Happy 37th Birthday, Jared Padalecki!

I’m at San Diego Comic Con right now, on the day of one of my favorite people’s birthdays – Jared Padalecki. But that’s okay, because he is too! Last year I got to give him a birthday hug the day after his birthday, also at Comic Con. This year, who knows if I’ll be that lucky – but either way, I wanted to tell him how much he means to me and to so many others.

It’s been an emotional year for the SPNFamily, for the fans and for the cast. As Season 14 was nearing its wrap, Jared, Jensen and Misha announced that the next season would be Supernatural’s last. To say that the news sent shock waves through the fandom would be an understatement. But it was a complicated decision for the actors as well, and one that left them almost as emotional as we all were. I’ve talked with all three of them a bit about it since, but even that day, it was clear that – like with so many complex and sweeping decisions – there was ambivalence and mixed emotions. Sometimes even when you’re the one making a difficult decision, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a painful one to make.

So, as the actors head back to work for the final season, I think this will also be an emotional birthday for Jared (and for the other actors as theirs come along). It will be the last birthday that happens while Jared is still Sam Winchester. The last that happens when Supernatural is still filming and still on the air. The last time Jared’s birthday will happen in the midst of the actors holding court in giant Hall H for thousands of fans or being shuttled back and forth from press room to press room and party to party. Like most of the things that will change with the Show ending, that means some things will be better next year. He can spend his birthday at home with the kids, or halfway around the world on an exotic vacation, or anywhere he damn well pleases. He can take the time to kick back and enjoy what he has and what he’s done, and plan for what he’s yet to do. There won’t be PR to do and make up to wear and clothes styled for him; he can wear jeans and bare feet and however much facial hair he wants.

At the same time, there’s a lot of loss associated with the ending too. Because the show – and the fandom – the SPNFamily —  has changed these actors’ lives. Not just a little, but a lot. It’s what so many of them, including Jared, wrote about in Family Don’t End With Blood. I honestly didn’t realize, before I put that book together and read what the actors wrote about how important this Show and this fandom has been to them, not just us.  Those changes won’t be erased, but the unique and powerful symbiotic relationship that allowed them to happen will change. Losing Supernatural will be a major loss for all of us, on both sides of the fence.

I’ll still be a Supernatural fan, because that’s part of my identity now that I cherish, and I’m sure many of you will too. But Sam Winchester’s life will be put on pause (this is me being optimistic). If the character really is gone, that means we won’t find out anything new about him. We won’t be able to follow his evolution and argue about whether or not it makes sense or does the character justice. We can look back, but we can no longer look forward. And that’s different. Similarly, Sam will be frozen in time for Jared too. Always an important part of his life and his identity, but Sam himself won’t have a [fictional] life to live out. He won’t get any older; he won’t grow and change. He’ll be frozen in time at 38 while Jared moves forward, instead of the two of them evolving in lockstep all these years. He’s so right, he’ll always have Sam, but it will be different.

(Of course, since I’m an optimist at heart, I’m hanging onto the hope that we WILL get more of the Supernatural universe at some point. Maybe there will be a Supernatural movie….or a Netflix mini series… we’ll have to wait and see. And cross all our fingers and toes. And keep telling Warner Bros how badly we want it. We’re good at that.)

For the actors, the changes as a result of the Show ending are if anything even bigger than for the fans. I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve left a job that I loved, it was traumatic to say goodbye – even when I was moving on to something that I’d chosen, something that in some ways at least was better. They are all so close, such a supportive little community, working together and traveling together and experiencing the world together. They’ve quite literally grown up together. I have no doubt they will stay close, but it won’t be quite the same as having morning coffee together every day and running lines and making incredible television.

Things will change; it’s part of life, but some years bring more change than others. So I hope that this birthday is one that Jared can cherish – that he can relish the craziness of Comic Con and the phenomenon that is Supernatural taking over the gigantic Hall H one more time this weekend. I look back on the darkest time in his life, the one he wrote about in his chapter when he almost gave up and didn’t keep going, and I look at how far he’s come and who he is now. Running marathons, facing his demons, unashamed – proud even – to seek help when he needs it and to encourage others to do the same. What he wrote, and what he has said in panels, has inspired so many people. What a legacy he’s built in 37 short years!

I hope he knows that the fan support that he wrote about in his chapter, that helped get him through those tough times and shaped the man he’s become, isn’t going anywhere. It may not feel as immediate or as all encompassing after next year, but it will be there. None of us who have been changed and inspired by this little Show and this SPNFamily – and by Jared Padalecki – are going to forget that.

Happy Birthday, Jared. Enjoy every minute!

Much love,

Lynn

You can read the moving and inspiring chapter

that Jared wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood,

info and amazon links on the home page!

Supernatural Alums Helm Midnight Texas for a Sexier, Scarier Season 2!

 

I discovered Midnight Texas last year at Comic Con when I went to one of the “Experience” installations. I was immediately intrigued by the show’s emphasis on outsiders and how that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I enjoyed Season One, so I was excited to see what Season Two would have to offer – and even more excited when two familiar faces took over as showrunners. Nicole Snyder and Eric Charmelo were writers on Supernatural before taking on Midnight TX, so I couldn’t wait to ask them what they’ll bring with them from their time on my favorite show.

The panel this year was in a bigger ballroom and was well attended, which always bodes well. The audience was enthusiastic and eager to hear from cast members Francois Arnaud (Manfred), Dylan Bruce (Bobo), Parisa Fitz-Henley (Fiji), Arielle Kebbel (Olivia), Peter Mensah (Lem) and Jason Lewis (Joe) joined by showrunners Nicole Snyder and Eric Charmelo and executive producer David Janollari. We were treated to a sizzle reel of last season and then a glimpse of what’s to come this year – which left me very excited for Season 2!

Snyder and Charmelo are new showrunners for Season 2, so fans wanted to know what would be different.

Eric: We wanted to do justice to Season One, so we knew Season Two had to be big. And we wanted to continue to explore the themes of Season One. Midnight is a town built of outcasts and outsiders and people who are marginalized for being different and often persecuted. So what we wanted to propose was, if that which makes you different was a choice and you can change that to assimilate, would you? Or would you choose to stay different because that which makes you different also makes you special?

A provocative question indeed!

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Catching Up With Supernatural alum Sera Gamble and company – The Magicians at Comic Con 2018!

 

The Magicians returned to San Diego Comic Con to celebrate the upcoming Season 4, and I couldn’t wait to chat with the cast and producers again. It’s one of my favorite shows – I love the creativity of it, the imagination, the willingness to go wherever the story takes them even when that is sometimes the last place you expect it to go! Not to mention the amazing actors and writers who bring the sometimes surprising story to life, based on Lev Grossman’s fascinating books.

The press room for the show was first, so I headed to the Hilton Bayfront and grabbed a table.  First to our table were showrunners Sera Gamble and John McNamara. I was ecstatic to see Sera again – she’s the former showrunner and writer for Supernatural, and was literally the first person from Supernatural who took the time to talk with me when I started researching fandom and writing books about the show, and she contributed some valuable insights to my first few books. I will be forever grateful for her generosity in answering my questions, facilitating my research, and always encouraging my writing over the many years since.

Sera and John summed up where we ended the last season, which was with everyone in quite a dilemma.

John: No one knows who they are.

Sera: Alice does, but she’s locked in a prison in the library. So it’s a very interesting first episode because our characters have no fucking clue who they are.

Not to mention Eliot is now the monster…

Me (with my psychologist hat firmly on): Are you treating this like the characters have amnesia and it’s almost like a trauma for them?

John: It’s more like you are that person, an entirely different human being.

Sera: They even look different.

John: When they look in the mirror, they see someone different.

Sera: We’ll explain why in the first episode, but we’ve actually got two sets of actors. It required a lot of explaining when we were producing the first episode, but it makes sense when you watch it.

Me: Oooh that’s intriguing…

John and Sera: (cagey grins)

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ALL the Scoop on Supernatural at Comic Con 2018 – Part Two with Exclusive Video Interviews!

 

After thoroughly enjoying the Supernatural panel in Hall H (see part one of my epic Comic Con report here – Part One) we had an hour to rush to the press area and download some photos and eat a hot dog (you eat WAY too many hot dogs at Comic Con, just saying…). Then it was off to the Hilton Bayfront for the Supernatural press room. This is my second year in the press room, so I wasn’t quite as nervous about my technology failing me (though it did…) and more able to just enjoy the chance to chat with everyone. We had a great table of press, some of whom I already knew, and everyone had great questions. Press rooms can be stressful things, since there’s a very limited amount of time and no guarantee that every cast member will get to your table – which means I actually did get anxious anyway. But big kudos to Warner Brothers’ Holly Ollis and Nikki Calderon, who managed to make sure that every single table got some time with every single one of the cast and producers. Phew!

Executive producer and showrunner Bob Singer was the first to come to our table – which is why I was so nervous I didn’t even manage to take a picture of him!

Our table asked what he could tease about Season 14?

Bob: Oh nothing, we have strict instructions…

We laughed, but he relented.

Bob:  I think Season 14 is gonna be a little less broad in scope and a little more emotional, with more personal stories about the guys. We’ll look at what Jack’s going through with losing his powers, and if and when Dean comes back from Michael, what it will be like with his relationship with Sam. We also have a lot of fan favorites who will be back – Bobby, Charlie.  I think it will be a little more low key but it will still be Supernatural, just more personal and emotional.

(That literally had me bouncing with happiness because yay for more personal and emotional! Okay, maybe not literally bouncing, but it was a near thing)

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Everything You Wanted To Know About Supernatural at Comic Con 2018 – Part One!

It’s no secret to anyone who has ever read one of my Supernatural books that I love Comic Con – my first year there was 2007, when you could still drive your rental car right up to the convention center, park in the underground garage and stroll up to get in the (very small) line to get in. It was Supernatural that brought me to Comic Con back then, and it’s still Supernatural that brings me back now, and every year in between. The Show has gone from Room 6BCF to the larger Ballroom 20 and finally for the past few years, the gigantic Hall H. Like many loyal fans, I’ve followed along and celebrated the Show’s success as it defied the odds and refused to be cancelled. Last year saw a triumphant celebration of that tenacity, with Kansas appearing to play the Show’s unofficial theme song, Carry On Wayward Son, live on the Hall H stage.

Nobody expected Warner Brothers to top that amazing feat this year, and yet anticipation was high for our first glimpse of Season 14 – and Supernatural (as always) did not disappoint.

My Supernatural-centric Comic Con began on Thursday night with the Wayward Cocktails party in the Gaslamp district’s Analog Bar. Jules Wilkinson (better known as admin of the SuperWiki) and friends throw this party most years, and it’s a great place to meet up with all your fellow Supernatural fans. It’s also a charity event, so I brought along some copies of Family Don’t End With Blood to donate, benefiting Random Acts and Public Counsel, a legal services advocacy organization. All the television screens in the bar were playing episodes of Supernatural, there were Supernatural themed drinks, plenty of food, and of course pie for dessert. Ruth Connell joined us at our table for a while, and I had a chance to chat with Scoobynatural writers Jeremy Adams and Jim Krieg, who would love nothing more than to reprise that amazing episode.

I also got to hug some of the people who keep the Show awesome, like the always adorable post coordinator Mary Manchin and showrunner’s assistant Meghan – and to talk Season 14 a bit with writer Davy Perez. He’s excited about the upcoming episode written by Meredith Glynn and that makes ME even more excited! More on that later, because SQUEE!

Friday stayed Supernatural-focused with the Warner Bros. party at Float, the rooftop bar of the Hard Rock Hotel. My friend M. Night Shyamalan was also at Comic Con, premiering the trailer for his new film Glass (more about that coming up!) so I invited him to come by the WB party – because it’s always a fabulous party! He stayed long enough to chat for a little while, and then ran into Jensen Ackles as he was leaving, so they got to reconnect too. That’s what makes Comic Con so awesome!

Along with my good friends Laurena and Alice, I chatted Season 14 of Supernatural at the party with producer Jim Michaels while we sampled the delicious food and drinks, including the pros and cons of a reduced season of 20 episodes instead of 23. I was thrilled to hear that Jim’s optimism about the Show continuing for a while matches my own. We also were happy to run into showrunner and director Bob Singer and his wife, writer and executive producer Eugenie Ross-Leming. Both are excited about the new season, even if Bob did try to retire a few years ago – but we all know how that turned out!

Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins and Alex Calvert joined the party a short while in and stayed until they literally turned the lights on to try to convince those of us who were having way too good a time to finally leave – sorry, Float employees! My chats with Jensen were about his singing prowess and whether he’d run into Night before Night had to leave (he had, in the elevator!), with Jared about his recent birthday, and with Misha about politics – and whether I need a new phone (I do).

My chats with Alex were a bit more substantial – I can’t say enough about what a lovely person Alex is and how thoughtful about this unique situation he finds himself in. Needless to say, he was nervous about being onstage at Hall H in front of 8000 people on Sunday, but as I told him that night – the rest of the cast have his back. And so does the fandom.

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