Being a part of the Supernatural press room at San Diego Comic-Con is exhilarating, fun and nerve wracking all at the same time. For someone who's a fan of the show, it’s so exciting to sit at the same table as Jensen, Jared, Misha and now Alex. Besides the personal heart-thumping hour of talking in a small group setting with them, it’s also a unique opportunity to hear their personal insights into the characters we all love! All of the people who decide the direction of the show are also assembled in one room, just waiting to tease us with their advance knowledge of myth arcs and plots! The challenge is to ask the questions fans are all dying to ask, while being extremely careful to never put anyone on the spot in such a public forum. They are on a global stage with cameras rolling and recorders taping, so the reputation of the show and the future of the press’ access to this team are riding on everyone’s ability to balance the promotional messages the creative team is supposed to deliver, with the surprise details we might be able to eke out of the minds behind Supernatural!
Table etiquette dictates that each reporter asks only one question until everyone at the table (who seems to have a question) has had a turn. It’s a game of who can jump in first when there is a split second of silence. In some cases, I was able to ask more than one question of a guest, either as a follow-on question or because I sensed that no one else had a good question prepared. Conversely, in other cases (i.e. Jensen), I didn’t get in a question at all. We were his last table and he had only a very few minutes before the next stop on his promotional tour. It felt very rushed. I really wanted to ask “Is Dean conscious during Michael’s possession and will we see that struggle?” Alas, he was pulled away before I could politely but aggressively be heard! Reporters also don’t have any idea what other tables are asking. Until we see all the videos afterwards (online, the same time as you), we don’t know if we are asking questions that are unique or have been repeated in every interview. I think I got in a solitary probe about the appearance of The Empty in season 14. Threads readers know my motivation for asking that question! I haven’t yet heard it elsewhere yet but let me know if you found it in another session.
Reporters come from all over the world. Their countries are at different points in the series; their audiences have different favorite characters or episodes that might mean something unique to their culture. Each wants the lead actors to shout out to their segment. We have to allow for that dynamic as the Supernatural family is indeed global! Reporters also represent media outlets that have varied interests. Often, several interviewers at each table have never even seen Supernatural! They haven’t memorized the fan convention panels like we have. They don’t know the questions the boys have answered every two weeks for the past ten years. You cringe when they ask about the end of the show, borrowing traits from another character, favorite monsters, or “how is your comic-con going?” but they get to lob a question just like everyone who knows the show intimately.
We can also never, ever interrupt the interviewees, even if we have heard a particular question/answer before or if the person is going off on a tangent that may not address our most burning curiosities. This is their comic-con too! They have to rotate to eight or so tables, each with eight or so interviewers with cameras, video and audio recorders capturing their every movement. We need to give them room to think, hesitate or exhale! We are also at the mercy of the publicists. My table was never given Brad Buckner, which disappointed me because he was leaking a lot of spoilers!
I also learned a lot of information “off the record”. I was unbelievably lucky enough to converse with the Supernatural writers and actors outside of formal venues. I can’t put those quotes or spoilers into articles, but it does inform how I might answer you if you ask about a specific topic. You’ll see the Supernatural team’s recognition of Alice and me during the table interviews. Jared waves at Alice and winks at me (as he is first sitting down). We both got in the first questions of him as he was facing us and obviously giving us “room” to speak up. Alex recognized Alice from the Warner Bros. party. Both Bob Singer and his wife Eugenie said hello to me as soon as they recognized me (“There you are!”) when they sat down. That recognition makes the conversation with the people behind Supernatural much more relaxed and rewarding - I think for both them and us.
So what was the biggest Supernatural news of SDCC 18? Of course, we all saw the preview of the first episode. I’m going to talk about that in a separate article! After that absolutely chilling few minutes, the cast and executive producers gave fans interesting teases plus insights into the writing behind the story arcs of season 14. The following are the biggest revelations I heard from The WFB interviews. In each case, feel free to add details you’ve read/heard from other interviews, then your reaction, hopes and questions about what the teases might mean for the characters and the show! Please be patient with the show! Remember that most of their descriptions relate to the first few episodes only! Dabb said they are only about a third of the way through the season’s concept, so recognize that much of this information is how the season is going to start - this is what they’re thinking now and who the characters will be as we pick up from last year.
Spoiler Alert from here on! Quotes come from the 15 video interviews that can be found under the Comic-Con 2018 tag on the Home Page. Interviewees include:
Jensen Ackles - Dean
Jared Padalecki - Sam
Misha Collins - Castiel
Alexander Calvert - Jack
Robert (Bob) Singer and Andrew Dabb - Showrunners
Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner - Executive Producers
Season 14 Myth Arc/Theme
From Andrew’s interview:
Dean as Michael is the major arc for the whole season. The prodigal son returns to the fold. If and when Dean comes back, how does that affect everyone?
From both Singer and Buckner (Alice’s interviews), the themes will be (mentioned in various orders):
Jack losing his powers
Michael taking over Dean
Sam having responsibility for the people they brought back from the other side
AU Charlie and Bobby (and others)
Season 14 will (Singer, Alice’s interview):
Have less scope
Have a little more emotion; be “emotionally exciting”
Be more contained
“The tone remains the same. People tune in for the emotion. This season it gets amped up quite a bit.”
So Dean’s possession is the event that triggers everyone’s character growth. Given the character descriptions below, this has a lot of possibilities. Dean will be the “injured/hurt” brother. Sam and Cas might have to make more decisions, take the lead, guide more hunts. If Dean is the compromised member of Team Free Will, the others may have room for growth, as well as Dean having to explore and reconcile his experience. That will be uncomfortable for him. Maybe reminiscent of his return from Hell in season 4? They’ve also said that the season will be exploring relationships and be more emotional. I am thrilled about this! Like Bob, that is my favorite part of the story! Emotional exploration is usually Sam’s strength, Dean’s Achilles heel and Castiel’s puzzle, but with Jack, they all have to explain as well as feel, talk or avoid. Thoughts?
Season 14 Universe
The episode mix and emphasis:
The bunker is less of a sanctuary and more of a police precinct. The 25 apocalypse people take up hunting. This is still a story about our core characters. We don’t want to spend too much time away but we’ll see more of the hunter world this season (Andrew, Nightsky’s interview)
Continue to keep the split between myth and monster of the week episodes at 50/50. They may look for monsters from other countries and other cultures (Andrew, Nightsky’s interview)
No plans for a new crossover episode right now. It may happen but I don’t see it happening right now. (Eugenie, Nightsky’s interview).
The executive producers also discussed how the shorter season would tighten up the plot line, cutting both myth and “traditional” monster story telling time. This all sounds fabulous to me! How about you?
“The Empty is going to figure into a story” (Singer, Nightsky’s interview)
Will our hunters need the Entity’s power to fight Michael? Is Castiel’s interaction and deal with the Entity going to be revisited (Threads readers well know my opinion on this!)? Introducing an entire universe for just one episode last year seemed like the spring board for an entirely new myth arc. What do you think?
The door was left open. There is a spell. There is a way to get back [to the Alternate Universe]. There are additional alternate worlds too, which is fun to explore. It might be interesting to see lots of those kind of things. (Brad, Alice’s interview)
Do you want to explore other worlds? They said they don’t think they’ll be going back to Michael’s and the apocalypse fighters’ world in season 14, and that scope would be smaller, more personal, so I don’t see this happening this year. How about the future? Are you enticed by universe rifts?
Michael - Dean
How long will Michael possess Dean?
Longer than you think. (Andrew, Nightsky’s interview)
It will go past the second episode (Andrew, Alice’s interview)
“It’s all going to come to a head at some point. It’s going to be sooner rather than later but that doesn’t mean that Michael is going away” (Jensen, Alice’s interview)
Dean may come back “changed” - (Eugenie, Nightsky’s interview)
Dean will be less likely to open up and talk about [being possessed] and deal with it properly. Dean will be ignoring what he’s just gone through. (Jared, Alice’s interview)
Michael is building his army and purifying our world (Brad, Alice’s interview)
There is a chaotic thread that runs through this season of Supernatural, because a lot of the power structures are gone – nobody running Hell or Heaven, humans and monsters are at each other throats – so no one is in charge. Michael has a specific view of what he wants the world to be and that is not our world. He has a second chance to get a world that is purified and worthy of him – (Dabb, Nightsky’s interview)
What have you heard from other interviews? I can read between the lines quite a bit here. What is your interpretation? Is it what you hoped for? What do you want to see?
Sam is the guy in charge (Dabb, Nightsky’s interview)
Sam will be more responsible, level-headed… older and wiser… cool, methodical, thoughtful, stressed-out. (Jared, Nightsky’s interview)
Everyone will be leaning on Sam. I’m sure when he gets his brother back, he’ll start leaning on other people as well. (Jared, Nightsky’s interview)
Sam is much more assertive as the leader of the warriors, the hunters, because he doesn’t have Dean to consult with. (Eugenie, Nightsky’s interview)
I enjoy the parts of Sam when he’s “I am lion, hear me roar” but I enjoy the commanding general part of Sam better; the behind the scenes thing. Sam knows he’s got brawn, but I think Sam knows his power lies in his brain. I enjoy the thoughtful, pensive, academic, research-driven Sam leading style…. I prefer the more measured approach. (Jared, Alice’s interview)
Keep in mind that most of these descriptions of Sam refer to the opening of the season, but it certainly sounds intriguing. Which Sam do you prefer to see?
Can Jack’s powers regenerate like an archangel?
Yes, but no one knows how long it will take – it could take a week, it could take years (Singer, Nightsky’s interview)
Jack's Character Growth
At the beginning, Jack isn’t in a good emotional state. He feels a bit useless (Singer, Nightsky’s interview)
Bobby has taken Jack under his wing and is training him, but Jack has a long way to go (Singer, Nightsky’s interview)
Jack has to learn how to be useful (Alex, Alice’s interview)
I am beyond thrilled that Jack is here to stay… at least for the foreseeable future! How do you think Jack’s discovery of himself will parallel Castiel’s journey? Be different?
Will Castiel feel better about himself now that he’s with Jack?
I love Misha’s head canon about Castiel’s frame of mind:
Cas often feels ineffectual, like he’s let other people down. He definitely often feels unworthy and doesn’t demonstrate a lot of self-love. I think, interestingly, watching Jack do the same thing may allow Cas to feel like he is a little bit more part of the family, like he has a place, because he’s telling Jack things that he should have been hearing all along. He’s telling Jack things that he should have been saying to himself. I imagine that Cas has to have enough empathy to understand that these things that he’s saying to Jack apply to him as well. So in a weird way, I think that Jack’s woes might be helping Cas feel like he belongs in a way.
Cas is trying to coddle Jack through the experience of losing powers, because he has wisdom in that area (Misha, Nightsky’s interview)
Collectively, it’s a little bit of my 3 dads. We are/will all be shouldering a little bit of that paternal responsibility. Cas is shouldering most of that role because Jack is going through some of the things Cas went through 6 or 7 years ago when he lost his powers and became human, so I’m uniquely positioned to help him thought this crisis. (Misha, Alice’s interview)
There is a deepening of the relationship between Cas and Jack – more of a paternal aspect to it (Eugenie, Nightsky’s interview)
With Dean being absent, Cas is more hands on, more paternal
Cas is at relatively full power. He runs into some trouble right out of the gate. Cas also has the looming prospect of the fall or collapse of heaven that’s in the back of his mind but we’re not tackling that right out of the gate. We’re first trying tosave Dean. (Misha, Alice’s interview.)
We could be looking at more character growth for Castiel! He becomes the mentor! It also sounds like his hunting skills advance and he isn’t as mired in heaven’s politics, at least for a while. That has to change once we learn what Michael found in Heaven, right? What do you think about Castiel being to Jack what Bobby was to the boys?
Bobby, Mary, Charlie and Jody
Bobby we’ll see. Not Charlie so much. Bobby spends time with Mary. They’re kind of “digging on each other” (Eugenie, Nightsky’s interview)
We’re going to see a lot of Bobby. They are pursuing cases. He becomes part of the team. (Brad, Alice’s interview)
Bobby has taken Jack under his wing and is training him, but Jack has a long way to go (Singer, Nightsky’s interview)
Jody and Au Bobby and Charlie will be back (Singer, Nightsky’s interview)
We’re going to use Mary very carefully. Mary is “a presence” but not a central issue of the season. (Eugenie, Nightsky’s interview)
“The AU hunters won’t be integrated too much into the story. They integrate back into society. We’ll see them when they return from a mission… but we don’t want to distract from our core characters and the core mission” (Eugenie, Nightsky’s interview)
We’ll bring people [past characters] back judiciously (Eugenie, Nightsky’s interview)
Again, I’m thrilled about Bobby returning to the story, and he’s hunting with the boys again! I know I’m in the minority, but I’m disappointed they won’t be repairing Mary’s relationship with her sons. They teed that up so perfectly last year. It would take nothing at all to have her reconcile with Dean and Sam. I wonder if they’ll address it at all. Jody will be back though so that’s good news! Reactions?
We would miss Lucifer a lot. We’ll have to figure that one out. (Brad, Alice’s interview)
To my surprise, no one asked if Lucifer was really dead. It sounds like he will be for a while at least. I can’t say I’m disappointed to hear that. I’m ready to move onto other arch villains. You?
The 300th episode
The 300th will end up being a really cool love letter to the show
The 100th was very conventional. The 200th was very meta. The 300th is in the middle. We’ve never seen Lebanon, Kansas. How do other people view Sam, Dean and Cas? It allows us to get different views of Sam and Dean (Andrew, Nightsky’s interview)
The 300th is the only episode so far that may deviate from normal format (Singer, Nightsky’s interview)
Bob Singer echoed that the 300th will explore how the boys are viewed by their “neighbors”. I’m very curious about what the writers are holding back about this show. The idea seems a bit smaller to me than I expected for a 300th so I’m suspicious of what else is involved. How is a 360o view of the boys’ lives going to be meta or a love letter to the show? I don’t think we have the whole story here!
The End of Supernatural
I certainly don’t see an end in sight right now (Jensen, Alice’s interview)
I legitimately enjoy Sam Winchester. Selfishly, I learn a lot about Jared by playing Sam. I can’t think of another TV show or movie that I’d rather be on as an actor. (Jared, Alice’s interview)
It could run for another 5 years probably if the guys want to do it that long (Andrew, Alice’s interview)
Music to my ears!! I think we’re in this for the long run now that the team has a longer hiatus break with their families!
Reactions? Comments? Questions? Theories? Please be respectful and patient. Sincerity goes a lot farther than cynicism and allows for more thoughtful, insightful discussion! Let’s Discuss!