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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Week Two of Supernatural’s Final Filming (or What Made Lynn Cry This Week)

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for my Supernatural’s Final Run weekly wrap up – week two of filming! In keeping with my resolve to document every week of Supernatural’s last few months on the air – and, who am I kidding, in an attempt to save my own sanity as I try to deal with the fact that it’s ending – here’s the latest installment of ‘The End of Road: What Made Lynn Cry This Week’.

A lot, it turns out. Which is a surprise to no one.

First up, that poster in the header – created by @OfflArjun. Breathtaking.

And the CW’s new poster that came out last week too. The final seven episodes….  #Tissues

Also breathtaking.

Jared and Jensen returned to the set a week ago to begin filming the final two episodes of the series. Fandom was overjoyed to see Sam and Dean back in the bunker but a bit devastated not to witness the ritual shaving of the hiatus beards and cutting of the long hair. We’ve been spoiled by often having Jared and Jensen take us along with them when they magically transformed back into Sam and Dean, but this time – whether due to COVID restrictions or the actors’ own strong emotions about this being their last time going through that transformation – we didn’t get to witness it. Mixed feelings were the order of the day. Excited to have them back to filming, which somehow made the world seem more right than it has in over five months, but sad that this means it really is almost over. And I confess to some grief about Jensen having to cut that long hair because mm mm mm.

Also RIP to Jared’s beard and his entire look just before getting a trim. Mm mm mm again. Fandom is confusing right now, to say the least.

We did, however, get to witness Jake Abel shaving his hiatus beard and turning back into Michael, or Adam, or both. Jake also gave the fandom the most amazing treat – a video series called ‘Jake And Quarantine’ that documented his fourteen day quarantine in Vancouver that was so scary in the beginning it could have been an actual episode of Supernatural! If you haven’t watched it, please do. You’re in for a treat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6MaM_3fnYA&feature=youtu.be

We also got a few spoilery photos from Jake, so skip this next little section if you’re spoiler free – though I think the entire fandom knows this one.

SPOILERY PARAGRAPH: Jake posted photos of his trailer and the one next door, both marked  ‘Choose your fighter – Michael or Lucifer’. There was mixed reaction – let’s just say that Lucifer is not the character many fans were hoping to see again. Fingers crossed that it’s to finally defeat him once and for all (which I thought had already happened. But this is Supernatural…)

We also got a new promo still from an upcoming episode which made its way around the internet. I relish that too, realizing how spoiled I am with the constant new content we have gotten about this show for such a long time. The internet will be quieter – and a lot less exciting – once Supernatural no longer graces all my timelines constantly.

#Tissues

From the upcoming episode Gimme Shelter

Misha Collins, whose presence online has been blessedly consistent during these past five months, did an Instagram live with former Presidential candidate Andrew Yang earlier in the week, which I was able to tune into. Once again, I was struck by the fact that so many unexpected people are Supernatural fans. While Misha reassured Andrew that you “couldn’t be too big a geek” when talking to people from Supernatural, Andrew excitedly referred to Misha as “a real life superhero”.  They clearly got along well, and it was a lively and informative discussion, reinforcing the importance of having a voice and using it to vote. Jensen Ackles hopped online to watch during a break from filming, after he and Jared Padalecki joined Misha for a conversation with another former Presidential candidate, Cory Booker, the week before.

Misha and Andrew Yang

Meanwhile, filming resumed. For this small amount of time, it’s almost felt like things in the Supernatural fandom went back to “normal”. Every day there are little things that remind me that they have only a few more weeks of filming, though, and that reminder makes my breath catch every time, brings a fresh pang of pain. At the same time, it always brings a profound gratitude too, for all these talented people who have cared so much about this little show and helped to make it so wonderful. I asked Jensen a little while ago if the crew that is so much a part of making the show what it is were able to come back and he said that luckily yes, most of them could. I imagine that means so much to the actors who trust their talented crew completely, and value being surrounded by professionals who care about the show as much as they do and know it just as well.

Because filming has resumed, the crew and producers are also coming to terms with the reality that this is the beginning of the end. Many of them have been with the show since the beginning, and it has been as much a part of their lives as it has been for the actors. I’ve been acquainted with some of them for over a decade, so every time I see someone post about their gratitude to the show or fandom, or document a ‘last time’, my emotions are in overdrive. Yes, this goes under the category of ‘things that made Lynn cry’.

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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

 

Happy Birthday, Jared Padalecki!

 

When I wrote a birthday message for Jared Padalecki last year, I had no idea that this year’s birthday would take place in a world that is completely different. I thought Supernatural would be wrapped and over, and Jared would be on to his next project (which we didn’t know at the time will be Walker). I thought Jared would have celebrated the last birthday on which he was still Sam Winchester. Instead, Supernatural is in limbo with production stopped just short of the series finale, and the actors and the fans are all in limbo too until they film those last two and air the remaining episodes.

That’s a tough thing for all of us. As Jared posted a few weeks ago, being Sam Winchester and a lead actor on Supernatural has been a huge part of his identity for more than fifteen years. Having all that yanked out from under you unexpectedly is even harder than having a planned ending that you can anticipate and prepare for, surrounded by the support of the people you’ve been close to for all that time.  His post was heartfelt, but there’s always mixed response when a celebrity posts something personal online. There was also speculation about why Jared has grown out his hair and his beard (during this time when he doesn’t have to step in front of the cameras). All that discussion about hair and beards made me remember some of my earliest chats with Jared, so I thought for his birthday this year, I’d throw it back to some of my favorite moments with him. Like most of us, I don’t know him well. We don’t know any of them well, even though it can seem like we do if they’ve made themselves accessible and enjoy interacting with fans like this cast does.  I’ve been lucky to spend a little time with him when he’s not on a stage or at a convention over the years, so I thought I’d share just a few of the little glimpses I’ve gotten in those times of the person Jared Padalecki is –  thoughtful, warm, emotional, intelligent. And a very good writer.

I first met Jared in 2007, shortly after my friend Kathy and I fell in love with Supernatural and spontaneously decided to fly across the country to see Jensen Ackles in a community theater production of A Few Good Men in Fort Worth, Texas. (Yes, our families did think we’d lost our minds)  There was no fandom twitter, so fandom was connected through sporadic posts on Live Journal mostly. We happened to read that someone had spotted Jared and then girlfriend Sandy on a flight to Texas, along with speculation that maybe he was going to see his costar perform. So when we saw a very tall man in the lobby candy line trying to be inconspicuous (by putting on a hat), we knew who it was. The audience for the play was mostly the regular community theater-goers, so nobody else went over to say hello other than us. Well, me. Kathy refused to budge from the corner. I don’t know what I was expecting as a brand new and extremely passionate Supernatural fan, but Jared’s warm welcome was not it. I said it was awfully nice of him to fly all the way down here to see his friend in a community theater play.

Jared brightened, that now familiar white-teeth smile making his whole face light up.

“Of course I would, he’s my bud!”

Jared was so nice, I felt protective of him immediately.

Me: Are you sure we should take photos, right now nobody knows who you are? But if we take pictures, they probably will come find out.

He waved my concern away and posed for photos and went on his merry way, standing in the refreshments line like the rest of us and greeting Jensen’s dad with a joyful “Papa Ackles!” and a big hug for Danneel – also in the candy line.

Wow, I thought, what a nice guy. Also? He was a baby! Look at those bangs!

The first time I got to spend more than a few minutes with Jared was on our first set visit, which took place the next year, in 2008. There’s a whole chapter devoted to that in the book Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls. But what told me more about the kind of person Jared is was not the interview we did that day, but the moments in between. Kathy and I sat there rapt watching them film for an entire day, and came away with a little bit of understanding about what makes that set so special. Jared and Jensen seemed to set a tone that kept everyone from getting stressed out, from crew to guest actors, with constant jokes in between takes and then a lightning fast snap into professionalism when the cameras rolled. It was clear to us, as nobodies from the outside, that everyone making the show loved it – because everyone kept coming up to us eager to tell us about the part they played in that, with obvious pride. Every single member of the crew also had glowing things to say about “the boys”.  The same thing has happened every single time I’ve had the privilege of being on that set over the years.

We soon had our own proof of how nice “the boys” are. As midnight approached, the PA who was watching over us told us that shooting had run too long, there was no way we could do interviews with Jared and Jensen as had been planned. She apologized profusely but we were fine with that – we had already had a day that was beyond our wildest fangirl dreams. Jared and Jensen, however, had other ideas. One after the other, as they wrapped, they came to find us.

“Come on, we’ll just do this on the fly,” Jared said, and we jumped down from our chairs to follow him out of the studio and onto the lot. It was pouring rain and Jared’s legs are ten times longer than ours, so we essentially ran after him as he helpfully carried our little primitive audio recorder and did the “interview” as we hurried to the makeup trailer. He kept right on answering our (rather breathless) questions in the makeup trailer, and then instead of saying goodbye, invited us into his own trailer to keep right on going! It was late at night, he was exhausted and wet and must have just wanted to go home, but he was a lovely host anyway, introducing us to his dogs Harley and Sadie and generously answering all our questions.

Here’s the part of that interview that I was reminded of when all the discussion of Jared’s hair (facial and otherwise) happened.

Lynn: It reminds me of what Eric Kripke said about this [looking at fan reaction online]. He said he likes to hear what the fans are saying, but not so that he can follow it and do it, because then he’ll lose the vision and what they love in the first place.

Jared: Exactly, exactly,  and I’m lucky because I’m able to avoid the internet and opinions.  I remember when I started Gilmore Girls, I was 18, fresh out of Texas, just graduated high school, pretty naïve — and the 5th episode they cut my hair. The internet was kind of new and I was like oh, weird, they write about that? Cool! And so I read about it and it was like ‘oh Dean has a different hairstyle’ and a girl was like ‘he looks ugly, he looks like a girl’, and I was like, that hurts! … I don’t know where it comes from but not only is the bad, bad, but the good is bad, even if it says ‘he looks hot, he looks better than he used to’. Even that’s bad… you get false confidence or arrogance and you know, just start focusing on vanity, which I don’t want to do. My job is to flesh out Sam Winchester how I can, not to take from a billion people, but to play it my way, otherwise all these shows would be CGI – but there’s nothing interesting in that, they would make it exactly like choose your own adventure novels, but that’s not fun. It’s like choose brown hair, etc, but that’s not interesting.

Lynn: And then you’re devoid of emotion and reality.

Jared: And history and experiences.

Lynn: That’s a really good recipe for staying grounded.

Jared: I’d like to take credit for it, but it’s nothing more than – it’s once bitten twice shy kinda thing, you know? I’m not a masochist, it hurts so I stay away. And it’s stupid that I’m hurt, but still, I am hurt.

Once again, I was struck by what a nice person Jared is, and this time also by how thoughtful and sensitive a person he is too. That conversation happened twelve years ago, which seems unbelievable now. The world has changed a lot, but what he said that day still makes a lot of sense.

He contributed to that first book for us, and then to another, and another, and another. He even read them all.

Fast forward to 2015 at a convention. Jared casually asked if I was working on another book and I said yes, I’ve heard so many powerful stories from fans about how this show and fandom has changed and even saved people’s lives, so I want to put all those personal stories together in a book so everyone will understand just how special Supernatural is. Jared considered for a minute and then said that he had a story to tell too – and that’s how Family Don’t End With Blood ended up being written by both the fans and the actors. (If Jared wanted to write a chapter, I thought, maybe the other Supernatural actors did too. They did.)

Working with Jared for the two years it took him to write his chapter in that book let me see some other sides of him. I was blown away that he wanted to share a story that was so personal in a book. He had already started the Always Keep Fighting campaign and had spoken out about his own mental health challenges, but it’s different talking about them in an interview and actually sitting down and writing the story of your own most difficult and hopeless moments, in the first person, with all the details that actually happened. It was a tremendously courageous thing for someone who is a ‘celebrity’ to do, opening himself up for judgment and ridicule – and that hurt we’d talked about so long ago – but he wanted to do it. I think there were a few times I asked, ‘are you sure?’  He was. He wanted to make a difference. He wanted to give back.

In the three years since Family Don’t End With Blood was published, I’ve heard from hundreds of people who say that Jared’s chapter did make a difference, sometimes a life saving one.

I learned about Jared’s determination too as I worked with him on his chapter. I learned that he was someone who wouldn’t get annoyed when I sent him lots of follow up emails, and that he would still smile when he saw me at conventions even though he knew I was going to ask how his chapter was coming along. I learned that he doesn’t do things half assed – I was not the one asking him to make most of the revisions that got made, that was mostly him. And I never once asked him to say more. That was him. He wanted to tell his story in a way that was real and genuine, and he kept pushing himself until he did, until his chapter was thirty pages long.

I knew, when I started putting together the final book about Supernatural last year (There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, which came out in May), that I wasn’t going to ask Jared to write another chapter like that – he had written his heart out in Family Don’t End With Blood. He once told me it was one of the hardest things he’s ever done. But he still had some important messages to get across in the new book – things he’d said at events and interviews over the past year about the show and about being Sam, that he wanted fans to know and remember. Even though he was incredibly busy trying to film the last season of the show, he also included some new thoughts about the legacy Sam Winchester leaves behind in his chapter for that book.

And he was, once again, still smiling after my many follow up emails trying to meet the nearly impossible May publication deadline. Sometimes when you work with someone, your view of them changes, and not always for the better. In this case, working with Jared on those two books made me appreciate him even more.

I’m sure Jared, like all of us, has changed quite a bit in the thirteen years between that first meeting in the candy line and now. But I think that capacity for honesty (and admission of not being perfect), innate sensitivity, and thoughtfulness about himself and the rest of the world are still what shapes him.  There are so many fan-written chapters in Family Don’t End With Blood and There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done that talk about how Jared has inspired someone else. How his openness and affection have enabled change for someone, or his portrayal of Sam has given someone the strength to always keep fighting. That says alot.

I hope, on this last birthday on which he’s still Sam Winchester (for real this time), that he can continue to hang onto all those things and know that they make a difference.

That he makes a difference.

Happy birthday, Jared Padalecki! Thank you for Sam Winchester – and for being you.

–Lynn

You can read Jared’s chapters in Family

Don’t End With Blood and There’ll Be Peace

When You Are Done – links here on the home

page or at peacewhenyouaredone.com

 

 

 

The Day Supernatural Didn’t End: Some Inspiration from There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done

 

May 18 is a day circled in many colors on my wall calendar, and a day that will always bring a jolt of emotion. It’s the day that Supernatural was supposed to air its last episode ever – its series finale. The day that Supernatural was supposed to end. I was supposed to be in Lawrence, Kansas, right now, gathered with fellow fans and friends (and lots of tissues) so we could support each other through that ending, in the place where the story began. Instead, I’m in my living room on my laptop, but I know that all over the world, fans are joining me in thinking about the significance of May 18 and the eventual ending of Supernatural.

For a long time, it’s a day that I was both looking forward to and dreading. This little show and its incredible fictional characters have been so important to me that losing it seemed on par with some of the most momentous occasions of my life. That might sound silly to someone who has never been a passionate fan and part of a passionate fan community, but it’s true. May 18 was going to be a day that I probably am never going to be prepared for.

The universe had other plans, and now we’re in what sometimes feels like a real life apocalypse, waiting for it to be safe for the cast and crew to film the final two episodes and for the final seven to be ready for broadcast. Sometime this fall, the CW promises, we’ll take our last ride with the Winchesters and Cas and Jack. I probably still won’t be ready.

We put together a new book, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, as a way of coping with the end of this special show. Both actors and fans came together to celebrate the legacy of Supernatural in a book that we hope is as inspiring (and beautiful, with fans contributing photography and original art) as the show itself. Jared and Jensen’s chapters bring together some of the emotional things they’ve said over the past year about the show ending, as a comfort and inspiration to fans, plus some new thoughts about Sam and Dean’s legacy. Misha Collins includes a special message to end the book, short but heartfelt. Fourteen other Supernatural actors and one of the show’s writers wrote chapters sharing their personal experiences on the show and with the fandom, and seventeen Supernatural fans also wrote from the heart about how the show and its characters and the fandom community have changed their lives. Actors and fans wrote from diverse perspectives and celebrated the show’s evolution in reflecting that same diversity.

We planned for the book to come out in May so that fans would have it to hang onto, as a source of comfort and hope and positivity, when the show came to an end. Somehow we pulled that impossible timetable off and the book went to print before the show went on a last surprise hiatus. The best laid plans, right? But now it seems like this is a time when we all need messages of hope and inspiration more than ever, especially from our favorite show and characters and actors and our fellow fans. Maybe it was for the best that There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done came out in May after all – we are all facing a lot of loss and uncertainty right now, so we hope this will be a source of comfort that helps to get us through.

And when that May 18 replacement date gets set and Supernatural does come to an end later this year, we hope you can reread the heartfelt messages of hope and inspiration in the book and get through that too. In the meantime, here are a few excerpts from There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done to get you through today!

It’s clear from their chapters that both actors and fans have been changed by this little show, and that it will always be important, to all of us.

Over the years (and lots of therapy!), I’ve gradually come closer to feeling like that brave, strong little girl I once was, which was why it was so important to me to portray Linda Tran on Supernatural. And although I still feel like a misfit and an outsider at times, I realize now that most people probably feel that way—our situations and particular details might be different, but we, as humans, are all much more alike than different. Perhaps that’s what has bound the Supernatural family so close together. We are all—fans, crew, and cast—a bunch of bighearted misfits who have come together around a show that we all love. At the end of the day, we all long for that sense of belonging.
– Lauren Tom (Linda Tran)

The best thing to come from the SPNFamily and Supernatural for me was the opportunity to do some good works in the world. I want to give full credit to Misha Collins for paving the way as the innovator and leader of the community in our charitable efforts. What is so rewarding about this experience is that it’s something I never would have chosen to do on my own. The “Less Than Three” campaign came out of the social interactions and conversations I had with people online who were following me, in a completely organic way… And again, we come back to family. The truly extraordinary, unique, inclusive SPNFamily.
-David Haydn-Jones (Arthur Ketch)

There’s another way in which Supernatural has changed my life. I can’t express how happy I am to have become friends with the cast members. I know I can reach out to any of the SPN ladies (not discounting the men here, but the SPN ladies are something special) when I need advice or I am feeling low, or when I’m stuck across town and want to kill a few hours. This was the best unexpected side effect of being cast on this show, and I am forever grateful to be a part of the SPNFamily. There is nothing more important than having magical women in your life that you can trust to show your entire true self to—the good, the bad, the ugly, the badass. How lucky I am that Supernatural has given me that . . . and so much more.
– Julie McNiven (Anna Milton)

That camaraderie and built-in support group that Julie talks about in her chapter is exactly what so many of us have found in the fandom as well. When you can be real with people, when your creativity and self expression is supported, that can be life changing.

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