I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of the Supernatural Season Seven companion. Considering I am a proud owner of the first six, adding the seventh to my collection was a no brainer. So the question is, did season seven’s edition tell me a lot of what I didn’t know? Yes, yes, and more yes! I was engrossed from beginning to end.
First, let me say something about the author, Nicholas Knight. He’s the same guy who’s done most of the interviews and many articles for Supernatural magazine (also printed by Titan Publishing). He also wrote the first six companion books, and did articles for the 100th episode insert that ran in Variety (a particular editor of the Winchester Family Business had an article there too). Needless to say, he knows his Supernatural inside and out. He didn’t spare any details.
The Supernatural Season Seven Companion has 157 pages of great stories, interviews, information, and pictures for any fan. Just like the other editions there are some very nice full color inserts. One of the many photos is a very pleasing shot of Dean with 40‘s style fedora and tommy gun in “Time After Time” along with Eliot Ness (Nicholas Lea). These inserts have some interesting closeup pictures of artifacts, like the Leviathan tablet and the Bobby’s flask, and some rather quirky cutouts from “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie.” My absolute favorite picture though is the inclusion of the tabletop advertisement for the Biggerson’s Pepperjack Turducken Slammer. Now only $4.99!
Here’s a list of all the great material in the companion:
- A forward from writers/producers Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin.
- “Pasteurizing Supernatural,” a look at making season seven.
- A summary on each episode, with interviews and inside stories on what went into making that episode. There’s an in depth look at the season 7 finale, “Survival of The Fittest.”
- Closer looks at all the Monsters of the Week who surfaced in the season.
- Features on each character in the season. Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester, Castiel, Bobby Singer, Crowley, Dick Roman, Sheriff Jody Mills, Frank Devereaux, Becky Rosen, Garth Fitzgerald IV, Rufus Turner and Kevin Tran.
- Meet the Crew: First Assistant Directors and Writers’ Assistant.
- “Do You Believe in the Supernatural?”, “Share Your Worst Fear,” and “Supernatural Reaction.”
Not sold yet? How about I share a select few (and I mean few) of the many fun facts and behind the scenes stories from the companion:
- The mastermind behind the giant Leviathan mouth? It shouldn’t be a shocker. The whole concept came from Ben Edlund. The other idea credited to Mr. Edlund, Borax hurting a Leviathan. It was season seven’s answer to rock salt.
- Composers Christopher Lennertz and Jay Gruska, who usually split the episodes evenly for a season, ended up doing their first one together, “Time After Time” because for the first time ever the season had an odd number of episodes.
- Jimmy Tomorrow’s store in “The Mentalists” was a real pawn shop packed to the hilt with stuff.
- Blowing up the wedding cake in the intro of “Season 7: Time For A Wedding” ended up costing a lot because they used a real wedding cake, but they were determined to get the shot they wanted.
- Jared would actually eat turducken.
- Actress Sara Canning arrived on the set for “The Slice Girls” not knowing there was a nude scene. She wasn’t comfortable with that, so they used a body double for the nude parts.
- Daniel Loflin had to fight for the full shot of a unicorn farting rainbows and the glittery horn.
- DJ Qualls (Garth) - “I talk in Mr. Fizzles voice when I’m bored. My friends have grown to hate him.”
- When First AD John MacCarthy got to direct his first episode (“The Girl With The Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo”) the camera operator, Brian Rose, took pictures and presented it to him in a book of black and white photos documenting the entire experience. “It’s an absolutely beautiful momento I’ll cherish forever,” said MacCarthy.
- Misha Collins shared his secret for preparing for Crazy Castiel. “Sleep-deprivation is the most effective tool.”
- Ben Edlund’s description of what the tablet in “Reading is Fundamental” was supposed to look like? “Caveman Lego.”
- Osric Chau (Kevin Tran) can’t play the cello, but it’s not an instrument that can be faked. He made noise with it, which was hard on his ears, and the sound guys too.
- Writer Andrew Dabb made a cameo in “There Will Be Blood.” Just to see if anyone is paying attention, I’m entertaining guesses as to what scene that was. Share in the comments!
Two Excerpts From Supernatural: The Official Season Seven Companion
Below are two excerpts from the book. First, one of the best write ups for an episode is on “The Born Again Identity.” It explores the questions raised over Castiel’s actions in healing Sam. Here’s a snippet of Sera Gamble’s official explanation about Castiel’s fix.
“For us, the point of that moment was that when we broke the wall in Sam’s head we wanted to make sure we didn’t make it a problem that could just be fixed, that someone would come in and just mend it again. We wanted to make sure that problem had weight and consequences, and that if Castiel managed to step back in and say, ‘Okay, I’m here. I’m sorry. I see I made a mistake. Now I can fix it, let me erase it,” he would discover that he couldn’t, that this was a true and real problem. The best that he could do would be to transfer it [to himself] and take it on. That seemed to be a fair way of dealing with something as massive as what would happen to a human soul that had been trapped in Hell.”
This next excerpt is part of the chapter “Pasteurizing Supernatural,” which is early in the book. It’s from co-executive producer Jim Michaels, explaining a big logistical problem that plagued them during season seven:
“Speaking from a logistical standpoint, the most challenging thing in season seven was preparing for Jared Padalecki’s baby,” states co-executive producer Jim Michaels. “We had a code name, Operation Moose Drop. We knew there was a period of three different episodes when we had to make sure that Jared was a little lighter in his involvement, and we needed to know when the best times to shoot him out of the episodes were. So, one episode we shot him at the beginning and he ended up with a five day weekend...and the baby didn’t come. In the next episodes we had a couple of floater days - days on those scripts when we could pull any actor on any given day - and because of that unknown we got some sets ready early. In the end, the baby came in one of the pockets of time we prepared, but coordinating that was daunting.”
Operation Moose Drop? OMG! I’m dying from laughter! Why was that the first time I heard that story? Actually, that happened to me quite a bit reading this book. There were also several stories told that I heard at cons, but it made me smile reading about them again. Just like the other editions, any Supernatural fan will be in geeky bliss over this book.
Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 7 is now available on Amazon.com. It makes the perfect Christmas gift for that Supernatural fan you know! For your convenience, there’s a link in our Amazon ad on the right hand side of each page.
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