Supernatural at Comic Con 2016
Comic Con always makes me nostalgic. Our roadtrip through Supernatural fandom started at Comic Con way back in Season 2, when we thought we were a little bit crazy to get in line at 4 am for the Supernatural panel. No Hall H back then – Jared, Jensen, Eric Kripke and Ben Edlund sat on the stage in Room 6CDEF, which wasn’t nearly large enough to allow the huge line of hopeful fans to get in. We were unspeakably grateful that our 4 am “craziness” put us at the front of the line and in the front row, where we happily stared wide eyed at our heroes.
Believe it or not, the same thrill rushes through me now, a decade later, when the teaser for Season 12 comes on the big screen and the whole room goes a little bit crazy. The girl next to me was shaking so hard I thought she might fly apart, exclaiming over and over ‘Ohmygod Ohmygod Ohmygod’. It’s something to witness when a room the size of Hall H erupts into screams of excitement.
This year we got Jared, Jensen, Misha, Mark, and Bob Singer and Andrew Dabb (the new showrunners). You know I’ve been nervous about this season with the departure of so many of my favorite people, but I thought Bob and Andrew did a great job. Andrew showed off a snarky sense of humor that I can appreciate, and Bob closed the panel with a heartfelt thank you to the fans. We also got surprise Samantha Smith and Ruth Connell, who were (as always) awesome.
I say this all the time, but we are the luckiest fandom. We don’t get any old moderator who may or may not really know the show or the fandom. No, we get Richard Speight, Jr. and Rob Benedict, who a) know the show and the fandom inside out and b) are effing hysterical! I mean, we get the Kings of Con themselves as our moderators, what could be better than that? At one point, Mark Sheppard said wearily, “Oh God,” and Rob immediately responded,”Yes?” There was even a return appearance by Olivette the hamster, who helped out with modding duties last year.
The panel definitely appreciated both Rich and Rob’s modding and Olivette’s sense of humor…
Jared didn’t get to wear his beanie for too long; Jensen swiftly yanked it off his head. I’m not sure if Jensen is just a really nice guy who’s trying to do us all a favor, or if he thinks Jared’s hair is as awesome as we do. Either way, yay.
You never know what’s going to happen at a Supernatural Comic Con panel. In the middle of the panel, a guy stepped up to the mic and proposed to his girlfriend – they’re big Supernatural fans and he wanted to do it “with you all here”. Now that’s an unforgettable proposal! She said yes, and the cast looked as overjoyed as the groom-to-be, clapping and cheering and generally being adorable.
Bob and Andrew talked about ‘getting back to basics’ in Season 12, with the brothers having to deal with being adult sons of a mother they barely knew – who herself is having to deal with both that and being literally stuck in the 80s for the past several decades. As always, not everyone is thrilled with this new plot twist, but I’m looking forward to it. Whenever you can use the words ‘Winchesters’ and ‘family’ in a synopsis of a new season, I’m so there.
Meanwhile, Cas is pissed as hell at Lucifer, which makes perfect sense to me. Lucifer pretty much made him look like a fool for saying yes, so if I were Cas, I’d be pissed too. He’s also back to being a badass apparently – Season 4 Cas is my favorite flavor, so if that’s where we’re headed? Once again, I’m so there.
Rowena and Crowley will apparently have their own family crisis to sort out, with son/grandson Gavin making a reappearance. This too makes me happy – Mark and Ruth are so damn good, especially when you give them some real emotional nuances to play. My favorite scene of both of them is Rowena’s almost tearful confession that she has to hate him or else she might love him, and I’m so eager for more of those complex dynamics to be explored. Ruth and Mark and Theo can all do subtle and make you feel for them, even if you know you probably shouldn’t.
As for Sam and Dean, I like the sound of Dean finding out Sam’s gone and going all “Taken” on his unfortunate captors. You don’t mess with Sammy, you fools! Not while Dean Winchester is around! And it sounds like we might have an emotional reunion to look forward to as well, since Sam thinks Dean sacrificed himself to defeat the Darkness. I want that last episode of the season and that disturbing scene of Sam in a bar while Dean walks into certain death gone from my memory. I’m staying optimistic that my Show is back on track and has plenty of thrills and chills and emotional rollercoasters waiting for me in October.
The highlight of every SDCC Supernatural panel is always the gag reel. The audience screamed at the top of our lungs through most of it, overcome by a sort of euphoria, because it was just that glorious! When we finally – FINALLY- got a glimpse of Dean cavorting in short shorts while washing Baby, I’m fairly certain half of the room spontaneously combusted.
I was in that half of the room.
Last year’s Comic Con was very emotional, as the room was lit up with tea light candles and chants of ‘Always keep fighting’. Jared writes about that experience in his chapter of our new book, and knowing what it meant to him has made that memory even more emotional for me as well. Near the end of the panel, Jared held up the Always Keep Fighting candle he still has, holding it out to the fans in a gesture of solidarity and gratitude. I might have needed a few tissues.
That’s Comic Con. A heady mix of insanity and freedom of expression and joy, mixed in with moments of seriousness that remind me of the inherent goodness of people. There were tens of thousands of people crammed into the convention center for four days straight. Lines that stretched for blocks (miles?) and continued for literally days on end. And yet, people got along. They brought each other food and drink and shared their tents and water bottles and when the wait felt endless, they talked about the things they love enough to stand in line for three days to see. If that’s not enough to make you feel just a little bit more hopeful about humanity, I don’t know what is.
I was lucky enough to attend the Star Trek panel on Saturday too, with many of the stars of the series in attendance, including honorary SPN Family member William Shatner. The discussion came back again and again to the vision that creator Gene Roddenberry had for a better world – a vision that survives in the next iteration of Star Trek. Pretty sure we need that more than ever now; it made me feel more hopeful just to revisit that vision, and to know that the people on stage and the fans in the audience embrace it. Comic Con always brings surprises like that; it makes me think in addition to letting me squee.
This was my fifth Comic Con. Three of those times, I was working – doing interviews and press, or selling books, or helping produce and film a documentary on fangirls. This time felt a lot like the first time, because I flew in just to have fun. I spent a lovely three hours by the pool, because the Hyatt is amazing.
I had a delicious breakfast at Café 222 with fangirls. Then we roamed around Entertainment Weekly’s Con X, where everything is free – including lots of silly photos and still-warm Krispy Kreme donuts.
I hung out with my friend Max in the office, helping out a little with the million and one behind the scenes things that keep Comic Con running smoothly every year. I helped my friend Liz play Pokemon Go in the hallways and marveled at the inflatable T Rex trio striding by.
I sat out on the waterfront for a blissful dinner with Winchester Family Business’ Alice and Laurena, talking SPN and watching the brightly lit pedicabs and boats cruise by.
And I spent a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon with Robbie Thompson, whose departure as a writer for Supernatural threw me into a bit of a depression this summer. Okay, more than just a bit. We talked SPN, but we also talked life and humanity and fandom in general, and I remembered that while I will forever miss the way he writes Sam and Dean, I will always enjoy his friendship and have more of those conversations to look forward to. He’s still a fan of the show, and always will be, so we’ll always have that in common too. Love ya, Robbie. And thank you for the awesome SPN bag!
I had to fly out right after the Supernatural panel, so no adventures in the WB autograph booth or Nerd HQ shenanigans this year, but I feel lucky to have experienced both in the past and was content to let others take those spots this year.
Here’s to Season 12!
Thanks to @MamaPrior for the watermarking
Check out our books ‘Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls’
and ‘Fan Phenomena Supernatural’ at the links on