Another annual July tradition has come and gone and once again, we have a lot to talk about. The “Supernatural” panel at San Diego Comic Con is the official kick-off of the rampant speculation that will dominate the fandom between now and the premiere on Thursday, October 11th.
As has been the last few years, thousands of fans packed Hall H in excitement over what’s to come in season 14. Myself and Nightsky were there for all the fun. This time, we had this big divide and conquer plan. Nightsky did the tweeting and took pictures/video while I manned laptop, took notes, and uploaded the videos. In between all that we found time to say hello to fellow fans and writers that we haven’t seen in a while. You see, this panel is more of a pilgrimage instead of a mere Q&A session. Personally, I sat there wondering how I’ve actually gotten to do this for ten years now. As a matter of fact, the question of longevity even came up at the panel. I’ll cover that a little later, but what they said made a lot of sense to everyone in the room.
Anyway, around 10:25 the excitement hit a pitch when the staff members started manning the table with waters and name cards. Not long after a man started warming up the crowd, and the Director of Programming came on to do his welcome and review the lineup since it was the first panel of the day. There was that “get on with it” feeling going, but once Holly Ollis of Warner Brothers came up and mentioned that “Supernatural” is still the longest running sci-fi series in the history of American prime time television, that got the crowd in the right sort of mood. Her reveal that they just started filming s14 and will be hitting milestone of 300 episodes was the perfect segue to a popular part of the panel, the sizzle reel!
This year’s sizzle reel was very special for two reasons. First, the song selected for the “THEN” segment, aka the rundown of season 13, was the very appropriate, “God Was Never on Your Side” by Motorhead (thank you Shazam!). It’s better than any song used in recent memory to kick off a season.
UPDATED: Here is that sizzle reel!
The second reason is there was a bonus, the “SOON” segment! We were blessed with a scene from season 14, one only just filmed in the last week or so.
**SPOILER ALERT!!** (I'll say this too for the rest of the report as well)
Dean!Michael approaching a Muslim from Syria during his morning prayers. The man wondered if he was God, then figured out he was an archangel. He first said Gabriel, but then guessed Michael. Dean!Michael asked him, “What do you want?” The man said peace and love. Michael dismissed that answer, saying that humans don’t want peace and love otherwise the world wouldn’t be the way it is. He then berated this devout man for all the sins he has committed. We couldn’t tell from the scene if he was trying to cleanse or recruit. It was a very chilling scene. Many in the room were quite stunned and impressed too. Jensen was brilliant!
With the crowd all warmed up now, our always entertaining hosts, Richard Speight Jr. and Rob Benedict came out and the panel began. The rest of the panel I’ll share in summary form:
- Richard after seeing the “SOON” segment. “I’m officially confused and creeped out.” You and all of us Rich
- Richard and Rob said that Kansas, who performed before the panel last year, couldn’t make it this year. So, they did a hilarious interpretive version of “Dust in the Wind.” They closed with, “Suck it Kansas!”
- Time for the introductions! Let’s go through each of the panelists monikers branded by our comical hostes:
- Bob Singer - “The high imperial lordship of all things televised.”
- Andrew Dabb - “Utah’s favorite son.”
- Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming - “One if Bob Singer’s better half, the other is Eugenie Ross Leming”)
- Alexander Calvert - “Big Al Cal”
- Misha Collins ‘ “It it ever starts to rain, he’s got a trench coat to keep you warm. If that sounds like he’s a pervert, that’s because he is.”
- Jensen Ackles - “Best Dean cosplayer anywhere.”
- Jared Padalecki - “The guy whose last name rhymes with “Bare head wait a sec-y,” which is what he says when he’s ready to grab his wig.”
- First question for Jensen, now that Dean is Michael. How has that been as a performer? It’s a little challenging, especially with kicking the dust off from break, but it’s been exciting and fun. Jared commented about clip - “I got chills. Well done Ackles.” Jensen’s answer? “It’s also really cold backstage.”
- Jensen on Michael’s wardrobe - A timeless look for a timeless figure.
- In preparing for the role, Jensen paid attention to what Christian did with Michael last year for continuity sakes. He asked him, “Is there anything you keep in mind before going on camera?” Christian demonstrates by standing up and then flapping the bottom of his long coat. That’s all he needed!
- Andrew Dabb - Dean is Michael, and Dean will not return to the show. (He’s kidding!!!). Andrew explained that Michael is not a funny character, so some of Dean will seep out. “We tried to give all the funny lines to Misha and it has not worked.” Yeah, Misha’s face after that diss was fantastic.
- It’s Jared’s turn! What is going on with Sam during Dean’s absence? He brought attention to the beard. Sam is taking on a leadership role. He’s distracted. He hasn’t shaved in a bit. All the people in the bunker are under his watchful eye. Sam is taking the cues and lessons that he’s learned from Dean for the new hunters. “It’s the new Brady Bunch.”
- What about Castiel? Misha - “This is a roll up his trench coat sleeves moment for Cas (Jared shakes his head). Castiel will takes Jack under his wing (Jared shakes his head again). Jared’s looks are priceless!- Misha comes up with a question for his bosses. “You cast Alex on the show and Alex looks just like me.” Jared - “Just better and younger.” Could he be his Dad? “Alex won’t submit to a paternity test and he won’t give me some DNA”. Alex - “Wait until I start wearing a trenchcoat, that will be the confirmation.” Jared to Alex - “Can you talk in a low voice?”
- Ball humor alert!!! Since Alex had the floor, how is Jack doing in the first episode? “So far, it’s been a little rough. He has no powers, which has been an adjustment.” Jared had a question for him. “Is the most difficult part being son of Lucifer, or cast members kicking you in the crotchal region all the time while you're on camera?” Alex had the witty answer. Knowing he could be kicked in the balls at anytime helps him focus on the loss and pain his character is feeling. It’s helped his acting. “Thank you guys, it helps me.”
- Brad Buckner is up next! What is Michael up to? Recruiting people for team Michael. That will take up the first few episodes.
- Jared and Jensen started a nice little dig together that was artfully aimed at Rob. Jensen commented how Jack was on of the most powerful creatures, and now he’s not. “We get rid of those omnipotent characters.’ He’s pleased been nice they found a way to keep Alex on the show.” Jared joins in agreement, but he will still kick him in the balls. Rob in shaky voice stops the discussion - “Those are great points.” He says to Alex, “By the way, I’m your grandfather.”
- Misha - “It doesn’t feel like abuse. It feels like love.” Alex added - “Working with Misha Colilns is almost as bad as working with Jared and Jensen.”
- At this point, Misha found an opportunity to wrangle up a couple of volunteers to hand out voter registration cards for those that aren’t registered. He told us in the press room later his intent is to get young people to vote since polls don’t consider them to be part of the voting demographic. He wants to see things changed up a little. Jensen -“This is the length that Misha will go to get that People’s Choice Award.”
- Richard went back to Alex while Misha was busy. Who will play Jack’s parental role? Alex acknowledged that he and Castiel had a “sustained celestial bond.” His ultimate goal though will be to get Dean back. Then after Rob commented, he said “Thank you grandfather.”
- Rob shifted the question to Andrew Dabb - “Are you planning on bringing back any favorites?” Jared observed, “They give them all directing jobs.” Andrew confirmed Jody Mills, other members of the Wayward family, and Rowena. Jensen pointed out that Ruth was in the house and she took her bow in the audience. Then Jared asked, “Are there any plans to bring back Ruby? Jen was in the house as well!
- Rob mentioned they will hit 300 episodes this season. What is the plan for the 300th? Bob - Andrew has a plan, isn’t letting anyone in on it. He’s directing it, but he doesn’t know what he’s directing. Jared - “He (Jensen) thought, again his words, not mine, but he though the 300th episode should be called “The 300” and we all wear togas.” Jensen - “Clip show. I said clip show!”
- Bob Singer jumped in to answer if Jensen had any input on his wardrobe for Michael. “Any time that Jensen has to dress, either for the Western, going back the 1930’s, here’s Jensen’s input…’Give me that hat, I want that coat, you have to make that special for me…yeah, do it the way I want.” Jensen defended himself, saying it wasn’t just the time traveling types of things. “One of them specifically, the dodgeball gym coach. So, you’re welcome.” Misha added that Jensen was more excited about the cowboy hat for the Western than his character.
- Our hosts then asked the panel about the show’s longevity. The show hasn’t lost that unique energy that attracts it’s fans. What can be attributed to the show being so successful for so long?
Brad - “These characters keep evolving and there are more of them.”
Eugenie - “We bring all our characters to the brink of something.” They have stories that are a lot about redemption, loyalty, betrayals. The characters keep mutating. “The audience really likes that journey.”
Jensen - “We you’ve been doing a show this long, it all revolves around one central character, and that is the car.”
Jared - The fans. They also have a supportive network and studio. The relationships between everyone in Vancouver and Los Angeles are meaningful. They’re family and he cares about these people. The show is also not about romantic stories, they get to tell stories that everybody can relate to.
Misha - Agrees with Jared, it’s about the fandom. There are unique elements with a show that has gone on this long, like a lot of the audience has grown up with the show. “We’ve grown up with the show.” It’s become a big family with real emotional bonds. They refuse to go off the air.
Andrew - The cast, they bring honesty and emotion. What Jared brought to Lucifer, what Misha did with Lucifer, now Jensen with Michael. “Or Alex when he gets possessed by Rowena later in the season.” (He’s kidding!!!)
Bob - They’ve embraced the idea of character driven stories. “We don’t rush it, we tell the stories.”
There wasn't much time, but they managed to get in a few audience questions:
- After so long working, what are the life lessons you will take with you when you are done? Jared - “I started this show when I was 22, I just turned 36. There’s a big difference.” When he was young he thought that he should live like there’s no tomorrow. YOLO. The show, meeting his wife, starting a family, that changed all that. “My life has gotten better by treating it as if will be longer instead of treating it like it was short.” “I’ve learned to take things more slowly.” Jensen - Bob, who is a mentor. “Alex, I’ve even learned some things from you.” Alex - “YOLO?” Oh, and one of the things he’ll be taking is the car. “As soon as they yell ‘Cut!” there will be a dust cloud.”
- What new monsters do you want to see the show tackle? Misha - “Donald Trump.” Huge cheers from the crowd! Several were standing in approval. Bob Singer - “That’s too scary for us.”
With that, it was time for the Gag reel! My favorite - Castiel says “ball handler” while explaining Hail Mary. Jared pops up in the background “You called?” Also, Jensen grabbing Misha’s balls when he was wrapping Castiel’s body with the curtain in the first S13 episode. It was funny, but way too short!
The panel ended at that point and everyone said their goodbyes. It’s looking like we will be back here next year so mark the calendar! In the meantime, if you’ve got any questions or comments about what was shared, please do so in the comments! After all, there’s a lot of summer left until the premiere.