besides, nothing ever stays dead on Supernatural.”

–Lynn

You can find There’ll Be Peace When You

Are Done and Family Don’t End With Blood at

Peacewhenyouaredone.com

 

Missing Supernatural

It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m missing Supernatural.

We all count on the things we’re passionate about to get us through the rough times in our lives. Our favorite shows and characters and books and bands inspire us to keep going, to never give up, even when things look bleak around us. Immersing ourselves in the things we love provides a much-needed temporary escape from the stressors of our lives, so we can let down our constantly-on-the-alert defenses and just spend time with some beloved characters or people. Spending time with our favorites  – whether watching a favorite television show or enjoying the familiar songs of a favorite band – gives us the same chemical reaction in our brains as sitting down to dinner with our closest friends and family. That’s one of the many things that makes fandom healthy and beneficial.

I find myself wishing I could immerse myself in Supernatural right now, because these are tough times. For fifteen years, the show has been my go-to when I’m anxious or sad or dealing with a lot of stress, and right now we have a lot of that. I’ve grown used to hopping online at those moments, and being swept away by episode discussions and speculation and news and new photos of cast or episode promos or PR content in articles and videos. I’m spoiled by that, and have been for a very long time. When there was a hiatus (hellatus) it was temporary and we knew when it would end, and fandom stepped up and increased their fan-generated content to compensate. While that still happens, and I’m still in awe of and grateful for fannish creativity, it’s not as much as it was in the past, when there was so much being created it was impossible to keep up with it all.

The show stopped production due to the Coronavirus after one day of filming on its penultimate episode back in March, right after the last (and only, I think) convention of 2020 in Las Vegas. It hasn’t been safe to resume filming since then, which I think the entire fandom is 100% on board with, but it means that both cast and fans are in limbo, not knowing how or when the show will return – or how it will be able to wrap up. There was an announcement that the last seven episodes were slated to be aired in the fall – a sort of last ‘mini season’ continuing and finishing up Season 15. But no one really knows when it will be safe to resume filming or how – and where – that might happen. So Supernatural is not on the air, and that’s difficult. (Of course, if it had ended when it was intended back in May, it wouldn’t be on the air either, so at least we have something to look forward to).  The pandemic has also changed the landscape for Supernatural fans and actors, who are accustomed to conventions at least once a month and sometimes more. Whether it was your one and only con that you were so looking forward to, or you’re a vendor who’s used to being ‘on the road’ and constantly at conventions, or you enjoy the photos, tweets and videos that fans post at every con, it seems very quiet in the SPNFamily without them. Fans miss seeing the cast at cons, and also miss seeing each other. The actors miss each other too.

I am looking forward to virtual Comic Con in a few weeks, but not as much as I was looking forward to my annual pilgrimage to San Diego, with all the insanity it entails and all the adventures with friends. Even if Comic Con wasn’t virtual, this would have been the first year that Supernatural didn’t have a panel and a press roundtable where we could all hear for the first time the scoop on the new season. I miss that! I am, on the other hand, so grateful to all the actors and fans who have put themselves out there in some way virtually during the pandemic, from Stage Its to virtual cocktails, from inspiring zoom video townhalls that have taught me so much to hilarious podcasts, and even a few fan-organized and Wizard World online cons. I did a virtual panel for Comic Con At Home with some of the Supernatural actors that’s coming up on the 26th, and I’ve had fun talking about the show in podcasts and video interviews for the new book ‘There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done: Actors and Fans Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural’. When we busted our butts to get the book out for May, we thought it was because the show was ending then. Turns out we just really needed an inspiring book to get through this unprecedented time we’re living in!

Still, I miss my Show, and it’s hard not knowing how and when it will be back to wrap up. CW president Mark Pedowitz said in TV Insider back in May that “Everybody — the studio, the executive producers, Jared, Jensen, and Misha — all want to end 15 years the right way. So it is important that these two episodes that they will be shooting be done the way they hoped to do them and we will just wait it out. We are very much attached to this.” They’ll rearrange the schedule if they need to, Pedowicz said, adding that they planned to resume airing in fall 2020.

I take alot of solace in what Mr. Pedowicz said. Nobody knows whether that is more up in the air now that the spread and impact of the virus has gotten worse in many areas and there are travel restrictions in place. The uncertainty, for fans, is not just when will they finish it – but how. Will it be the same if they can’t film in Vancouver in the studios they have been in all this time? Will their long-time crew, who are like family to the actors, still be able to be with them? Will there be restrictions about what they can film, or how close they can be to each other? Will we lose out on some of the hugs we’ve been counting on – and needing badly? (Yes, these are the things that keep me up at night…)

Nobody knows. I’m pretty sure the fandom whole-heartedly puts the safety of the cast and crew before any consideration of what the series finale will be like. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a valid worry – for both actors and fans. We are all invested in this show, and after 15 years, we are all invested in having an ending that’s gratifying and meaningful and feels like what the fictional characters we love deserve. I know how much the actors care – they wrote about it in ‘There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done’ and have talked about it many times. I know how much fans care too. We want the show to be able to have the ending its creators intended, and for the cast and crew who have given so much of themselves for so long to feel like their characters got the ending they deserved.

A few days ago, an interview with long-time Supernatural director and producer John Showalter ran in the Quad City Times. “It’s really heartbreaking that the show is ending this way,” Showalter said. “We’re not going to get to do a big finale because of COVID-19.”   It’s not clear what he meant and not a reason to panic – it could have been a reference to pandemic filming restrictions, timing changes, even the inability to have that epic wrap party that I’m sure they were all so looking forward to (and we were looking forward to the photos!)  But there’s a lot of worry going around right now, for everyone involved with the show.

Like so many things in the time of this pandemic, it’s a complicated decision of when to resume filming and how. There are new projects and employment waiting for many people involved that bring a pressure to get back to work and there’s also the desire to film the last episodes the way they were intended; pressures that may be at odds. Of course we’re all anxious about that and we’re all understandably eager to have the show back on our screens. I miss it! However, I think we’ve learned a few things from this Show we’ve loved so long and so hard. Back in Season 1, when John Winchester said that ‘killing this demon comes before everything’, a very young but already wise Sam Winchester stood up to his father and disagreed.

“No sir. Not before everything.”

As often happens, the SPNFamily pulls their inspiration from the show itself. It’s lives that are most important. And on that, I think we all agree with Sam.

So stay safe out there, SPNFamily. Fingers crossed that, when the time is right, Supernatural can (safely) pull off one more miracle.

-Lynn

You can read the actors’ and fans’ personal thoughts

on the legacy of Supernatural in There’ll Be

Peace When You Are Done, links on home page!

 

 

Are We Ready, Fandom? Supernatural Season 15 Premieres Tomorrow

 

It’s Wednesday, October 9, 2019. It hasn’t been a noteworthy date in the past, but to many of us who are Supernatural fans, it’s feeling like one now. It’s the night before Supernatural’s Season 15 premiere – and the last time I will ever sit here trembling in anticipation of a new season of the Show that changed my life a decade and a half ago. Like most humans, I don’t do all that well with change – and I certainly don’t do well with loss. Supernatural has been incredibly important to me, in countless ways. It brought me some of my closest friends, gave me a community that I cherish, pulled me out of my anxiety-caused reticence to go places and do new things. It inspired me to attempt career moves, world travel, new relationships. It turned me into a writer, because I had so damn much to say about this show and these characters and this fandom that even fear and self doubt couldn’t keep me from saying it.

It’s been a long time that Supernatural and I have been together. It’s a long term relationship, with all the benefits that brings and all the potential losses that carries. I’ve grown used to the rhythm of the seasons, intense weeks of episode after episode when I join other fans in jumping up and down in joyous celebration of what we love and gnashing our teeth over what we hate, followed by intermittent hiatus breaks where we all speculate about what’s going to happen next and read a lot of fanfic. Supernatural is part of the ebb and flow of my life, enriching it in the best of ways. It’s personal, this thing I have with the show – and I don’t mean that in the pathologizing sense of the old scary term “parasocial relationship”. I mean the real one, the validating and inspiring and healthy one that lets me immerse myself for 42 minutes a week in a fictional world with beloved characters who manage to teach me about myself and feel like old friends. There’s research on this folks, I’m not making it up. It’s good for you. And for me.

The past week has seen article after article in all the mainstream media publications that cover all the shows and are well aware that a venerable series is about to end. I remember when no one was writing about Supernatural. When my first phone call to the studio was met with an incredulous “you want to write a book about this show?”  I remember season premieres heralded mostly by fandom, mainstream media unaware of this hidden gem that only we knew was going to be something very special. I was frustrated for a long time that the rest of the world didn’t recognize Supernatural for what it was, or its cast for how amazing they are. Now, as it prepares to tell its last stories, it seems like the whole world finally knows. And I’m so very proud of our Little Show That Could, but each time I read an article I also think, you don’t really know. Not the way we do.

You don’t really know what this show means to us or how much it’s changed our lives. (Unless you’ve read Family Don’t End With Blood, and then maybe you have an idea). You don’t really know how we feel right now, caught between incredible joy and anticipation for tomorrow night and the constant looming knowledge that this is the last time we’ll have this. As always, I’ll have a slice of pie and a glass of wine and a comfy blanket ready as I sit down to watch tomorrow night. As always, I’ll also have a big box of tissues. But this time, I need those tissues tonight too. I’ve needed them all week, every time I read another headline. This time I’m steeling myself for the first of the lasts, desperately not wanting that to be the case. I’m determined to cherish every moment I have left with my favorite show and my favorite characters, but I also know this will be a rough season full of anticipatory grief as well as celebration. Luckily I know I’m not alone – as always, the fandom community who really does get it is there to take the last trip on this wild ride with me, just as it’s always been.

Buckle up, SPNFamily.

See you on the flip side.

— Lynn

You can read how Supernatural really has

changed lives – for the actors and the fans –

in Family Don’t End With Blood – links on

the home page

 

Happy Birthday Rob Benedict – And Here’s to Season 15!

 

As we head into the last season of Supernatural, we know there will be lots of familiar faces returning for one last time. I think we’re all agreed that we’re grateful one of those familiar faces will be Rob Benedict, returning as Chuck or God or The Writer or whoever the hell he really is. We all have mixed feelings about his character right now, but no one I know has mixed feelings about Rob himself.

Whether he’s kicking ass with Louden Swain or the Station Breaks in concerts all over the world or waxing eloquent about The Bachelor on Will You Accept This Rose podcast or showing off his acting chops on multiple projects (how does he have so much energy??), Rob makes us happy.

I’m forever grateful that he took down all his defenses and wrote the inside story of what happened when he had a stroke at a Supernatural convention six years ago in Family Don’t End With Blood. Not only did his story inspire many others to ‘always keep fighting’, but his chapter saved some lives for real because people who had read his story recognized when they were having a stroke and got help right away. Talk about making a difference!

The fact that we almost lost Rob has made us even more grateful that we still have him as the heart and soul of the SPNFamily. He is every bit as passionate when he takes the stage for a Saturday Night Special and brings us all together to celebrate Supernatural, the fandom, and life itself as he was the very first time I saw him play a decade ago. I watched that concert sitting in the back with Richard Speight Jr. – and we all know how that turned out! What a gift to have Rich and Rob together for all these years, making magic onstage at conventions, emceeing at Comic Con, and immortalizing a tongue in cheek (and hilarious) take of what this has all been about in Kings of Con.

It seems fitting that Rob would rejoin Supernatural for its final season. He’s been an integral part of the family since his first appearance on the show over a decade ago – and a force for good in the lives of so many. I wrote a retrospective of the many chats I’ve had with Rob last year, with lots of great quotes from Rob and lots of Kim Prior’s pretty pretty pictures, which you can read here:

Looking Back – Rob Benedict and SPNFamily

He’s pretty special.

Happy birthday, Rob – here’s to much much more of your beautiful music and inspired acting, and to an amazing Season 15!

— Lynn

You can read Rob’s heart-stopping chapter in

Family Don’t End With Blood, links at the

Home page!

Happy Anniversary to Supernatural’s Castiel!

In celebration of the anniversary of Castiel’s debut on Supernatural (which isn’t really his birthday because we all know he’s WAY older than that), here’s a throwback to what Misha Collins had to say about that fateful moment and Castiel’s epic entrance in the season premiere of Season 4 in a little excerpt from the chapter he wrote in our second book, Fan Phenomena: Supernatural.

I didn’t expect being inducted into this world to be anywhere near as strange, wonderful or overwhelming as it has been. I didn’t expect any of it. I remember watching the season premiere of Supernatural Season 4 – the episode in which my character was introduced – with the producers and writers at a little screening party at producer McG’s offices in West Hollywood. Sera Gamble, a writer and producer on the show, was standing next to me as we watched. When my character came on-screen, she leaned over and whispered to me, ‘Your life is about to change.’ I thought, ‘That is a truly arrogant thing for a producer of a CW television show to say. I’ve been on plenty of television shows. My life is going to stay exactly the same, I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Well, Sera, I think I owe you an apology for that thought.

I think Sera probably just chuckles when she remembers that now. Not only did Misha’s life change, but the character he brought to life changed the lives of many fans as well. Sera Gamble has good instincts.

You can read more of Misha’s thoughts on his character and how Supernatural has changed his life in the chapter he wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood. That book benefits Random Acts, the real life change that this show and this character have created in the world.

Happy Cas anniversary, Misha and Supernatural!

— Lynn

Links to all books on the home page!