I’m still a little gobsmacked and twitterpated! I was picked to ask "The Last Question" for the Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles (J2) Main Panel of Supernatural Atlanta 2023 convention! Nightsky asked me to share the experience since getting on stage with the boys is truly an honor in the Supernatural Family, so here we go!
My friend and I put our names in the drawing to ask Jared and Jensen questions on the first day (Thursday) of the convention. We did it on a lark, never thinking we’d get picked. I had a solo photo op with Jensen, and my friend and I shared an op with Jared and Jensen. (I don’t know what cologne they wear, but they both smell really good and the shirt/scarf Jared was wearing was very soft.)
By the time we got to the Sunday J2 Main Panel, I had forgotten we had submitted our names—until the convention organizers posted the list of who had won their lottery and was chosen to line up at the audience microphones to ask a question. My friend and I had both been picked!
There are two question lines, one on stage left and the other on stage right. My friend and I were chosen for lines on opposite sides of the room. I was excited just to get that far. I didn’t think I’d actually get to ask my question.
I had a question I’ve wanted to ask for a while. Dean died in New Haven, Indiana in the Supernatural episode "No Rest for the Wicked" (3.16), but in the next episode, "Lazarus Rising" (4.01) , he crawls out of his grave in Pontiac, Illinois. My question was, "Why did Sam drive four hours to bury Dean? What was so special about Pontiac, Il?"
I was #10 in line on my side, and there were an equal number of question-askers on the other side. The boys alternated sides, giving each question the time it deserved. We were running out of time, and I figured that I would get to the front of the line just to get cut off before I had my chance.
I didn’t quite believe my ears when Jensen announced that it was time for The Last Question—and they were looking at me!
In my day job, I’m a bestselling author. I’ve met a lot of celebrities. I’ve been a panelist at New York Comic Con and DragonCon in front of hundreds of people. Going on stage or speaking in front of a crowd doesn’t faze me. But being escorted onstage by Jared to sit right between him and Jensen was definitely a big thrill, and getting to have both of the boys’ attention for longer than a photo op was super exciting.
Jared came down off stage to escort me up the steps and get me to the chair that was ready for me center stage. He was right behind me with a steadying hand on my shoulder. His hand was very warm, and he stood very close. I had the question written out on my phone to show the handler back in the line, and to make sure I asked it clearly.
Just then, my phone pinged. Jared looked at my screen and said to the audience “Gail just got a text saying that she’s The Last Question!” (My friend had texted our little group to let them know.)
I’ll admit to being totally starstruck, even though I’d hugged both of them earlier in the weekend, because they have that effect on people. I looked up at them instead of at the audience because I wanted to see their eyes. The photo ops had gone by too quickly to notice their eyes. So that’s why in the video I’m trying to make eye contact with both of them. (Yes, Jensen’s eyes are really that green and Jared’s are a very pretty hazel.)
I wanted to try to be fully in the moment, despite the excitement, because I wanted to remember how it felt. I didn’t want to have it all go by in a blur and not have really been present. I was glad I had my question written out so I didn’t worry about saying it right. I was feeling excitement, gratitude, and a lot of ‘pinch me, this can’t be really happening’. One thing I remember is that they were both very attentive. They weren’t rushing and they weren’t in a hurry to wrap up, and it didn’t seem like they were just going through the motions. For those few moments, they made me feel like the focus of their attention—pretty powerful stuff!
I asked the question, and Jensen’s first response was to joke, “Well, that’s where I rose. I had a plot.”
Jared’s answer was was along the lines of, “When you’ve got a body, you want to get out of the ZIP code and away from law enforcement as fast as you can.”
Then Jensen admitted it was a good question, and one they hadn’t had before. Jensen said that the writers didn’t put explanations in the scripts, so they didn’t know where details like that came from. “It could be that someone’s first girlfriend lived in Pontiac,” Jensen said. (I am now resolved to tweet this to Kripke, since he wrote that episode.)
At that point, Michael Rosenbaum showed up and started joking around off stage. I wasn’t sure what to do. Jared’s hand stayed steady and firm on my shoulder and he stepped a little closer, a signal to stay put during the unexpected appearance. Maybe it was my imagination, but I thought Jensen moved closer to me and slightly between me and Rosenbaum—it was a very ‘protective Dean’ thing to do!
After that, the band played The Last Question song, and Jared escorted me off stage. He held my hand while I went down the stairs! I might not have gotten a complete answer to my trivia question, but I definitely had an experience I’ll never forget!
If you'd like to see this adventure into fandom, here it is as recorded by Gayle (posted on YouTube)!
Have any unusual convention stories? I'd love to hear them below in the comments!
Read More first hand accounts of Supernatural conventions from fans in the audience, to being on stage, to behind the scenes in press rooms! Find them all in "WFB's Con Reports"!
Read Gail's Supernatural Fan Fiction, Walker Reviews and Supernatural countdown articles, all on her Writer's Page!
Pictures Published with permission from Melissa Fudge Photography.