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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Cap: EW
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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.

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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

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Happy Birthday Richard Speight, Jr.!

Yesterday, perhaps so we can all celebrate his birthday today in style, Richard Speight, Jr. released his first music video from his first CD with his band Dick Jr. and the Volunteers. The song, ‘Goin’ Straight’, will get stuck in your head in the most enjoyable way possible, and the video itself is brilliant!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMdsL-oQatw&feature=emb_logo

Leave it to Richard to give us a toe-tappin’ way to celebrate with him.

As Supernatural comes to an end, I’m more nostalgic than usual and feeling incredibly grateful to the people who have made the show the phenomenon that it is. Richard is one of those people.

He joined the show early on to play The Trickster and captured the fandom’s hearts. Over the years, the character returned, eventually revealed as Gabriel.

Richard went from acting on the show to directing, even proving his versatility by directing himself as both Gabriel and Loki! I’ve chatted with Richard over a dozen times over the past thirteen years about acting and directing Supernatural, and his insights never cease to amaze me. He’s been an integral part of the show since almost the beginning.

He’s come a long way from our very first chat back in 2007!

Photo: Lizz Sisson

In fact, Richard has developed his own distinctive style as a director, and has brought his vision to some of our favorite episodes. He collaborated with writer Jenny Klein to direct ‘Just My Imagination’ which is still one of the episodes I go back to watch again and again. He then went on to direct many more, including four episodes in Supernatural’s final season.

Photo: Chris Schmelke

Here’s our most recent chat, in which Richard shares fascinating insights and behind the scenes looks at directing Supernatural Season 15, and what it felt like to finish that final episode.

Behind the Scenes with Director Dick

But that’s not all.

Richard came to a Supernatural convention early on, rather reluctantly and not knowing what to expect, and ended up becoming the host of the whole damn thing – as well as joining Rob and Matt for countless hilarious R2M panels and joining Louden Swain onstage to rock out at countless Saturday Night Specials. He took the sparsely attended Friday night karaoke and turned it into a free event that everyone could enjoy. He helped make Louden Swain the house band. Perhaps more than anyone else, Richard turned Supernatural conventions into something special – which has helped keep them going for almost fourteen years!

Richard wrote a chapter for Fan Phenomena Supernatural with all his trademark wit and humor but also a lot of serious appreciation for the Supernatural fandom. I’m so grateful that he also contributed a chapter to There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done: Actors and Fans Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural – in it, he puts his finger squarely on what makes this show so special, and why its legacy will live on. He also expresses his appreciation for the show and the fandom that changed his life. He’s eloquent, and I think what he has to say in his chapter will be a comfort and an inspiration to fans grieving the end of the show.

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Behind the Scenes of The Last Season of Supernatural with Director Richard Speight, Jr.

Richard Speight, Jr. has a birthday coming up, and that has me thinking about a) how long I’ve known him and b) the incredible impact he has had on Supernatural and on the SPNFamily. In our very first conversation, close to 12 years ago, I was impressed with how smart and thoughtful he was. It wasn’t long before he talked about wanting to direct in addition to acting, and I was not a bit surprised when he added that to his repertoire – and kicked ass at it. He’s come a long way from 2014, when producer Jim Michaels posted a photo of Richard shadowing director Tom Wright on the set of Supernatural, going on to direct eleven episodes and to shape the show in significant ways.

I also knew early on that Richard was an excellent writer, because he wrote a chapter for one of my first books, Fan Phenomena Supernatural. When it came time to write my last book on the show that captured my heart as it went into its very last season, I knew I wanted Richard’s voice in that book too. His chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done is, fittingly enough, a conversation between me and him. Like countless other conversations we’ve had over the past twelve years, in hotel restaurants or convention green rooms or in a taxi so he could show me where he’d filmed in San Francisco, his chapter is brimming with insights and a little bit of his trademark humor. In There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, Richard also gets serious about this little show that has changed so many lives. The way he describes Supernatural’s legacy, and what makes it so special, makes me tear up a little every time I read it. He gets it. From Richard’s chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done:

The “Supernatural” take on family ain’t the Lifetime version. It’s dark, it’s rough, it’s painful, it’s broken. It may not be a perfect family, but it’s our family. It may not be a perfect world, but it’s our world. And I think the way Sam and Dean and Castiel choose to navigate that world and how they deal with each other along the way is inspirational to a lot of people and will continue to be an inspiration for a very long time.

Richard understands why the SPNFamily is so important, and why the show and its iconic characters will always be with us, which is what that book is all about. He also gets the show itself. That’s why I couldn’t wait to talk to him about the episodes of the show he directed for Season 15, three of which have already aired. In part 2 of my conversation with Richard, he takes us behind the scenes of those three episodes with so many fascinating insights. And maybe makes me a little emotional again as he talks about the upcoming end of this incredible show.

Part 1 of my epic interview with Richard shared insights into his new film Driven, his hilarious podcast with Rob Benedict, and some behind the scenes stories of directing his first episode of Season 15, Proverbs 17:3. I had a few more questions about that episode, because so much about it was SO good, so we pick up there…

L: Switching gears again, another scene I really liked in that episode was with the actress who played Lilith, who was so good – things very quickly go from all serious and horrifying to this poor traumatized girl falling on some antlers and being impaled, to her just getting up and brushing herself off! How challenging was that kind of split second progression?

R: Let me tell you, first off, Steve Yockey wrote a great script. So clever, the miscues were great. It was like my third or fourth Steve Yockey script, so we work together well. We connect on the material, he likes what I do, I like what he does. As we go through and adjust, we’re always on the same page. But I really really think, to pull that moment off, I give massive credit to Anna Grace Barlow. Finding her was finding Nate Torrence for Sully. I cast her off tape, I never met her. She turned in an audition that she shot in the garage during a short film she was doing that was so fantastic. And she came up and just knocked the leather off the walls. She was so good at every scene, from day one. Day one, her first day of shooting, she was confronting Sam and Dean in a parking lot as Lilith and taking the gun. She was already doing heavy hitting stuff right out of the gate. I thought she was incredibly talented. And she got the character. We discussed the character, she got the beats, and she played all that drama for real. Because you don’t get the joke, you don’t enjoy that moment, if you didn’t buy into everything that has happened before that.

L: Yes, and you really did.

R: You believed that she was in distress, you believed that she was a victim in this scenario, that she was in peril and incapable of doing anything to defend herself. And she’s completely distraught by what she’s witnessed and probably damaged for life, and then she stumbles and dies on those antlers and it’s a WTF moment of massive proportion.

L: Massive! She did a great job there and Jared and Jensen did too, with Sam and Dean’s WTF just happened expressions.

R: They did, they played it like the audience should have been too. But Anna Grace did such a good job and when she makes that turn, she’s Lilith the rest of the time. We had such fun crafting that character. To really go into this episode, I started talking to Jerry Wanek about the episode two weeks before we went up there because he read it and he called me and said “Wes Anderson”.

L: Ohhhhh

R: And I said, you had me at Wes. Because he’s like, I’m trying to figure it out, tonally I don’t want you to hang your hat on the set here but if you’re into it, I’ll lean into it and let’s create that vibe of symmetrical sets and straight on angles. And I said, oh absolutely. Then Carrie at the costume center got on board and that’s why Anna Grace Barlow looks like she’s from Moonrise Kingdom.

L: Yesssss

R:  If you go back to the campsite scene, we used plaids and all these things ala that heightened style. I loved that episode so much, and every set was a meal. It was all stylized. The sheriff’s office, very stylized. We used angles that reflected that kind of style – I don’t wanna say an homage because every shot is an homage because you picked it up from somebody at some point – but nonetheless it was a consistent style thing through the whole episode and it was so fun to do. Anna Grace in her little beret and kerchief being super evil was just so phenomenal.

L: That really added to the character being memorable and full of personality.

R: Everything she does previous to that scene – when she did that hospital scene and expressed her fear to Dean and in the hotel room telling him she doesn’t know what she’ll do now because her friends are all dead? That scene rips your heart out.

L: Yes, you have no idea at the time.

R:  She was shaggin’ flies with every take. Everything was a great take by her, so she gave so many options and choices. And when she went dark, she went dark so well. She was a fantastic villainess. In many ways, I wish it was Season 5 instead of Season 15, because I think we would have seen her many more times.

L: My favorite moment was when she asks them to give her the gun, and Dean says, “the Equalizer?” and she just deadpans “I’m not gonna call it that.” I laughed out loud.

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