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.

Read more

FAQ – How There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done Came Together

We can’t wait for the virtual book release party on Wednesday night! Join us on Alana King’s youtube channel at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT as we chat with many of the book’s contributors, both actors and fans, about putting together There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done. For those who haven’t heard from podcasts or livestreams already, here’s all the scoop on the process of putting together the book.  We had a nearly impossible timetable for turning this book around in time for the May release when the show would be ending (books go to print well before their release date – this one in the beginning of March when we still expected the show to end on May 18, so the book was in print before the filming shutdown). We all wanted it to be out at the time when fans would really need it, since the whole point of the book is giving the SPNFamily a book full of comfort and inspiration to get them through a difficult time. The process was different for different contributors, but everyone who contributed had the final say in what was published and officially signed off on what they wanted to say – some chapters are interview style, some traditional style, some compilations plus new material.

A few people have asked why most of the wonderful cast who wrote chapters in Family Don’t End With Blood don’t have chapters in this book. I intentionally didn’t ask those actors or fans to write a chapter for this one. They wrote their hearts out in that book – especially Jared Padalecki, who worked on his 30 page chapter for over two years! It was emotionally exhausting and it took incredible courage for him to do that. We had almost no time to put this book together and Jared, Jensen and Misha were in the midst of filming and dealing with their own strong emotions about the show ending, yet they wanted to be included in this book so they could send a message of comfort and inspiration to fans. Jared and Jensen’s chapters in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done include some of the heartfelt and emotional things they’ve had to say over the past year about Supernatural and its ending, in public panels and events, so fans can remember and be inspired by them — plus some new thoughts about Sam and Dean’s legacy. I collaborated with them as they edited the chapters so they could be sure that this was exactly what they wanted to have included and the message they wanted to send to fans, in their own words, and this is the result – chapters that they hope will be a comfort and an inspiration to fans as we face the end of the show, in the middle of one of the most stressful times of any of our lives. They – and all of us – want the book to be that for the SPNFamily. Misha was arguably even busier than anyone else between cookbook finishing and hip surgery and (for real) saving the world, so the message included from him is short but no less heartfelt. It’s the last word in the book because it’s a hopeful note to end on, and we hope that lets everyone close the book feeling good.

Equally important, the book contains twenty chapters written by fans of Supernatural, who are also people who we didn’t hear from in Family Don’t End With Blood. They too wrote their hearts and souls out, sharing their very personal stories and how this show and this fandom has inspired them to be who they are. We all wanted the book to be inclusive of everyone, so that anyone who reads it can find themselves represented in the book – both actors and fans made themselves incredibly vulnerable to do just that. We hope that when you read it, that one or many of the chapters will resonate with you, bring comfort to you, and inspire you too. We hope it will help us all always remember just how unique and special Supernatural is and will always be. And perhaps most important of all, this book is special to all of us because it benefits Random Acts and SPN Survivors, whose work is more important than ever.

We sincerely hope that There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done does just that – brings you peace.

— Lynn

There’ll Be Peace When You Are

Done releases on May 5!

 

A Supernatural Celebration! Book Launch Party for There’ll Be Peace When You are Done

The book many of us have been working on for almost a year is finally ready to be launched – and we’re having a party to celebrate!  Join me (the editor), Alana King (who wrote a chapter) and Kim Prior (who coordinated the gorgeous photos in the book) for a Book Launch Livestream Party!

When and Where?

Wednesday May 6 kicking off at 9 pm ET/6 pm PST on Alana’s YouTube channel!

Who Will Be There?

We’ll be joined by lots of the actors who wrote chapters for the book at 9 pm – Andrea Drepaul (Melanie the werewolf), Carrie Genzel (Linda in Just My Imagination and Bugs), Chad Lindberg (Ash), Lee Majdoub (Hannah), Julie McNiven (Anna), Tahmoh Penikett (Gadreel), Lee Rumohr ( of the ‘hunter husbands’), Todd Stashwick (Dracula), Shoshannah Stern (Eileen), Brendan Taylor (New Doug)  and Lauren Tom (Mrs. Tran) are planning to join the fun (schedules permitting). And we’re expecting a few more actors to join in too, so stay tuned!

We’ll also have almost all of our talented fan contributors – writers, photographers and artists — joining us at 10 pm to chat about their journey with Supernatural and the SPNFamily and how the show and the fandom have inspired them.  Tedra Ashley-Wannemeuhler, Michael Banh, Patricia Barbera, Allison Broesder, Tanya Cook, Tara Coste, Sherri Dahl, Dawn Gray, Cris Griffin, Amy Hutton, Kaela Joseph, Liz Madsen, Gail Z. Martin, Jessica Mason, Vickie Ann McCoy, Suzanne McLean, Joelle Monique, Dmitri Novak, Emerson Lopez Odango, April Vian and Sarah Wylde will join me, Alana King and Kim Prior to talk all things Supernatural!

About The Book

There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done: Actors and Fans Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural has chapters by the cast of Supernatural and the fandom, and is all about what has made this show so special. The actors talk about what it has meant to them to portray their characters and how the SPNFamily has changed their lives. The fans talk about the characters and the actors who have inspired them, how the show has evolved over fifteen years, what this show has meant to them, and how the SPNFamily has done a ton of good in the world.  And we ALL weigh in on the legacy of this one-of-a-kind show and how we’ll (always) remember and love it. Including these two guys.

We hope this book will be something inspiring and comforting to hang onto as we come to the end of Supernatural’s fifteen year road trip (and also in this really stressful time when we all need good positive things in our lives).

Join In The Fun!

Please leave your questions for our contributors, both actors and fans, in the comments below or at the @FangasmSPN twitter post or Facebook post of this article. Then tune in to the livestream at 9 pm on Wednesday May 6 as they answer your questions and talk about their own journeys with Supernatural and the SPNFamily!

Come celebrate Supernatural with us!

— Lynn

You can pre-order There’ll Be Peace

When You Are Done now at

Peacewhenyouaredone.com

Happy Birthday Jensen Ackles!

 

Last year I wrote a long post for Mr. Ackles’ birthday and the top five reasons he’s a pretty special person. This year, I find myself emotional in a slightly different way about Jensen’s birthday today – because this is the last year that on his birthday, he is still Dean Winchester.

I fervently hope that at some point in the future, Jensen will get to portray Dean again – and I know, because he has said it more than once – that Dean will always be a part of him. But this is the last March 1st when Jensen is Dean and Supernatural is still filming and on the air. The last birthday when Dean’s story is not yet fully told, and the character that Jensen has inhabited for the past fifteen years is still so much a part of him – likely in a way that no character will ever be again. It’s a rare and special thing to be able to play a single character for fifteen years, as he has often said; they become a part of you, a best friend who you come to love.

A few years ago, Jensen talked about a dream he’d had that really struck a chord and brought some surprisingly strong emotion. It was a dream about Dean, from Dean’s perspective. A dream in which Dean hands over the keys to the Impala to a motorcycle rider and trades vehicles – because Sam is dead and he no longer needs a vehicle with a passenger seat. Recently, Misha mentioned the dream too, saying that Jensen had shared it with him and Jared and they had all gotten emotional. At the time he had the dream, I’d had the chance to talk to Jensen about it. Perhaps, I’d said, the dream was not just about Sam losing Dean, but was as much about Jensen thinking about eventually having to say goodbye to Supernatural – to Jared, to Misha, to Bob, to Jerry, to Serge, to the crew he loves. I think that’s why it hit all three of the actors so hard to remember it now, knowing there’s only one more month of filming. It’s not like they won’t see each other or remain friends, but it will inevitably be different. Just like the everyday happenings in the fandom will change, Jensen has to say goodbye not only to Dean, but to Sam and Cas and Jack too.

So this post is a reminder of how much Dean Winchester has meant to me and to so many others, as Jensen and his fellow actors face saying goodbye to their beloved characters (temporarily at least!). A reminder that as hard as it is to say goodbye, Castiel’s words to Jack are still true. We are so lucky to have had this time with these characters – to know them and to love them. So lucky that they were here at all.

Dean Winchester, more than any other fictional character ever, taught me to never give up. That you don’t have to be perfect to be a good person, or win every battle to keep on fighting. You can be flawed, and constantly struggling, and ricocheting back and forth between good decisions and bad ones, and still hang onto the goal of doing what’s right. Of fighting every day with the purpose of saving people, hunting things. That works literally in the show, but figuratively in real life, and has inspired countless people to try to change the world for the better in a million ways.

Dean’s incredible, unshakeable loyalty and the way he fiercely, unabashedly loves those he calls family – perfectly willing to move heaven and hell to save their lives and keep them with him – has been a revelation. I’ve never encountered another character as determined as Dean Winchester. Do not get in between him and someone he cares about, because he will never ever give up making sure they’re safe.

He’s not perfect, and I wouldn’t want him to be. He can be singleminded and obtuse and lashes out when he’s hurt in ways that can hurt others (even those he cares so much about). He started out a product of the way he was raised, brittle and defended and brusque because of it. It took me a whole season to really understand the depth of emotion and vulnerability he was hiding under that gruff no-chick-flicks-moments exterior, and another fourteen seasons to understand how much it eventually cost him to let some of those walls down. His moments of vulnerability have brought me to tears again and again. I’ve been there to see how much those moments cost Jensen the real person in real time, too; how real those tears are. I’m pretty sure that’s why they get to me the way they do.

I am incredibly grateful for Dean Winchester and the inspiration he’s brought me for the past fifteen years. I’m incredibly grateful that Jensen Ackles cared so much about this character that he brought him to life and made him real, and never let him become a caricature. No matter where the story went, Jensen kept Dean being Dean. Because he cared about the closest imaginary friend he’ll ever have, as he recently said. He talks about his relationship with Dean in the chapter he contributed to the new book, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, and I’ll hang onto his words whenever I start to miss Dean Winchester too acutely.

I’m sure that next birthday, there will be all sorts of new things to celebrate – because this is Jensen Ackles we’re talking about. He’s talented in so many ways, and perhaps more importantly, he’s a kind and caring person who always gives 100%. There will be other acting roles, perhaps more directing. Already there’s that incredible Radio Co. album full of songs, and I’m sure that’s only the tip of the iceberg. After that dream sequence recently, maybe we’ll see him struttin’ his stuff on Dancing With The Stars (sorry, Jensen, couldn’t resist…)  I’ll celebrate Jensen’s future successes and be excited for every step of his journey. This year, though, I’m wishing Jensen a happy birthday and celebrating the fifteen years he’s put into crafting the most amazing, inspiring, heroic, entirely human fictional character I’ve ever had the pleasure of ‘meeting’.

Jensen connects with his inner Dean in Lawrence Kansas

Happy birthday, Jensen.

Thank you for Dean Winchester.

— Lynn

You can read what Jensen and many

other actors (and fans) have to say about

the legacy of Supernatural in There’ll Be

Peace When You Are Done – preorder

links on the home page!

 

There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done – Thanks To All Our Incredible Contributors!

 

When Supernatural announced that it was ending, I was too caught up in my own grief for a while to even think about what might help all of us get through a loss of this magnitude. Then I thought about the many people who have told me that the inspiring messages in Family Don’t End With Blood written by the cast and fans of Supernatural had helped them get through difficult times. Would a book that gave us all something tangible with which to celebrate and remember the show be helpful now?  I had already been working on another book about the show – one that would trace its evolution in terms of representation, especially for the women of Supernatural, and including the voices of actors who hadn’t written for Family Don’t End With Blood. Now that the show was ending, I thought about expanding that book. Maybe a book that would celebrate all fifteen years of this incredible show and its legacy would be an inspiration and allow all of us to “always keep fighting.”  A book that would give us all something beautiful (inside and out) to hang onto so we can always remember this extraordinary show and fandom.

By the time I had this realization and called my publisher at Ben Bella, the date on which the last episode of Supernatural would air was little more than a half year away. Was it even possible to put a book together that quickly and actually have it be released in time for the series finale?

I think my wonderful publisher at first laughed, and then maybe asked, wide eyed: Oh wait, are you serious?

I was.

It felt important to pull together the cast and fans of this one-of-a-kind show one more time to celebrate the legacy that Supernatural leaves behind. But that meant we had almost no time to gather people together and ask them to write about their experience with Supernatural at a time when they were already emotionally raw from the news of it ending (both the actors and the fans). It meant asking them to write something very personal very quickly. That’s asking a lot, especially when many of them were already over-the-top busy. It’s a real testament to just how important this show is to both cast and fans that 20 actors and 18 fans managed to contribute something to There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done. Or, as my publisher has said, it’s a miracle.

But then again, Supernatural always has defied the odds, hasn’t it?

This is my thank you to all the talented people who contributed to There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, both fans and actors.

A big giant shout out to Tedra Ashley-Wannemuehler, Michael Banh, Patty Barbera, Allison Broesder, Tanya Cook, Tara Coste, Dawn Gray, Amy Hutton, Kaela Joseph, Alana King, Gail Martin, Jessica Mason, Joelle Monique, Dmitri Novak, Emerson Lopez Odango, April Vian and Sarah Wylde for sharing their powerful stories. Each one of their chapters was a labor of love, and it shows on every page. I think every fan of Supernatural, no matter why you watch or how you watch or how long you’ve been watching, will find something to relate to in these amazing chapters.

Fans not only wrote this book; they also made it beautiful. A special shout out to my partner in crime, the uber talented Kim Prior, who not only contributed many gorgeous photos but also coordinated the other talented photographers who contributed (and kept me mostly sane throughout this entire process). Those photographers, all fans of the show and the cast they focus their lenses on with so much talent, also came through with a tight deadline. Thank you to Monica Duff, Liz Madsen, Krista Martin, Suzanne McLean, Hansi Oppenheimer, Melissa Rothman and Chris Schmelke for contributing your beautiful photos. We also were incredibly fortunate to have the talents of three amazing artists – Christine Griffin once again created the breathtaking cover art, and Sherri Dahl and Mary Twist contributed sketches that bring the chapters to life. The talent in this fandom is almost unbelievable.

 

As is the talent onscreen – the actors who bring Supernatural’s characters to life. Another big giant shout out to the cast members who took time out of very busy schedules to contribute to the book (and who didn’t run away screaming when there was yet another nudge from me in their inbox…)  Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester), Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) and Misha Collins (Castiel) all contributed even though they were in the midst of dealing with their own strong emotions about Supernatural ending after being such an integral part of their lives for so long, and in the midst of still filming that show we’re trying to celebrate. Jared and Jensen both wrote chapters in Family Don’t End With Blood also. Misha has written substantial chapters for not one but two of our previous books. He was in the midst of about a dozen projects (most of which are helping to save the world), yet still contributed a briefer but heartfelt special message. (Most importantly, we’ve partnered with Random Acts once again — this book, like our previous one, benefits Random Acts – to help Misha keep saving the world!)

So many other actors also contributed chapters. A big shout out to Hugo Ateo (Cesar), Andrea Drepaul (Melanie the werewolf), Adam Fergus (Mick Davies), Carrie Genzel (Linda Berman “with sparkle on her face”), David Haydn-Jones (Arthur Ketch), Chad Lindberg (Ash), Lee Majdoub (Hannah), Julie McNiven (Anna Milton), Tahmoh Penikett (Gadreel), Lee Rumohr (Jesse), Richard Speight Jr. (Gabriel/Loki), Todd Stashwick (Dracula), Shoshannah Stern (Eileen Leahy), Gabriel Tigerman (Andy), Brendan Taylor (New Doug), Lauren Tom (Linda Tran) and Rick Worthy (Alpha Vamp), and to writer Davy Perez. Despite all the other projects these talented creators are juggling, they managed to write with genuineness and candor about this show and this fandom that has had such an impact on them.

A special thank you to Eric Kripke, who created this show and these characters that have changed all our lives. Without Kripke, there would be no Supernatural. I am beyond honored that he contributed a cover blurb for There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done that captures his love for the show and the fandom.

The book includes its original theme of exploring the evolution of Supernatural over the past fifteen seasons in terms of representation and the emphasis on family of all kinds. Both actors and fans wrote from diverse perspectives themselves in terms of race, sexuality, gender and disability. They are people of color, Indigenous people, deaf persons, gay and lesbian and bisexual and trans persons and all sorts of other persons. Some trace the evolution of the show in terms of representation as they themselves have searched for it. The book is also a celebration of Supernatural for all that it has brought to its fans and its cast, and of the important legacy it will leave behind. Some relate a powerful personal story of how this show and this fandom changed their lives, supported them through a tough time, or even helped them survive. Every chapter – and every author – is different. What ties them, and all of us, together, is Supernatural.

We all hope that when you read There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done that it will be a permanent way of remembering just how special Supernatural is, and will always be. Something beautiful and heartfelt to hang onto, to help with the inevitable grieving – and at the same time a joyous celebration of the Little Show That Could.

Every purchase benefits the important work of two charities that were created out of the show and the fandom: Random Acts, a partnership between Misha Collins and the SPNFamily, and SPNSurvivors, a non-profit organization started by fans of the show to bring to life and spread the “always keep fighting” message.

–Lynn

You can preorder now at

Peacewhenyouaredone.com

and get bonus goodies too!

If you missed Family Don’t End

With Blood, there are links on

the home page.