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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A Chat With Richard Speight, Jr. – Driven, Kings of Con and Supernatural!

I hadn’t had a chance to chat with Richard Speight, Jr. since the fall of 2019, when, as we all know, the world was very, very different. So it felt like a welcome little slice of “normalcy” to sit down (in two different parts of the country) last week to catch up on what’s going on in his world – including the new film Driven, the newly renamed podcast with Rob Benedict, and the four episodes of Supernatural he’s directed in Season 15.  We’re so excited that Richard has a chapter in the new book, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done: Actors and Fans Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural — his is one of the most inspiring chapters in the book and really wraps up what the show is all about and why so many of us love it. That chapter came from our last chat in the fall, and this chat turned out to be equally fascinating!

But first, our conversation last week began with the obligatory wow, 2020.

Lynn: Crazy time. Interesting time to be a psychologist.

Richard: Interesting time to be an auto mechanic! Everything is so bizarre. Every now and then, as I move through my day, I just have a moment of ‘Holy cow’…

L: It hits you like a slap in the face, doesn’t it? Like oh, this is actually real… It’s nice to cling to these little bits of normalcy. I’ve really been enjoying your podcast with Rob. Last week you announced it’s now going to be both a podcast and sometimes a youtube show – called Kings of Con. Which made a lot of people very happy, including me. How did that come about?

R: Well, we started the podcast on a lark, just to be creative and kill time, so we didn’t think about it or plan on writing the songs or anything. And it just became its own thing as we went along, and we discovered what was funny and what worked. Then, 12 episodes in, we started talking to some people who are much more ensconced in the podcast world and got some advice – one thing that is valued across the board is expanding the brand. And My Guest Is Richard Speight is a wonderful title if you know who the hell Richard Speight, Jr. is, but if you’re just scouring podcasts that’s not gonna mean anything to you.

L: (laughing) Very true.

Rob & Rich: The Kings of Con!

R: So we began aiming for a very specific audience vs. aiming for an audience in general. And because we’re enjoying doing it and we’re finding a comedic style and format that we really like, we thought, “let’s take the advice of people who do this for a living and really try to make this a cooler brand.”

[Detour on the phone call for Dad Richard, which was frankly adorable]

R: Hang on Lynn, I’m with the kids by myself, I need to keep my eye on things…

L: (also a parent) Yes you do.

R (to young son): Your hair looks great, but you’ve gotta get dressed.

L: (cracks up)

R: (to Lynn) His hair is fabulous, but he’s totally naked.

[Yes, this was one of my favorite parts of the interview. Anyway…]

R: So we’re gonna have to discover this new podcast the same way we discovered that the first one worked.  We’ll figure it out, we’ll involve some guests, but not much is gonna change. We still like what we were already doing — the songs, the banter. We like everything. What we’re gonna do now is expand the brand so it’s a known property, but it’s not gonna be Richard Slate and Rob Bennett and the cast of the series, you know? It’s just like, we’re the dudes from the convention who are that voice and face of cons.

Richard emcees a con

L: It’s a great idea! So many of the people we love seeing at conventions, but especially you and Rob, can just sit and riff and make it hilariously funny. But this will allow other people who don’t know who you are to find it – and I think it will fill a real gap because you are the guys who have this vast knowledge of cons and con stories and other actors, so I think it will feel a real gap right now when people are really missing conventions.

R: Yeah, and I’m itching to have people come in and join us, from that world and elsewhere. The whole zoom recording and youtube posting, which were not things we really had considered, were strong recommendations from the people that we are tapping for info. So I figured we’d try that and see how it goes.

L: It’s a great time to explore and evolve – there’s a freedom to that I imagine, as an artist, to do what you want to do.

R: Yeah, it’s incredibly freeing — because it’s just us making crap up!

L: (laughing) There’s that.

R: There’s no time limit, no context, no ad dollars, nothing. It’s great!

L: I’m enjoying it, and I look forward to the new format. I really enjoyed the indie film you co-starred in that came out recently too, Driven. The film has an almost theatrical feel to it, since for most of the film it’s just the two main characters, often in a car. It had an intimacy to it with that close focus. What are the good things about that and what were the challenges?

R: In this case, I think when you have a movie that is theatrical in its style, which this was, you’re at the mercy of the dialogue — so you better hope it’s well written. I happen to think this was very well written, which was why I agreed to do it to start with. I thought it was very clever and fun.

L: It was!

[Phone call interlude, this time for the dog]

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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

 

Missing Supernatural

It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m missing Supernatural.

We all count on the things we’re passionate about to get us through the rough times in our lives. Our favorite shows and characters and books and bands inspire us to keep going, to never give up, even when things look bleak around us. Immersing ourselves in the things we love provides a much-needed temporary escape from the stressors of our lives, so we can let down our constantly-on-the-alert defenses and just spend time with some beloved characters or people. Spending time with our favorites  – whether watching a favorite television show or enjoying the familiar songs of a favorite band – gives us the same chemical reaction in our brains as sitting down to dinner with our closest friends and family. That’s one of the many things that makes fandom healthy and beneficial.

I find myself wishing I could immerse myself in Supernatural right now, because these are tough times. For fifteen years, the show has been my go-to when I’m anxious or sad or dealing with a lot of stress, and right now we have a lot of that. I’ve grown used to hopping online at those moments, and being swept away by episode discussions and speculation and news and new photos of cast or episode promos or PR content in articles and videos. I’m spoiled by that, and have been for a very long time. When there was a hiatus (hellatus) it was temporary and we knew when it would end, and fandom stepped up and increased their fan-generated content to compensate. While that still happens, and I’m still in awe of and grateful for fannish creativity, it’s not as much as it was in the past, when there was so much being created it was impossible to keep up with it all.

The show stopped production due to the Coronavirus after one day of filming on its penultimate episode back in March, right after the last (and only, I think) convention of 2020 in Las Vegas. It hasn’t been safe to resume filming since then, which I think the entire fandom is 100% on board with, but it means that both cast and fans are in limbo, not knowing how or when the show will return – or how it will be able to wrap up. There was an announcement that the last seven episodes were slated to be aired in the fall – a sort of last ‘mini season’ continuing and finishing up Season 15. But no one really knows when it will be safe to resume filming or how – and where – that might happen. So Supernatural is not on the air, and that’s difficult. (Of course, if it had ended when it was intended back in May, it wouldn’t be on the air either, so at least we have something to look forward to).  The pandemic has also changed the landscape for Supernatural fans and actors, who are accustomed to conventions at least once a month and sometimes more. Whether it was your one and only con that you were so looking forward to, or you’re a vendor who’s used to being ‘on the road’ and constantly at conventions, or you enjoy the photos, tweets and videos that fans post at every con, it seems very quiet in the SPNFamily without them. Fans miss seeing the cast at cons, and also miss seeing each other. The actors miss each other too.

I am looking forward to virtual Comic Con in a few weeks, but not as much as I was looking forward to my annual pilgrimage to San Diego, with all the insanity it entails and all the adventures with friends. Even if Comic Con wasn’t virtual, this would have been the first year that Supernatural didn’t have a panel and a press roundtable where we could all hear for the first time the scoop on the new season. I miss that! I am, on the other hand, so grateful to all the actors and fans who have put themselves out there in some way virtually during the pandemic, from Stage Its to virtual cocktails, from inspiring zoom video townhalls that have taught me so much to hilarious podcasts, and even a few fan-organized and Wizard World online cons. I did a virtual panel for Comic Con At Home with some of the Supernatural actors that’s coming up on the 26th, and I’ve had fun talking about the show in podcasts and video interviews for the new book ‘There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done: Actors and Fans Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural’. When we busted our butts to get the book out for May, we thought it was because the show was ending then. Turns out we just really needed an inspiring book to get through this unprecedented time we’re living in!

Still, I miss my Show, and it’s hard not knowing how and when it will be back to wrap up. CW president Mark Pedowitz said in TV Insider back in May that “Everybody — the studio, the executive producers, Jared, Jensen, and Misha — all want to end 15 years the right way. So it is important that these two episodes that they will be shooting be done the way they hoped to do them and we will just wait it out. We are very much attached to this.” They’ll rearrange the schedule if they need to, Pedowicz said, adding that they planned to resume airing in fall 2020.

I take alot of solace in what Mr. Pedowicz said. Nobody knows whether that is more up in the air now that the spread and impact of the virus has gotten worse in many areas and there are travel restrictions in place. The uncertainty, for fans, is not just when will they finish it – but how. Will it be the same if they can’t film in Vancouver in the studios they have been in all this time? Will their long-time crew, who are like family to the actors, still be able to be with them? Will there be restrictions about what they can film, or how close they can be to each other? Will we lose out on some of the hugs we’ve been counting on – and needing badly? (Yes, these are the things that keep me up at night…)

Nobody knows. I’m pretty sure the fandom whole-heartedly puts the safety of the cast and crew before any consideration of what the series finale will be like. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a valid worry – for both actors and fans. We are all invested in this show, and after 15 years, we are all invested in having an ending that’s gratifying and meaningful and feels like what the fictional characters we love deserve. I know how much the actors care – they wrote about it in ‘There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done’ and have talked about it many times. I know how much fans care too. We want the show to be able to have the ending its creators intended, and for the cast and crew who have given so much of themselves for so long to feel like their characters got the ending they deserved.

A few days ago, an interview with long-time Supernatural director and producer John Showalter ran in the Quad City Times. “It’s really heartbreaking that the show is ending this way,” Showalter said. “We’re not going to get to do a big finale because of COVID-19.”   It’s not clear what he meant and not a reason to panic – it could have been a reference to pandemic filming restrictions, timing changes, even the inability to have that epic wrap party that I’m sure they were all so looking forward to (and we were looking forward to the photos!)  But there’s a lot of worry going around right now, for everyone involved with the show.

Like so many things in the time of this pandemic, it’s a complicated decision of when to resume filming and how. There are new projects and employment waiting for many people involved that bring a pressure to get back to work and there’s also the desire to film the last episodes the way they were intended; pressures that may be at odds. Of course we’re all anxious about that and we’re all understandably eager to have the show back on our screens. I miss it! However, I think we’ve learned a few things from this Show we’ve loved so long and so hard. Back in Season 1, when John Winchester said that ‘killing this demon comes before everything’, a very young but already wise Sam Winchester stood up to his father and disagreed.

“No sir. Not before everything.”

As often happens, the SPNFamily pulls their inspiration from the show itself. It’s lives that are most important. And on that, I think we all agree with Sam.

So stay safe out there, SPNFamily. Fingers crossed that, when the time is right, Supernatural can (safely) pull off one more miracle.

-Lynn

You can read the actors’ and fans’ personal thoughts

on the legacy of Supernatural in There’ll Be

Peace When You Are Done, links on home page!

 

 

Supernatural Wins with ‘The Gamblers’ 

 

It feels SO good to sit down to write a review of my favorite show and be overflowing with love for it, like I’ve been so many countless times over the past fifteen years. We have nine episodes left of Supernatural, and all I want is to feel like this – grateful, inspired, in love, dreading the end. The relief is like a physical thing, to feel this way right now, as melodramatic as that might sound.

So, let me do some squeeing, because I’ve missed it!  I enjoyed this episode by Davy Perez and Meredith Glynn so much that I just want to go scene by scene and savor it all over again.

THEN:  (Moment of inappropriate giggling because they actually used the vampire Dean hiss in the ‘Then’ montage. Ahem. Okay, sorry.)

The opening is another musical montage, which seems to be a thing now for the Show, but it works especially well because the song is so damn fitting. “North to Alaska” is exactly where Sam and Dean are headed, and the song actually starts off with the lyrics “Big Sam left Seattle…” and something about his brother, and how perfect is that? Meanwhile, some poor guy named Leonard is losing at pool and losing his cool and clearly about to die. He loses, gets kicked out of the pool hall, falls in the dirt and can’t find his now-broken glasses ala the Lord of the Flies scene I’ve never gotten over and then gets run down by an 18 wheeler. In other words, quintessential Supernatural beginning.

As Sam and Dean make their way to Alaska, Sam texts with Eileen and Dean snarks about turning off the sound. Eileen is skeptical about this trek they’re on and so is Sam, but Dean insists they need to try, and is hanging onto hope.

Dean: It’s there, it’s gotta be. Chuck wants us weak, because he’s coming for us, Sammy.

So on they go (Baby might be down on her luck but apparently she can still drive all the way to Alaska, and the Winchesters are a whole lot better at getting through those Canadian border stops than I am most of the time even with their currently shitty luck!)

Sam’s asleep in the car like he often is in the best fanfic, and Dean of course wakes him like any big brother would, with a slap and a ‘Hey!’

Brothers.

Dean’s stopping for food, because he ate everything they had in the cooler while Sam slept.

Sam: (affronted) We’re on a budget!

Gifs sasquatchandleatherjacket

Jared Padalecki has such a knack for making even a simple line so funny and so Sam, and I laughed out loud at that. The Winchesters are down to their last $4.60, so all they can get is a cup of coffee and a slice of pie.

Dean: Two forks?

I laughed again, realized I was thoroughly enjoying the episode, and became practically euphoric at the realization.

Gif sasquatchandleatherjacket

Sam gives Dean grief about not being able to have cheese and Dean gives him an affronted look right back.

Dean: Dude, Lactaid!

Me: This episode is everything!

Much of the episode – dialogue included – really did read like fanfic, and that is my highest compliment. It means the writers get the characters as well as we do, and that feels incredibly good. Sam and Dean and Cas and Jack were Sam and Dean and Cas and Jack!

Dean turns his 1000 watt smile on the waitress and they find out there’s a “magic pool hall” in the middle of nowhere and that people like poor Leonard don’t come back from it.

Sam: Now we know the down side – it might kill you.

Dean is much more optimistic.

Dean: This is my game – hell, our game!

He reminds Sam of all the memories they have of playing pool.

Sam: (frowning) Yeah, because we had to eat!

Me: Yep, definitely have read that fic.

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