As usual with the annual Supernatural Comic Con Panel on Sunday morning of the event, the excitement is among the crowd was rather electric. How could it not? These panels are always the best homage to the fans, and it’s because of the loyal fans that this show is now shooting it’s tenth season, and judging by the festivities today, there are more in sight.
(All photos from Alice Jester at The Winchester Family Business unless otherwise noted)
I was able to get to the panel early, and that gave me time to say hello to some of the writers and other VIPs. There to greet us all was ambassador to the fandom Robbie Thompson. I got a big hug and we admired each other’s t-shirts. Mine was the “Pig in a Poke” sign from “Mystery Spot”, and his was an amazing creation I hadn’t seen before. It was Misha and Orlando Jones together, with “SuperSleepy” and "Demon Exterminators" printed over top. The logo was quite creative.
Also seated behind me was Robert Berens and Jenny Klein and their friends/family. This was the first time I met Bob Berens and he’s every bit as nice as Robbie. He was posing for pictures with fans along with Robbie, so that gave me a chance to talk to Robbie’s new wife (he was engaged last year so there’s been a wedding in the past year!) and Bob’s guest, who is an 11 year veteran to Comic Con. Neither were very jealous seeing Robbie and Bob get all that fan girl adoration. They thought it was very cute!
I did have an particularly interesting chat with Robbie’s wife. She’s a writer for the show “Once Upon A Time.” I asked her if she’s embraced Twitter like her husband and the answer was a definite “no.” She doesn’t have a Twitter account. The fans aren’t as vocal for “Once Upon A Time” as “Supernatural” but they can get pretty nasty. That’s really tough for some writers and she personally doesn’t feel comfortable engaging with critical fans like Robbie does. She knows they’re out there, but she’d rather just tell the story. Fans have a right to get upset, but there are those that like it too, otherwise the show wouldn’t be as successful as it has been. So whenever you see writers and showrunners not embracing Twitter, this is probably one reason why.
I also got to meet several fans and say hello again to my peers in the blogging community, many of whom I’ve been running into all weekend in the various press rooms. Robbie got a kick of all of us sitting there with our laptops tweeting away. So it was all mutual amusement!
While this was going on, the WB publicist extraordinaire for Warner Brothers, Holly Ollis, was setting up the panelist table at the front of the room. First the cards, and then she brought out the Funko Pop figures for Jensen (Dean’s), Jared (Sam’s), and Misha (Castiel’s). But we all quickly realized that a figure hasn’t been released for Crowley yet. No worries, some creative person decided on improvise. A special Mark Sheppard figure was constructed out of a Starbucks cup with two coffee stirs sticking out for arms, and a balled up piece of tin foil put on top for the head! The name on it said “MAAAHK”, which is obviously someone having fun with his English accent. The crowd was rolling.
It was time for the festivities to begin so we took our seats! I'll issue the disclaimer now, a lot of this report is based on memory and tweets that I did at our @TVFTROU site. Please excuse if some items are out of sequence, or maybe I didn't get the question right. The answers are correct though, as well as what was said by everyone. On with the panel report!
Holly came out and started things off. As with every panel, we were going to start with a sizzle reel. Oh, but this year’s sizzle reel was special. Included would be a clip from episode 10.03, which was shot first. She brought out the Director of the episode to kick off the clip, and out came a very handsome looking Jensen. His hair is slightly longer! So Demon Dean will be embracing the longer hair. The screams were ear piercing when Jensen came out to the 6500 fans packed into Hall H.
Jensen had a big surprise for us, this clip was going to show when Sam and Demon Dean confront each other for the first time. But first, there was a very clever “Road So Far” clip showing all the highlights of season nine. I so wish I knew what song they used, but I didn’t recognize it and I’m usually pretty good at knowing these songs (if anyone that knows that was there, please chime in). As usual it was well done, but we were all waiting for that other clip. We were not disappointed.
Okay, this is where I post the disclaimer. MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT!!!! This scene is pretty intense and got the crowd very excited. I’m going to describe here, but I have the block obscured. If you want to read this spoiler, just highlight over the text.
The clip starts with “Soon” and Sam and Dean are both in the MOL bunker. This isn’t a straight clip, just fragments of things that happen, except for the ending bit. It starts with a chat where a terse Sam tells Dean that he doesn’t like demons. Another bit shows Demon Dean tied down in the dungeon to a chair talking in a very evil way to Sam. It also shows Sam hitting a switch, firing off sirens and red lights, indicating they are on some sort of lockdown. Then the clip shows Demon Dean standing in a bedroom doorway as though he’s looking for someone, aka Sam. Sam is moving around the bunker cautiously and his arm is in a sling! They obviously wrote Jared’s injury into the show. Dean and Sam are both moving very tensely around the bunker in pursuit of each other and then Dean sneaks up behind Sam swinging a hammer at him. Sam jumps out just in time for the hammer to hit the wall and then puts the demon killing knife to Dean’s throat. Dean challenges him to kill him and then flashes the black eyes. Creepy!
Yep, that had everyone in the room pretty much screaming. I know I was excited! This is the most intense clip they’ve put out since season four when Dean was rising from the ground. Then it was time for everyone to come out. Jeremy Carver first, then Jensen, Jared, Misha, and finally Mark, who got a good look at his makeshift figure at the table. Needless to say, he played it very well. The above expression says it all!
Brian Truitt of USA Today was the panel moderator and I’d say he was a really darn good one. He asked some great questions. Up first, who gets the car? Sam or Dean? Demon Dean doesn’t need one because he’s zapping everywhere, right? No, Jensen revealed that Dean does get the car, even though he doesn’t care about her. So that’s one burning question solved!
So who’s easier to direct, Dean or Demon Dean? Jensen answered Demon Dean, because he spends most of the episode tied to a car. That not only got a reaction from the crowd, but Jared liked that as well. “Yeah!”
So what does Jeremy Carver have to say about season ten? It will be “Fun.” Then he concedes fun is the wrong word. “It’s exciting and moving and emotional.” He obviously saw how many fan girls were in the room.
What’s this season going to be like for Castiel? What’s his reaction to Dean? Castiel’s power is fading, but he’s more concerned about getting Dean fixed than his own predicament.
Brian Truitt congratulated Mark Sheppard next on becoming a series regular. “On what show?” Mark quipped.
What can Jeremy Carver spoil about the 200th episode? “It’s a love letter to fans,” he said. Not a lot more was revealed than that, like if there would be singing, so Jensen took a turn to improvise. “Apparently Demon Dean likes to Karaoke…or does he?” Also, Jared took this opportunity to point out how much the fans mean to them as they approach this big milestone. He thanked us all in a very sincere way. Right back at ya moose!
Talk veered toward how much the guys have changed since the Pilot. Both Jared and Jensen had amusing stories about that, considering kids that were six or seven when the show started are now sixteen and watching the show avidly (my daughter is one of those kids!). Jared told the story about how someone came up to him recently and said, “I’ve been watching you since I was a kid!” Jensen had a similar experience. Someone told him, “I grew up watching you kids.” Jeremy Carver even threw in an obscure joke (Google it), “You guys are boyhood before Richard Linklater did boyhood.” I think Misha had to best response to this though after recalling watching the pilot recently. “You were like children. This show has been your entire adult life.”
Talk of William Shatner live tweeting “Supernatural” came up, and the question was directed at Misha since he was the one responsible for bringing him to the fandom. Would he like having William Shatner on the show? Sure. “That would be great. Obviously, he’d have to audition like everyone else.”
What will we learn about Crowley? Mark Sheppard, who is the most artful at dodging any spoilery question, didn’t think there was anything left to learn. “You’ve got to understand, Crowley is always right.”
Castiel and Dean’s relationship was brought up as well (the term Destiel was avoided). The observation was made that Dean always seemed to connect with other characters. Jensen joked that everyone wants a piece of Dean. “He’s the guy you want to have around when you’re in a jam.” Jared countered, “Or if you want TO jam.” Beware, Jared wasn’t done with the bad jokes yet!
In a side conversation, Jared commented a bit about having to explore different sides of Sam now that Jensen gets to do it. “Sam has been to Hell and back, and it’s been an amazing run to explore those sides of Sam.
I have no idea what spurned this comment, but Misha commented that young children shouldn’t watch this show. He got a groans from Jensen and Jared as well as some audience members. “Well, they shouldn’t,” Misha responded. Jared joked, “Somebody’s getting fired.”
Randomly, before going onto fan questions, Jared asked who the first person in line was. A person in the front raised their hand. Jared tossed him his Sam Funko Pop doll. Misha then asked, “Who was the last person in line?” Jared ended up tossing the Dean and Castiel dolls to that person as well.
It was time to open up the floor to fan questions. Up first, an impressive Castiel fan with large retracting black wings. She even demonstrated! While Jared, Jensen, and Misha were impressed. Misha even joked he was supposed to have wings like that, but there wasn’t a budget for it. Mark was all confused. “I don’t get it. Who did you come as?” Her question was about the new show “Constantine.” Castiel’s character and look was based a lot on John Constantine. Did they think there would be some accusations of copying? Misha took on this subject. “We did plagiarize the look from Constantine, but we have squatters rights now.” He thinks the show “Constantine” is copying now.
The talk strayed to other copycat projects they were working on. Jared was throwing a bunch of little jokes, and Jensen stepped in since we all saw where this was going. Jensen - “For 10 years, I’ve listened to his jokes…” Here we go, the token LAME JOKE from Jared we get every con. “We were working on the movie Constipation. It’s not out yet.” Yep, if there were any tomatoes in that room, Jared would have had a hair full.
While all this was happening, I noticed that Holly was talking to the person in front of me, who was wearing a hooded costume. Eventually they walked away and that person was the next person in the Q&A line. Then the person removed the hood. Osric Chau! All the guys got up and gave him a bow! His costume was for the video game Journey. He told Jensen, Jared, Misha, and Mark how much he loved those guys, but his question was for Jeremy Carver. “When is Kevin coming back?” “Never, now,” answered Carver. Mark made a joke about how there’s a little piece of Kevin with him all the time. We didn’t get a solid answer, so I asked Jeremy the question in the press room. You’ll see that answer when the interview is published. BTW, after Osric sat down I gave him huge kudos over how clever his disguise was, but I couldn’t say more than that because one fan after another came up to him during the panel to get his picture or autograph. He’s a rock star!
Look who crashed the Con! pic.twitter.com/xoHkbpw2Qc— Marisa Roffman (@marisaroffman) July 27, 2014
The next fan asked what each of their bucket lists is. Jared - “Ten more Hall H’s at Comic Con.” That got huge applause. Mark - “Try not to die in season ten.” Jared decided to take on Jensen’s bucket list. He wants to kill Mark Sheppard. Not Crowley, just Mark. Then Jensen decided to give Misha’s bucket list. For Castiel, “Don’t kick the bucket.” Yep, they were getting pretty slap happy by this time.
The next person wanted to know if there were any female regulars or recurring characters this year. Jeremy Carver promised that there would be some very, very powerful female characters in the next season but wouldn’t give more than that. Jared joked, “Crowley is ambiguous enough where he could be a she.” Mark couldn’t argue with that.
A question about stunts came up. Jensen talked at length about how this week alone, Demon Dean was killing someone every day of filming. He’s been doing his own stunts, and that’s by choice. The show requires them to keep up physically, but they know when it gets too physical and they have to use a stunt double. Jensen - “Unlike others we know (points to Jared), who get injured.”
Another fan dressed as Castiel came up, but they didn’t have the retracting wings like the other fan. Jared seemed disappointed. Mark was confused again. “Who did you come as?” The question, what would each of their fake dating profiles be? Jensen went first for Dean. “Rolling through town, no strings attached. Interested?” Jared gave a longer one for Sam. “Tall, floppy hair. All girlfriends have died horribly. Tall again. Must sign an affidavit.” Mark gave Crowley’s dating profile, and it was the best! He went into full Crowley voice, “Hello girls…” then he decided he was being too exclusive. “Hello boys…” The fan asked what Jeremy would write for them. “Have booty will travel,” The Carver answered.
The next person in line was a fan dressed as Bobby! More cheers from the crowd. Mark - “I feel a kiss coming on.” The question was about the masculine nature of Supernatural. Jared took on this one. “It’s still about vulnerability that’s common to both sexes.” He went on to explain that he’s done way more crying on “Supernatural” than he did for “The Gilmore Girls.” He observed same for Jensen, sort of. “Although, he did more crying on ‘Days of Our Lives’.” Jensen joked - “Off camera.” For whatever reason, this inspired Jared to go back to the last question, deciding to answer what Jeremy Carver's fake personal ad will be. "Will go bump in the night." Boo hiss! Moose is clearly going off the rails now!
The panel wrapped up from there, and everyone on the panel stood up and gave the audience a standing ovation. Jensen took the mic and was the spokesman of the group, thanking the fans for all their support. He also joked except for the thirty percent that was there to see “Game of Thrones.” That got a huge laugh from Jeremy Carver.
ETA: How could I forget about the Season Nine Gag Reel! They showed it after the panel. It wasn't the full reel that will be on the DVD set, just a sample. It was just as good as every year. Not a lot of standouts, just goofy fun.
And with that the guys went on to the booth signing and then the press room. I was in the press room and I’m slowly publishing all the interviews from our roundtable with full transcripts.
I did have one other story to share though. When I was leaving the press room, I looked behind me while getting onto the escalator and the person there was none other than Jeremy Carver! I was a bit stunned, but I also happened to be wearing my “Pig in a Poke” shirt. I showed it to him and let him know that “Mystery Spot” (written by him) was my all time favorite “Supernatural” episode. He thanked me. I also told him we were very excited for season ten. He seemed very appreciative of that. Yes, he knows that there are complaining fans out there, but he and the writers are excited about what’s coming.
That kind of ties into the things that Robbie Thompson’s wife was saying. In the end, as writers, they must decide what stories to tell. They need to stay true to their vision, and some fans will not like, but a majority do otherwise they wouldn’t be successful. Carver didn’t say those words, but the impression I got from the panel, press room and that little chat on the escalator is he has a job to do and he’s doing it. He’s also happy with his job.
That's a wrap on another Comic Con, and once again I'm honored to be part of such an enthusiastic fandom. Let's do it again next year!
Here's the live tweets via Storify I did during the Panel at our sister site @TVFTROU. As I've done for the last two years, I didn't tweet at @WinFamBusiness to avoid spilling spoilers.