Supernatural Is Back – With A Media Blitz Bang!

When I said I was going to try to document everything Supernatural related in the weeks before the show returns to the air for the last time, I had no idea just what that would mean. I’ve watched this show since the beginning, and I remember wishing for more media coverage, trying to get people interested in the show, telling anyone who would listen that Supernatural was the best show ever. Fifteen years later, the world has figured that out. That was never more obvious than in the couple of days leading up to the show’s return, when it seemed like every major outlet from Variety to TVGuide to CNN had an interview with Jared and Jensen and an article about the show, and every CW local outlet had their 10 minutes of questions with the boys. It was incredibly overwhelming trying to keep up with the constant onslaught of coverage, and I was constantly emotional – so proud of the little show that could which, now that it’s coming to an end, is recognized for how special it is and what it has created.

There were also bits of news every day, all of it exciting. Jensen and Danneel struck a deal to form a production company under the Warner Bros. umbrella called Chaos Machine Productions. Not gonna lie, I’m keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that they’ll helm the next Supernatural project. Come on, Ackles, it’s a no brainer!

Jared got a hair cut, which left fandom in a collective panic about how short Walker’s hair was going to be.

Turned out to be a fruitless worry, because – in my humble opinion anyway – the new haircut is every bit as hot as the previous one! Fandom then turned its considerable attention to wondering what the new tattoo is that Jared’s sporting and what it might mean. Hmmm.

Jared started a new AKF campaign with Stands that included a plaid AKF charm and a stuffed AKF moose, which is seriously adorable. He did a facebook live about the campaign, which he hasn’t done in one million years, and posted a gorgeous photo in the You Define You hoodie and with his new Walker haircut. Mmm.

Jensen bought a new car, which does not do a damn thing for me but which he was clearly very excited about.

The company he bought it from was equally excited. And clearly Supernatural fans!

Not gonna lie, I’m laughing at the Ackles family tooling around Austin in either their ’67 Impala (they took it to Starbucks the other day) or this new ‘beast’ of a car.

Misha went naked to get out the vote, to fandom’s sincere appreciation, used his text line to help get the vote out, and made sure water and snacks were handed out to voters in Georgia standing in insanely long lines to vote, and generally kept on working to save the world. And look adorable doing it.

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Supernatural Returns in Four Days – And I’m Not Ready!

Supernatural returns for its final seven episode run in four days. Less than a week. The countdown has been in my head every day, especially over the past week as it draws closer. In keeping with my determination to record what happens with the show and in the fandom in these last months of the show airing, here’s my wrap up of the last full week before Supernatural returns. With all the requisite feelings.

The week started out with another Kings of Con podcast featuring a Supernatural guest star, this time the delightful Jake Abel, filmed when Jake and Rob were in quarantine in Vancouver about to go back to filming. Richard asked when they were ‘free’ and Jake laughed.

Jake: I told Jared, Jensen and Rob yesterday, hey guys I think we’re free on Sunday, and Jared called me a saboteur!

Rich: That is so the pot calling the kettle black – didn’t you tell me they had to chain him to the apartment, Rob?

Somehow this is not hard to believe.

I loved hearing Jake talk about the short film he made (Jake And Quarantine) and how many people thought he really was in a haunted apartment – including me for the first day! If you haven’t seen it, check it out on Jake’s youtube – Jake is an incredible storyteller.

Also, Rob and Jake were quarantined right above each other, and apparently figured out a way to use a rope to transfer things between apartments via kitchen twine!

Jake on Kings of Con

They were also doing lots of zoom calls with Jared and Jensen.

Rob: Jensen and Jared have been doing this show for fifteen years, so they deserve it, but Jake and I are in these identical studio apartments. Then we do these zooms with them and they’re in apartments that are very nice, right on the water, great views…

Jake: Jensen’s sending us pictures of him literally basking in the sun the other day.

Rob: Yeah he’s like, how about this sunset? I’m like, I’ve got buildings around me…

Rich and Rob always make me laugh, but they got serious near the end and made me tear up.

Richard gave Jake props for his awesome performance in the episode that Richard directed, and Jake gave him props right back for the vibe he creates on set when he directs.

Richard: It was a pleasure directing both of you, and I’m sorry to see the show come to an end but it certainly has chalked up a lot of great experiences for all of us.

Me: tissues!

Richard has a beautiful, emotional chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done that traces Supernatural’s impact on his own career and personal life, as well as what he feels the legacy of the show will be. I think he pretty much hits the nail on the head.

We also got some beautiful photos of Jensen on horseback (on a 19 hand giant of a horse!) taking JJ on her first trail ride. She’s hooked – how could she not be? It runs in the family. I can relate, remembering my first forays into riding when I was about her age. I still think horses are one of the most beautiful animals, and there’s few things that compare to the feeling of galloping across a field with the wind whipping your hair back. I’m once again so appreciative when the actors share a peek into their lives. Jensen and horses? Lots of beautiful.

More beautiful came from Misha Collins, who shared some photos from his trip with son West and the gorgeous scenery they enjoyed in this beautiful country.

When did West get so grown up??

A video interview that Jensen and Jared did before they went back to Vancouver to film (from Warner Bros. Japan I believe) was shared on youtube mid week – which meant we got to have yet another glimpse of quarantine hair!!! It’s like the gift that just keeps on giving, and I’m very grateful.

The boys were already feeling pretty emotional about getting ready to film the end, so it was an emotional interview. Here are a few excerpts that made me emotional too. The interviewer, a fan, must have said that the show has changed her life, though we don’t hear that part on the video.

Jared: Being a part of Supernatural has taught me a lot. I’ve had some time selfishly to reflect on just how massive it’s been. I just had my 38th birthday, and I think when we did the pilot, I was 22. So that’s a long time to be on one TV show. I don’t know many that have done 15 years with the same two characters all along, so I’m really grateful for it. And I’m going to be proud of it until the day I breathe my last breath. I’m grateful it’s having an impact on other people all over the world as well.

Jensen: You say it’s changed your life – it’s certainly changed our lives in so many ways. It means the world to us. We’ve been through so much during these last 15 years, both on and off set, but there’s always been a real constant, and that’s been this show and the love we have for it and the effort we put into it. It’s a blessing to know it means something to you and all of that wasn’t for nothing, but know that we truly do cherish our experience and these characters and this show–  which is why we always wanna do it the best we can.

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Happy Birthday to Supernatural Actor – and Director – Matt Cohen!

 

Today rounds out the trifecta of birthdays that happen in the month of September – Richard, Rob and Matt, otherwise known to con-goers as R2M!  So, in the spirit of this being the last year of the little show that brought the three of them together being on the air, a look back at what makes Matt Cohen so special, and such an integral part of Supernatural.

Kathy and I first met Matt ten years ago at his first Supernatural convention. He didn’t really know what to expect, so he just went with his instincts. That is, he attempted to hug every single person who wanted a hug from him. I remember turning to Kathy and saying oh, we need to interview this guy, he really knows how to interact with fans (And also? He’s gonna have to not keep hugging every single person or he’s never going to get anything else done ever again!)

We sat down with Matt for the first time shortly thereafter, and found out that he was in fact every bit as warm and genuine as he seemed – and just as appreciative of the fans as his hug policy had suggested. In those early days, when Matt was onstage with Richard Speight, Jr. he was the quieter one. Richard’s quick wit and ability to riff off the cuff had to be intimidating – for anyone! But little by little, Matt developed the same ability, and soon he was keeping up with Richard and making us all laugh.

I have enjoyed all our thoughtful chats, and a few times when we weren’t all that serious – what were we doing this day?? I can’t remember but it was undoubtedly fun!

When Rob joined Richard and Matt onstage at cons, the kinetic energy between the three of them onstage was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever sat through an R2M panel without laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes. They are hilarious together, and at the same time, the depth of their genuine affection for each other is always clear. Who knew I’d be missing Matt’s traditional leap off the chair onstage that kicks off every R2M panel so much right now?

As some of the few ‘regulars’ at the early Creation conventions, Matt and Richard also were the natural options to revamp the convention karaoke. When they realized it wasn’t as egalitarian as they wanted, they recreated karaoke and made it something amazing – something no other show’s conventions had. They had costumes, they had themes, we all dressed up and got silly together, and they played all the songs we loved from the show.

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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.

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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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