The Time In Between – Weekly Wrap Up of Last Week’s Supernatural Happenings

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….

gif justjensenanddean

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.

cap amyinsydney

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.

Cap justjensenanddean

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.

Read more

Happy Birthday Rob!

Today is a special day in the Supernatural fandom – the birthday of Rob Benedict!  There are few people who are more integral to the SPNFamily than Rob. His character, at first seemingly the mild mannered Chuck, became so much more as Rob himself became a fan favorite – first a stand in for Eric Kripke himself and later, quite literally, God. Albeit not exactly a benevolent version. The part Rob has played in this show has been as important as the role suggests, and he’s been there right through until the end in the last few episodes.

It’s not only the part he’s played on the show itself that makes Rob so important to this fandom and this family, though. Early on in the now long history of Supernatural conventions, Rob brought his talented band, Louden Swain, to play at the conventions on Saturday night. I remember going to one of the first concerts and bringing Richard Speight, Jr. with us; we all sat there going WOW. (I feel like that was part of the spark of something else great and memorable in Supernatural history that eventually became and now is again Kings of Con). Having a band like Louden Swain made the conventions so much more fun, and did their part to keep the cons going and the fanbase passionate.

Those Saturday night concerts became special in a deeper way after Rob had a sudden stroke at the Toronto Supernatural convention in 2013. It was the closeness of the Supernatural cast that saved his life that night and the love of the SPNFamily who helped him fight his way back. Rob wrote a heartfelt, incredibly powerful chapter that takes you moment by moment through that night and the long recovery that followed in Family Don’t End With Blood: Cast and Fans on How Supernatural Changed Lives. I remember when he sent me the first draft, how I read it with my heart in my throat, even though I knew he was okay – it was that compelling a chapter and his story is that compelling.  That year, the Saturday Night Special, while Rob couldn’t front the band, carried on without him – in his honor. When he returned to Louden Swain and the SNS, there were tears of joy and gratitude that were unstoppable. We had all learned, when we almost lost him, that Rob and the band are truly the heart and soul of this SPNFamily. And we would never forget it.

I’ve had many long chats with Rob as we’ve gone on this journey with a little show on the CW that turned into so much more. In a weird way, I feel like Rob’s journey with Supernatural and my own are oddly intertwined. I was on set the same day he was on set for the first time – introduced as Chuck in ‘The Monster At The End Of This Book’. I sat there and watched him film some of his first scenes with Jared and Jensen, little suspecting that he would become such a big part of the show and the fandom and my own life. I was on set again in Season 11 when Rob was back on the show – I didn’t know at the time that he would be there and squealed so loud when he got out of the van to say hello, “ROBBBBBB!” that Jensen reminded me “hey, I’m here too.”  Anyone who knows me at all knows that is REALLY saying something! (This is not me dissing Jensen, I knew he was there but Rob was a wonderful surprise).

I’ve been so thrilled to watch Rob’s success over the years — with Louden Swain and in so many acting roles, in Kings of Con the show, and now on Kings of Con the podcast.

I’ve traveled across the country to see Louden Swain play live more than once. I am more likely to have Louden Swain playing in my car than just about anything else, with Radio Co. the other top contender.

I am forever grateful that Rob and Billy and Mike played at the book release party for Family Don’t End With Blood at the Study in LA – and Rob did a reading from the chapter he wrote, to my great delight (as you can see…)

Rob reading from his chapter in Family Don’t End With Blood

Like so many Supernatural fans, our love of Rob Benedict and Louden Swain has enriched our lives in countless ways.

Clearly I’m a big Rob fan, as most of us are. But my partner in crime, photographer extraordinaire Kim Prior, is a Rob girl through and through. So here are her happy birthday wishes for Rob, along with of course some very pretty pictures…

KIM:

Listen, I could probably write an entire book about all the wonderful things about Rob Benedict… and while many of you might appreciate that book, I should probably keep this short and sweet instead. I’ll start with a few of my favorite photos.

The thing about Rob is, well, he’s Real. He is real, and genuine, and sincere. It’s the way that he brings his true self to his podcasts with Richard Speight, Jr. – from his full belly laugh at the things that are said, to the way that he gets frustrated when he stumbles over his words or can’t find the right words to explain something – it’s like eavesdropping on an actual conversation between long time friends. It’s the way he really listens to the questions during his meet & greets at conventions, and in the way he puts thought into his answers, in the way he gives us his truth. It’s those little moments on stage during a convention, when he is listening so intently to someone else speak, the flash of a sparkle in his eye when someone is telling a funny story and he is enjoying their moment with them. It’s the little wave that he gives to a fan as he sings during the Vendor Room Jam. It’s the hug that he gives during photo ops, as if each and every one one of us are an old friend that he hasn’t seen in awhile. In every way, in every moment, Rob is sincere and genuine and Real.

Read more

The Week After – All The Supernatural Happenings (And Feelings) Since Filming Wrapped

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.

From our dinner at Cioppinos back in the day

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.

Photo fallencedrichbd

Read more

And That’s a Wrap – On Supernatural the Series

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.

caps vatitech

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.

EW

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.

Read more

Group Hug for the Supernatural Fandom – With Only A Few More Days of Filming

Supernatural has just completed its second to last week of filming – and the SPNFamily really needs a hug. It’s Sunday afternoon as I’m writing this, and my heart is a little broken (okay, a lot…) knowing the show has filmed its last scenes in the studio. Ever. That it only has two more days of filming, out on the road on location in beautiful Vancouver, and then it comes to an end. That’s probably going to make my look back at last week even more emotional than it would have been otherwise, so bear with me. I want to make sure I capture everything that happens in the last months of the show filming and airing, so this is my weekly round up of all things Supernatural (and how many made me need tissues. Hint: A lot).

But let’s pick up where we left off.

Last Sunday, Jared Padalecki posted a photo of himself riding along the sea wall, looking very contemplative, or perhaps even sad about it being perhaps the last time. The cast and crew are as acutely aware as the fans are that every day now brings a last this or a last that. Every day there are emotional posts, from guest actors and long-time crew members, and producers and writers and PAs. Everyone who has worked on this show, some for a very long time, are struggling with the reality of it finally ending. Again, I’m so grateful that they’re taking us along on the end of this ride with them, but every time I see them get emotional, I get even more emotional.

They will miss Vancouver, their home away from home, so much, I’m sure. I’ll miss it too – I only travel there a few times a year, but it’s always for this show, and I always fall in love with the city and look forward to returning. I’ve had many adventures trekking through the beautiful landscape searching for past filming locations with friends. Watched location filming in some incredibly majestic places. Gathered with fans from all over the world for conventions, which brought some of the crew and local cast together with us also. I know the city will be there and will be as beautiful as ever, but I won’t be there as much as I have been and this little show won’t have its home there anymore. Jared’s post sort of says it all.

Monday another promo trailer dropped, which mixed anticipation and excitement in with the sadness. This time, the CW really did it right – they let the fandom know exactly when it would go live, so thousands of fans from all over the world were waiting for it to run, excitedly corresponding in the chat while they waited. There was even a 2 minute countdown, just to ratchet up the anticipation even more!

We watched with bated breath, then consoled each other about the fact that Dean seems to be sobbing in every other frame and Chuck looks seriously ominous stalking around the halls of the bunker.

cap Stabgigi
Cap: EW
Cap lemondropsonice

SLIGHT SPOILER  BELOW –

We also got a glimpse of young Sam and Dean in a flashback, which I am looking forward to and simultaneously dreading in case a) it breaks my heart or b) it doesn’t.

cap bowleggeddean

Okay, END SPOILER.

Misha also cheered us up with a photo of him ‘tasting the rainbow’, and Jensen could not resist a snarky reply. Location in the photo? Hard to say – which seems to be the point!

Fans continued to create evocative fan art that ensured that we were all reaching for the tissues multiple times throughout the day, however, despite Misha’s best efforts. Including expressing hopes that favorite characters might somehow find a happy ending, like this fan-made graphic hoping for that for Castiel.

Graphic Offlarjun

Read more