From June 1-4, 2023, I spent 3.5 wonderful days with my SPNFamily at the Chicago Supernatural convention. The convention is now officially called “The Road So Far…The Road Ahead” because, in addition to the usual immersion into all things Supernatural, panels have branched out to include cast members of Jared and Jensen’s post-Supernatural shows, Walker and The Winchesters. Before the convention, I bought a new phone/camera in the hopes of capturing some good shots for you (and me!)! So over the next few months, I’ll share the antics and love of the con with you, separated into the individual panels to highlight whoever might be your favs!
Since Walker was the last show to air, ending its third season just a month ago, let’s start with the Men of Walker panel – Mitch Pileggi (Bonham Walker), Jeff Pierre (Trey Barnett), Keegan Allen (Liam Walker) and Jake Abel (Kevin Golden)! Mitch and Jake are stars to both the WalkerFamily and SPNFamily. Mitch was Sam and Dean’s grandfather, Samuel Campbell, in Supernatural, while Jake played both Adam Milligan, Sam and Dean’s half brother, and the archangel Michael in seasons 4, 5 and 15. Mitch is obviously a regular cast member on Walker, but Jake just became WalkerFamily this year when he appeared in 8 episodes of Walker as a sly friend and love interest <spoiler alert….> turned arch enemy.
(With 4 guys, someone is bound to be moving at all times, so new camera or not, three of my full panel shots have some blurry faces.)
Mitch, Jeff and Liam have worked together since Walker‘s premiere – 56 episodes and counting, so Jake was the new guy on a Walker panel. But he is a Supernatural veteran, and whether by virtue of his comfort with the Supernatural fandom and Supernatural conventions, or simply a matter of personality, he was clearly the ring leader of the group. He was a high energy lightning rod (The Lightning Thief ?) and the de facto moderator, calling on panelists to answer questions if they hadn’t yet spoken up on their own. He immediately took the lead, opening with a story about him and Jeff in the men’s washroom, where Jeff asked what a panel would be like with him. I guess Jake’s reputation preceded him?
He was the lead comedian…
and head hijinks master.
(Sorry he’s blurry. He was moving too fast!)
He was Keegan’s wingman, with the younger Walker brother clearly taking his lead from the more outgoing, irreverent, confident Jake. They had many private exchanges between them, with Keegan even saying once, “I didn’t think you’d actually say that [out loud]!”
Keegan was shier, and absolutely adorable as he repeatedly rephrased and rethought answers to fans’ questions. His awkwardness for making fans feel heard and respected was sweet. When asked by a fan about his photography, Keegan admitted that he interacts with the world through his camera. He even brought it onstage with him and snapped a few photos of the audience during the panel.
Mitch was quietly serene, yet disarmingly funny. Whether because of age or “having done this for 40+ years”, he didn’t appear to be nervous in the slightest, but rather sincerely wanted to answer fans’ questions. He admitted he was relieved to have “these three cats” on stage with him, noting it had been hard to be in the spotlight by himself for 45 minutes at the New Jersey con. He was content to let Jake spice up the party, but when Jake and Keegan went on a hilarious, incomprehensible tangent about tee shirt pockets…
…Mitch got in the best laugh of them all, leading Jeff off stage to continue the panel one-on-one with fans in the question line! Mitch also got in perhaps the most popular answer of the panel, saying “working on Supernatural, and meeting Jared and Jensen, was so impactful on my life.” I was honestly surprised to hear that. Having such a long and varied career, it was heartwarming to hear that our boys mean so much to this veteran actor. He also surprised me by saying that he is still trying to figure out Samuel Campbell. “I was kind of confused with what I was doing with that guy… I don’t know why.” Samuel was a complex character that was utterly devoted to his daughter yet rather cold to his grandsons so it was comforting to hear that even the actor who played him was scratching his head (literally, on the panel) over the guy’s emotions!
Jeff was also a bit shy but eager to take his lead from the more experienced actors and convention panelists. For example, it may have been Mitch who led the two of them off stage but when they returned, Jeff laid down the punch line of the gag by taking the microphones away from Keegan and Jake. Having seconds to think of answers to the infinite possibilities of fans’ questions gave him pause (maybe he’s quiet by nature – I don’t know. This is the first time I’ve seen him in person), but when prompted by Jake, Jeff’s charisma came shining through as he sprang into stories that mesmerized the audience. His laugh is deep and always close at hand.
This was the first time there’s been a Walker panel at one of the Supernatural conventions I’ve attended so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It turned out to be so much fun! Fans’ questions were frequently about projects other than Walker, such as Pretty Little Liars for Keegan; Sons of Anarchy and Stargate: Atlantis for Mitch; and Midnight Sun for Jake. Unanimously, they complimented the atmosphere Jared has established on Walker‘s set as being “family”.
The men of Walker were charming together. Their panel was hilarious and immensely entertaining. You can watch the whole panel’s video on YouTube:
Video taken by //www.youtube.com/@Kreespa“>Kreespa
Please share in the comments your impressions of these men or any Walker panels you may have seen!