Today I had two major things I wanted to do, both involved the show 'Supernatural.' The first was a press interview with the stars Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles and a few of the writers and producers of the show. The second was to attend a panel with all of the above and see if anything new came out in audience questioning that we might not have thought to ask. Plans being what they are, this didn't work out the way I had hoped. While standing outside the interview room, the line for the panel was so long that security made the announcement that if you are not in line now, you will not be able to get in. I knew that everyone from the show was booked for the next hour, so I was surprised that the room capacity was hit so early. Oh well, it happens.
As I made my way into the interview room I started to get nervous. I had never done an interview before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. There were three large round tables in the room and I was seated at one with four other people. We were told that they would bring one person to each table, then in a few minutes we would switch and talk to someone new. This sounds simple enough but due to time restrictions we only had about five minutes with each person. We were also told that Jared was stuck working on the show and was not able to make it to Comic-Con. ::sigh::
WARNING: The following article may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.
First up was Eric Kripke the Executive Producer of 'Supernatural.' After a quick round of introductions we jumped right into the questions. Someone asked if they had ever considered having "reverse hunters." The idea being that Sam and Dean go around killing the forces of evil, the reverse hunters would go around killing the forces of good. While this isn't currently planned, it does open the topic of good, evil and the shades of grey in the middle. The best stories are those that revolve around the decisions that the guys have to make. They are good guys, but at times they have to do things that may not make them seem that way.
There has been a lot of concern from fans about adding two women to the regular cast this season. Eric was asked how this addition will change the show from previous years. He said that the first to be introduced will be Ruby. She is a hunter, but with a different set of morals. She is ruthless, unhinged, controlling and manipulative. There will also be a big twist involving her character in the second episode of the season. Next up will be Bella. She is a supernatural mercenary who is only in it for the money. All of the talismans, amulets and various artifacts used by hunters are worth a lot of money and she wants to use that to her advantage. She is only on one side -- Hers. These characters are being introduced to mix things up for the guys. Don't worry, there is no way they all travel in the Impala, get a talking dog and turn into the Scooby gang.
Another person asked how authentic the spells and mystical items were. Everything that is done on the show is researched. Every haunted house that is mentioned does exist. Everything Sam finds when searching the internet is a real reporting of odd events. While they can't be 100% accurate, everything that they do must be Google-worthy if an audience member looks it up.
Music is a very important part of this show. Is there any music that you would like to use but can't? We would love to use Zeppelin, but they will only sell their music to Cameron Crowe. Aerosmith would be great to have but they are too expensive.
Season 2 ended the search for the yellow-eyed demon and the release of more demons from hell. What's up next for the guys? In short...Demon War. The world is at war, but it is a secret war, People have a defense mechanism that lets them ignore things they don't want to see and this will be the case with the demon war that rages on. This gives the show a lot of flexibility to play off of current politics without being political. Demons act much like terrorists and work in small cells allowing for small quick strikes. Also. as of the end of last season, Sam no longer has his psychic powers.
Lastly, What inspires you? Classic Rock. Neil Gaiman. Hellblazer. Poltergeist. An American Werewolf in London.
Next to the table we have writer, Ben Edlund. Ben was asked what the new women will bring to the show. He is very excited about Bella. She brings in a very selfish point of view. While most hunters are basically good people, even thought they may show it in various ways. They have a cause of fighting evil. Bella has no cause that she works towards.
Someone asked Ben if he could relate to one of the guys better than the other. While he says that he doesn't identify with one over the other he believes that they make a great comedy team with Sam being the straight man. Dean gets to have a bit more fun, he plays the gags and makes the jokes. Ben finally admitted he liked writing these scenes.
Next Ben was asked if he has a favorite concept or episode. He excitedly told us that his new favorite is an episode he has just finished writing for the new season. It is the first of its kind in that there are no special effects at all. The most high-tech thing you will see is a fade out before commercials. Before this came along his favorite was the bank robbery episode from last season because it was great to bring in a previously used demon and add to their mythology.
Will we see more of the guys legal issues? Oh yeah. The boys will be chased this season, but it is a storyline that has to be dealt with carefully. If you take it too far, then they can't show their faces in public and can only chase demons in Mexico. :-)
Next up we have writer/producer Sera Gamble. We jumped right into the thick of things as someone asked if we would get to see any of the implications of Dean selling his soul. This will be a large part of season three. Deals like this are extremely difficult to get out of so the guys will not be allowed to take the easy road this time.
In the past Sam has done some questionable things as part of the fight against evil. Will we get to see him turn to the dark side? This is a huge question that the writers are playing with. The circumstances of his life are enough to change anyone, but there are plans to take it even further for him.
When asked about what her job really is she replied that "it is to take two handsome young men and torture them every week."
Sera is very excited about the new female characters. They will mix things up a bit for everyone. She is having a great time writing for them and thinks that they will win the fans over in spite of themselves.
One big question for writers is always are there stories that you want to do, but haven't been allowed to? Luckily she couldn't think of one. She did continue by saying that there were stories that couldn't be done at the time, usually because they did not fit into the current storylines, but most have been used later when they would work better.
Lastly, Sera was asked "what inspires you and what are your favorite TV shows?" Her inspirations are other people's works and song lyrics. Her favorite tv shows include American Idol, Top Chef, Top Model, House, Rescue and many of the HBO originals.
Last but not least is the star of the show, Jensen Ackles. Since this has always been a show about two brothers, he was asked how he felt of the inclusion of two new regulars. He looked a bit relieved and said that now maybe he could get some sleep. He was on the set until 2:30 last night, flew to San Diego first thing this morning and was brought directly to the convention center for several hours of panels and meeting fans. Having a couple more characters will pull some of the focus away from him and allow for a bit more time to relax. Laughingly he also added that now there is something on the set to look at other than Jared.
While he knows that the new characters are a bit of a risk, he thinks it will work. The girls are not in every episode, but they will flow in and out as required by the stories. 'Supernatural' doesn't really lend itself to recurring characters as much as a show like 'Smallville' which has a stationary location so you can see the regulars. Look at the 'X-Files,' they had a great supporting cast that was always around and from time to time became the focus of an episode.
With time running short, the last question was "How does it feel to see your face on shirts, mugs, cards and toys?" Jensen said that "It is what it is" but it was still odd seeing his face on things. On several occasions he has received phone calls from his mother asking about specific items and usually he has never even seen it. When she lets him know of new items, he goes searching to see what they look like.
At this point all of the 'Supernatural' team were ushered from the room and directly into a room full of adoring fans. This gave me time to sit for a few minutes and collect my thoughts. I had a great time meeting everyone and have a better idea of how it all works and promise to come prepared with more questions next time.