“You people are devoted, and dirty, and we love you!” — Richard Speight Jr., JaxCon 2017 intro
“This fandom, fans, there’s nothing like you. You are a small change in the world. You get behind us, you back us up.” — Mark Sheppard, JaxCon 2017.
DAWN: I love sleep. So much. It’s probably my favorite hobby and I have long been trying to figure out how to get someone to pay me to sleep. Now, you may be asking, “Hey, lady, wtf does sleep have to do with JaxCon? Shut up and talk about the boys already.” Well, let me quickly answer that–Over the JaxCon weekend, I probably got 12, maybe 14ish hours of sleep. And I was having so much damn fun that I literally thought, “Whatever. I’ll sleep when I’m dead*.”
*”Dead” does not include all the times we died and went to fangirl heaven. Which were many, at JaxCon.
JAY: I had a lot of expectations going into this con, I love conventions and have spanned the USA, from east to west coast and a few places in between, attending cons of all different topics and genres. Cons are kinda my hobby. I have to say nothing I expected even came close to how much I enjoyed the Panels. Of all the conventions I’ve attended, of all the functions put on at these varied cons, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed anything as much as I enjoyed listening to the actors of Supernatural speak.
Let’s get Dawn’s obvious bias but still very true observation out of the way first — Richard Speight, Jr. is an amazing emcee and a gift** to Supernatural conventions and the fandom. Also, Rob Benedict and Louden Swain are the perfect accompaniment to said emcee and also every single panel. We may never be able to get Rob singing “Mr. Crowley” out of our heads, and we are totally fine with that. (Dear Louden Swain: Please do a cover album of all the SPN panel intros. Everyone will buy it, we promise. Love, us)
**Jay would like it noted that since we’ve only experienced a con emceed by Rob and Rich, we really can’t comment on his/their skill versus, say, Kim and Bri, but since we usually let Dawn gush about Rich, we are going to allow it here too.
SPN cons are a whirlwind. You run from panel to photo-op to panel to autographs to random guitar sessions someone just tweeted about to cramming food down your throat and trying desperately to remember to hydrate, and then suddenly it’s time for dinner and a quick shower and getting ready for the nighttime events on Friday and Saturday. There’s also meeting people, making friends, shopping, and, like any fun ride, a lot of waiting on lines. Then you get up in the morning and do it all over again, for anywhere from two days to four, depending on how early you got there and how much you decided to do.
And then you get home and finally break out of, what the fans have dubbed “the post-con depression,” you have to figure out how the hell to organize it all so you can post an article about it all. Thank Chuck we live-tweeted this con so that we have things to jog our memory. We’ve thought about how to do this report and decided to take it in two parts, person-by-person, with two bonuses for karaoke and the Saturday Night Special concert.
Here’s the thing about this fandom and this show, for those who might be unfamiliar. It’s called the SPNFamily for good reason, and one of the strongest reasons behind it is how much the actors themselves make themselves part of that family. Being part of the SPN Family was a tremendous part of the weekend and was mentioned in almost every panel, by almost every actor, and always in a positive, smiling, heartfelt way. They say they love being part of this family and we believe them, because they back it up, from campaigns like Always Keep Fighting and You are Not Alone to every amazing story about meeting the actors at cons or by accident, and how welcoming and genuine those meetings were every time.
JAY: This convention took place during the Women’s March, which was a global event, a global movement, to draw attention to women’s rights. I for one, was shocked and pleased to see how much the social and political climate affects the actors on this show and how much they spoke, eloquently, and most importantly positively about the movement and our role in it as fans. There was not one panel, not one moment, where the actors were on stage where they didn’t talk of solidarity, of coming together and being united, of how proud they were of what this fandom has done and will continue to do. I wasn’t expecting it.
DAWN: I would also like to throw-in special shout-outs to Misha Collins, Rob Benedict, and my boyfriend Richard Speight, Jr. for their tweet streams about the women’s marches. All three of them kept the tweets coming fast and strong Saturday. I thought I couldn’t love them more. I was wrong.
Jared and Jensen
We know what you want, it’s the boys first even though they were, in fact, one of the last things at the con. Sunday was their day, starting with the gold-only panel, which sadly we were not able to attend. We were at the normal panel, though, and it was a Chuck-damn delight.
Jared opened the panel by saying, “Who’s a first-timer? Welcome to the family.” And then it was question and answer time, and terrific stories. We learned the the one time Jensen came on set with his hair styled to the right Jared was so confused about what had changed and why Jensen looked ‘weird’ that now he can only ‘dress left’, as they say. The infamous “Pudding!” line from 5 x 11 was originally supposed to have been Sam’s, but when the boys saw the script, they decided it was ‘a Dean line’ and changed it. All those “Wanted” posters on the set? Names and pictures of real crew members. Jared confirmed Misha’s story about the time a pre-dad Jared fed Misha’s son sugar packets, then assured the audience that karma was paying him back because “according to my text messages, I currently have two demons at home.” Yes, Gen was texting him about their kids, and his face lights up with the most adorable smile every single time her name is mentioned, and his face, let us just tell you, the adorableness is fatal. In fact, when someone asked How the show has impacted his life on a personal level, he answered simply, “Well, I married Ruby.” The audience as a whole applauded and cheered. We love LOVE, people. What can I say? And Jared agrees:
“Now more than ever, it’s important to spread love and acceptance.”
Jared talks a lot more than Jensen, but Jensen got a few great things in, including something he’d like his kids to learn:
“Respect for others. It’s something I pride myself on.”
“My procrastination skills are amazing! But I don’t want my kids to learn that from me.”
It was our first experience with the pomp and circumstance that comes with the J2 panels ‘Final Question’. Rob Benedict comes back on stage to join Jensen in singing a short rift as Jared escorts the lucky fan on stage to ask… The Final Question.
Dawn: But IMO, Jensen’s shining moment came when a fan was brought on stage with them to ask the final question, and as Jared just chatted away busily, Jensen leaned right in, gave her a wink., and stole her attention utterly. It. Was. Hysterical.
Jay: I was completely enthralled at how Jared made it a point to ensure he maintained contact with the fan, keeping his hand on her shoulder. It was obvious that his goal was to ensure she felt safe and comfortable in, what could be, a very stressful situation. I was utterly impressed with the concern, care, compassion, and attention Jared showed in that moment and really, in every moment he has with the fans.
Misha was a hard-working angel this weekend, and we mean that both literally and figuratively. He took part in two different solo photo-ops, a couple group ops, did his panel, hosted the Saturday Night Special concert and livestream to help fund a school in Nicaragua (via his charity, Random Acts), and got up crazy early on Saturday so that he could attend the Jacksonville’s Women’s March.
Fight on! pic.twitter.com/ZfligpySqk
— Misha Collins (@mishacollins) January 21, 2017
The man plays an angel. We are pretty sure he is one.
His panel began with him literally climbing Richard Speight Jr. and hanging on with just his legs–props to Richard barely even stumbling in his intro with a Misha attached to his waist.
Like J2, Misha began taking questions right away. The upcoming Castiel-centric eps made him feel very “Columbo-esque,” and we kinda wondered how many people in the audience understood that reference. He assured us that while pranks on set did happen, it’s scaled back a bit since “it’s like an escalation situation, where it’s just going to get worse and worse and worse and eventually someone will die.” So instead he shared the glorious sugar packets story:
“My son [West] was the first kid among the cast and we were in Rome at a convention and we were out to dinner, and Jared took young West aside–he was about two–and introduced him, in secret, to sugar. Now keep in mind that West was a little bit sick at that point from the traveling, and was just, like, deathly jetlagged; he was waking up for the day around midnight and we were just a mess. We are at dinner and [Jared is] feeding him packets of sugar. And West was like,’Oooh this is amazing’– and there is sugar everywhere–’I can’t believe my parents kept this from me for so long!’ And you can see his neural networks completely rewiring on the spot, he was changing, and he, he lost his fucking mind, and jared…just celebrated his tyranny. And he [West] was a complete and utter nightmare for the next two days, it really had ramifications. And from that point on whenever we go out to a restaurant West would go into the sugar boat and sneak out the little sugar packets and fill his face with sugar.”
Later at the J2 panel we talked about above, Jared admitted he really had no idea what he was doing to West, how Misha and Vicki hadn’t let West have sugar yet, and, now that he is the father of young children himself, realized what he had done and apologized to Misha. Jared also went on to say that Misha has rights for retribution but hasn’t taken any yet. Misha, though, admitted that he has considered putting Jared’s car into a dumpster.
It’s stories like these, the moments of true camaraderie that really connect the fans to the actors. It allows the fandom to relate to them as people and not just the stars of their favorite TV show. The willingness of these men and women to share so unabashedly parts of their personal lives, parts of their families, is why we–and they–call this fandom a force and a family.
A fan asked him what he hoped his kids would learn from him, and he complained about being so reliant on technology, specifically his phone. Then, the most wonderful thing happened–his phone rang. It was his mother-in-law. We all yelled for him to call her back, but alas! She didn’t answer prompting Misha to say:
“Aw, that was going to be really weird, too.”
Then his phone rings again. He answers and puts her on speaker. His mother in law thinks his call is a mistake, he says she called him, she responds “I didn’t call you,” hears the audience, and adds “Why is everybody laughing?” Everyone is now cackling with glee. “What’s going on? Is this a joke?” Misha explains that he is on stage at that very moment, and that she must have “butt face-timed [him].” She claims she did not; her phone was on the table and not even in her pocket; this caused several fans to scream out, “Get the salt!” They chat for a moment longer, and he says “It’s good to hear your voice, and I can’t believe you lied about calling me.” Her response, “You need to go out and give your audience a big kiss.” So, basically, we love his mother-in-law forever. It was an absolutely endearing and amazing moment for everyone in the audience.
Also, Misha loves this fandom. Loves it. He said so:
“It’s not about me; it’s about this community…This SPN fandom, which is like the weirdest possible thing to coalesce around, this fandom is proving that when people take care of each other, they improve. This group is the most powerful fandom out there, and it’s largely because it is deeply infused with compassion and kindness and people taking care of each other. So it’s you guys who are really serving us. It’s a two-way street and I am deeply grateful to you guys.”
Genre legend Mark Sheppard is possibly our very favorite panel person, anywhere, anytime. He is the sweetest mean guy ever, by which we mean he always teases the fans and acts the curmudgeon, but he is also the first to calm a nervous fan and he has never met a baby he didn’t love. And he knows it, too:
“This is the coolest job in the world I get to listen to you, make fun of you. This is a wonderful job and I love it.”
Mark always wanders the room during his panels, giving everyone a chance for an up-close look and interaction with the King of Hell. But he will bust chops if you show up late, such as following you to your seat or standing in your way in the isle as you try to sneak by. Also his very favorite thing to make fun of is Misha Collins:
“Misha Collins went to ACTING SCHOOL? Lying bastard!”
That gets extended to include anyone wearing Castiel cosplay or any Cas- or Misha-related t-shirt. It’s adorable, all in good fun, and some fans do it on purpose just to get “Crowley’d.” (We have no idea if that word is an actual fandom thing, but we overheard someone say it, and it seems like it should be. Let’s get on that, SPN Family.)
FAN: You’re kinda my favorite.
MARK: Oh, then I’m going to come mess with you.
Mark loves genre work and he is happy to talk about all the shows he has been on, like how he told the Doctor Who people to just call his dad rather than put him through “aging” makeup sessions when he appeared in the episodes “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of the Moon.” Also, he still loves Firefly. And Leverage. The X-Files. Seriously, if you don’t know how this guy is, just turn in your geek card.
“The thing about genre acting is that the stories are better. The world’s are deeper there more to explore.”
He thinks the King of Hell is misunderstood, at least a little bit:
“I’m a nice person but I play a mean person on TV. Really I play a very frustrated person.”
One of his all time favorite things is Crowley calling Sam and Dean:
“Moose and Not-Moose, which is hysterical, funniest thing I’ve ever seen…calling them Moose and Squirrel which kinda makes me Boris… which makes Misha Collins Natasha, which is great.”
When asked about on-set pranks, he assured us all that he is an adult and would not take part in such things. Except maybe for one reason…
“When I die on the show, I will destroy Jared Padalecki’s trailer.”
That quote alone really surmises exactly how Mark Sheppard is during his panels. Honest, to the point, a little gruff, occasionally difficult, but always there for the fans.
DAWN: He is a gift. We will not hear otherwise.
JAY: I really loved how he was the only actor to get off the stage and walk around the entire hall. It didn’t matter what seat you paid for because he came around to see every person.
A fan favorite and definitely one of our favorites was seeing Jim Beaver, who played the beloved and very missed Bobby Singer. Jim isn’t always at the cons, and more than one fan admitted that he was the reason they bought their passes. It was certainly the reason Dawn wanted to go–Jim is the reason she started watching Supernatural in the first place, because Dawn is a diehard Deadwood fan. (Which she told Jim, who responded with, “Me too” and a glorious hug and a kiss on top of the head.)
Jim clearly misses playing Bobby, and he is a little cranky that it doesn’t look like they are going to be able to fit him into S12–he has a thing about wanting to be in every season. But he assured us–“There’s no way they are done with Bobby” And there was much rejoicing.
And then there was much screaming when a fan asked what Bobby would say to Mary if he saw her again:
“I think he’d say, ‘Hi, babe. Long time. How’s our boy?’”
DAWN: My shriek was probably heard all the way to Miami. Just sayin’.
JAY: *Dramatic eye roll* –mumbles fan theories–
We are proud to say that Dawn was able to recover enough to actually ask her hero the question of: Which author he would like people to read more of? He responded Thomas Wolfe, and we wondered how much Wolfe moved up in the Amazon listings immediately following the con. Other favorite Jim quotes:
“When I get to go back to the Supernatural set, it’s like going back to a family reunion, where I like everybody.”
“Sometimes you kill demons. Sometimes you kiss the King of Hell.”
“My favorite bad guy that i took out was the Trickster. Even if he is super annoying in real life.”
“What would I rename vampires? Toothy fang bunnies.” (He’d like that to appear on a t-shirt, by the way)
When he talked about Bobby’s death on the show, he got a little choked up and basically we were utterly– we’re not crying, you’re crying! But then he had us in stitches again when he said:
“Of course, I was trying to die with Jared twisting my toes at the end of the hospital bed so, it’s hard to go all method.”
Also that time he said “Balls!” on Justified? That wasn’t scripted. “That was for you guys.”
Friday night is the free (as in, you don’t even need a con ticket) karaoke party, hosted by Rich and Matt. It gets a theme every year, and this year it’s the Circus, Fandom Fun House. Check it out:
Matt’s costume was, uh, snug. He was christened Moose Knuckle for the rest of the weekend. By Houston Con, he’d changed costumes. That was probably wise, but man, it made for terrific comedy. Fans were encouraged to sign up for karaoke and participants were chosen at random. Lucky karaoke singers did get to run a high-five gauntlet, and one brave and talented male friend did Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and utterly nailed it. Even the actors got involved singing their favorites for the crowd.
Karaoke ended with an amazing crowd-wide singalong of “Carry on My Wayward Son,” with Rich, Matt, and guest stars Alaina Huffman (as the Bearded Lady), Julian Richings, Rob Benedict, and Gabriel Tigerman wandering the front with their microphones and encouraging it all. It was glorious–hitting the karaoke party is well worth doing if you can’t get to the con itself.
JAY: This Karaoke party may have been one of the highlights of the con for me (aside from the panels). It was so wonderful seeing the fans and stars interacting like old friends, everyone came together and supported one another. The fans dressed up for the Fandom Fun House, Circus theme in extravagant ways.
DAWN: Agreed. While I was a little sad to not get picked at first, I quickly realized IDGAF because I was having such a fun time singing with everyone.
Part 2 coming soon…We are working hard on it for you.