I had a fantastic time at the Supernatural panel at Paley Fest 2011, the first time the series has been recognized at this festival since it’s first season!
It was my first time at Paley Fest and I will definitely be going back next year. I was raised in fandom and I always enjoy meeting new friends and chatting with new people at the many events that I have been to throughout the years. After five hours in line, the crowd was let in one hour before the panel began.
I love the Saban Theatre. I thought it was going to be so much bigger, but even though my ticket said Orchestra Rear, I was sitting in Row F. One of the editors of TV Guide was a nice surprise, and even more exciting when she spoiled that a few of our boys won a couple Fan Favorite Awards which are to be revealed in the April 18th issue!! Stay tuned.
To begin the panel, the audience got to enjoy not only a few extended scenes from The French Mistake, the crazed for meta episode, with a few gag reels thrown in. To say that after the first ten minutes that my chest was already hurting from laughing so hard is an understatement. That’s when they decided to show us about a five minute clip of the upcoming western episode, which almost officially caused my early death.
Beware when you read the following list. Please, hold your heart in place:
- Dean in a shootout on a deserted street, with the Colt on his hip and a Sheriff badge on his vest.
- Sam and Dean coming down stairs in the clothes they will be wearing to 1861, and of course, Dean is fangirling like crazy.
- Castiel: “Is is customary to wear a blanket?”
- Dean in a cowboy hat.
- Sam in a cowboy hat.
- Sam, stepping in horse poo.
Did I mention the cowboy hats? Okay, just making sure.
The cast and three of the creators were introduced, and I’m pretty sure the small theater almost went up in flames. And can I just say that one of the great things about the fans of this series is that writers and directors like Ben Edlund, Sera Gamble and Eric Kripke are just as loved and just as cheered as Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins and Jim Beaver. Especially after an episode like The French Mistake, which was basically written for the fans.
(sidenote: Jensen and Jared were matching…again. And they admitted that they coordinate.)
The conversation immediately fell into the creation of the legendary episode The French Mistake. Although there was some concern when the episode was first being discussed in the writer’s room, Kripke couldn’t have settled it better than the following: “Are we ever going to recover from pulling that the back in that regard?…We are in the sixth season of a show that at this point, the network will let us do whatever the hell we want. None of us in our careers will be in this situation again that we’re going to be able to pull this one out, that’s why we had to do it.”
But it wasn’t just the writers that were worried about the idea at fist. Jensen and Jared both had their doubts at first when the first time in 127 episodes, they were called into the conference room to listen to the pitch. Jensen: “It was really out there, even for us, which is saying a lot.” Their concern washed away the moment they knew they wouldn’t have to worry about playing themselves. Everyone agreed that they would remain Dean and Sam.
Misha Collins obviously didn’t share the same concern since he did end up playing an alternate version of himself. When he first heard the idea, funny enough, he wanted the writer’s to make AU Misha a complete “douchebag”. Although his wishes were not fulfilled, the fans are completely happy with the Misha that was given, and so was the rest of the cast. Jensen: “You’re death scene made me laugh outloud…which is weird.”
Despite their initial concerns about the episode, Eric Kripke and Sera Gamble were ultimately not worried about it’s reception because of the strong fanbase. Kripke: “We’re aware how interested in the behind the scenes stuff the fans generally are.”
So, as we expected, yes, this episode was written and created ultimately for the fans.
The conversation turned to surprising shorelines that both actors and writers may have found unexpected. Fans know Ben Edlund as the writer an brain child of some of the most magnificent episodes of “Supernatural”, like Ghostfacers, Monster Movie, and this season’s Clap Your Hands If You Believe and The French Mistake. Even he himself is surprised when he pitches a crazy idea and it actually takes hold in the writer’s room.
All the fans are well versed in the crazy ideas and plot twists that have taken over “Supernatural” and redefined what can be possible for a fantasy or science fiction show. Even Jensen is surprised at how far they have gone: “There are no lines. I thought there was until I was standing in ski boots on a Japanese game show.” (for those unfamiliar with this reference, watch season 5 episode Changing Channels)
Only days after the meta episode aired, it was announced that Ben Edlund would direct episode 20, The Man Who Would Be King, which was also written by him. He revealed that finally, the audience would be getting a Castiel centric story. The story of the war in Heaven and the weapons of Heaven that was introduced at the beginning of this season will be shooting to the forefront. Now that Castiel has retrieved all the weapons (at the end of The French Mistake), we are all expecting a final showdown between him and Raphael.
Although there are plenty of mixed feelings from the fans about Season 6, none of us can deny that Jared Padalecki’s performance has been killer as Soulless Sam. The differences between real Sam and this new Sam we were given are so subtle, yet so apparent to such die-hard fans, that it left us ripping our hair out wondering where this story was headed. But now that Sam has has his soul back (since the end of Appointment in Samarra), the brothers are stronger than ever. Jared: “I do miss Soulless Sam. I really, really enjoyed playing Soulless Sam…I’ve not been shy about that fact that I like to play a little bit darker, a little bit disturbed…I’ve had a fun time playing with what the writer’s have been playing with. What is a soul?…I’m happy to be back. I did miss the little guy.”
Almost all the fans have enjoyed seeing Jared play Soulless Sam. However, once Like A Virgin came rolling around and the brothers were back, we all suddenly realized how much we too missed our Sam. And I can with a doubt say that we all are terrified to see where this story is headed up into the shocking season finale that was penned by Eric Kripke.
Jensen is also relieved that Dean’s “soulful carebear” is back. Jensen: “For the first half of the season it was difficult. To build a relationship with not only the actor but with a character for five years, then to have that relationship severed but then to still have to work with that person was very difficult for me as an actor. It’s a testament to what Jared was doing, and he was doing great as Soulless Sam, but he wasn’t playing the character that I’m used to working with…I was very relieved when I read that episode and he was getting his soul back. Then I could go back to playing Dean the way that I normally play Dean.”
Oh, Jensen. Don’t you love it when the boys get all soulful?
Eric Kripke was finally questioned on where the amulet has gone that we saw Dean throw away at the end of Dark Side of the Moon in season 5. As a whole, all the fans have secretly imagined that Sam still has it, somewhere, and then it will eventually make an appearance again. However, Kripke said that so far, there are no plans for it to return. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t. This series and it’s writers have a remarkable way of knowing what the fans are thinking, and if we want it bad enough, and it makes sense to the storyline, we may just see the amulet again. Especially since it is such a strong symbol of Dean and Sam’s brotherhood.
When the whole panel was asked if they would do anything differently, Misha Collins launched into a story about why he would rethink his initial decision of giving Castiel such a deep, gravely voice. I would attempt to transcript this whole story, but it is even better to watch him tell it, so make sure you watch all the videos of the panel and interviews that I will be linking at the end of this article. However, in short, I will say that what follows is one of the most hilarious stories that I have ever seen Jared, Jensen and Misha tell about his first few days on set in season 4 and their initial reactions to Misha’s slightly different personality. Jared: “He’s strange. He’s not bad because he’s not a bad actor obviously. You know, he’s really strange. So we walk passed him and he’s like, I think he’s in character. Look, look.”
When the panel was asked was there anything that they were surprised the audience latched onto, Ben Edlund launched into another story for Clap Your Hands If You Believe. “Fight the fairies!” has become a trademark of the series for fans amidst all the social networking websites. I myself will admit to painting the phrase on my back window when I went on a road trip to San Francisco for the “Supernatural” Convention in January.
After a few fan questions, the panel had to say goodbye and jump on a flight back to Vancouver to start filming the first half of the two hour season finale, which Eric Kripke informed us will have plenty of curveballs and an ending that will keep us pulling our hair out all summer waiting for Season 7…that is, whenever the CW decides to renew the series.
I have been to plenty of conventions of all sizes over the years, but the Paley Fest was a great experience as a hardcore fan of this series and an aspiring writer. It’s the first time I had the opportunity to sit in the presence of such masterful storytellers as Eric Kripke, Ben Edlund and Sera Gamble and I have to thank the Paley Center for inviting all these panelist to participate in the Paley Fest this year.
Danneel Harris picture:
Genevieve Cortese picture:
More Supernatural Paley Fest 2011 pictures:
As promised, here is a list of links to videos of the panel, the press interviews and some pictures of the panel yesterday:
Interviews with the cast and creators from Whedonopolis, Zap2it and AOL TV:
March 13, 2011 Paleyfest Pics source: http://redkryptonclark.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=jjevents&thread=3179
Written by Candace Wilson
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