To say that the final ‘Supernatural’ panel in Hall H was emotional would be a serious understatement. ‘Supernatural’ fans, myself included, alternated between trying to stay in denial about the upcoming ending and getting unexpectedly overcome with feelings at other panels for soon-to-be-ending shows. By the time Sunday morning came around, most of us had packed extra tissues as we filed into the giant Hall H.
We waited for the panel with mixed emotions, staring at the familiar name placards that have been there every year at Comic-Con. I still remember the very first panel we were at, in the much smaller 6BCD room.
Excitement ran high as it always does. Fans who sacrificed sleep to wait in line and get their Hall H admission wristbands were nevertheless filled with energy as soon as those doors opened. Several cast members had come through the lines like they always do, including Misha Collins, Rachel Miner, Alaina Huffman, and Osric Chau. Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles stood out on the landing to greet the fans before the panel. Coffeed up or not, everyone was wide awake as they filed in and hurried toward the front to get the best seat possible.
WB gave out special edition Impala models, which are awesome. (In the press room that afternoon, Jared was wishing he had one too). As we settled in to wait, I chatted with some ‘Supernatural’ crew and with Osric Chau, one of my favorite people in the universe. I love that he was as excited as we all were!
It was a good thing that the woman next to me brought an entire BOX of tissues because just the very start of the panel made me tear up. Warner Bros publicity person Holly Ollis, who has kicked off every ‘Supernatural’ panel I’ve been at since way back in 2007, took the mic to talk about how special this little show and this incredible fandom have been. Her voice broke for the first time and I had to choke back tears. I didn’t even get through her intro, folks!
Holly has been a champion of this show from the start and it’s been a long and winding journey, with lots of ups and downs for the show — and for me. I’ve written thousands of articles and episode reviews with Movie TV Tech Geeks, and published 6 books on ‘Supernatural.’ Knowing this was the last time I would sit here and listen to her introduction, after 12 years here at Comic-Con…it was a lot. It’s been a lot to be privileged to experience, and it will be a lot to give up.
Whether you’ve been on this wild ride from the very first ‘Supernatural’ appearance prior to its airing in 2005 (as were several fans I spoke to) or you discovered the show in Season 14 and binged to catch up, every fan has their own shared story with ‘Supernatural’. Everyone has a reason why the show is special, their own history with Sam and Dean and Cas and company. We each know what the show and the cast and the fandom have done for us. And as we start the journey through the “last year”, that makes it an emotional journey indeed.
The panel kicked off, as it usually does, with a filmed compilation. I’ll never forget the epic year that WB installed surround screens ALL OVER Hall H and it was Sam and Dean in the Impala racing around them, followed by Kansas performing Carry On Wayward Son LIVE.
But this compilation was also special – because it was a look back at the ENTIRE series. And it began with this sign.
And yes, it made me cry.
The montage then began with those iconic scenes from the pilot, “We got work to do” and then took us on a wild ride through the seasons, each one introduced with its number. FOURTEEN seasons, countless special moments flashed before our eyes, a visceral reminder of how incredible this show and its cast and crew have been.
The audience cheered our favorite scenes and our favorite characters, and if we were filled with emotion before, it was overflowing now.
And the video ended with this:
Which made me cry even more.
And then the last Hall H panel began – moderated by the only two people who could possibly do it justice: Richard Speight Jr. and Rob Benedict. I feel like we are the luckiest fandom ever to have two actors from the show, who play iconic characters, and who happen to be super talented at improv and at emceeing panels (which they do constantly at ‘Supernatural’ conventions). They came out wearing trench coats, then quipped, “We’re cosplaying…. Sam and Dean in the rain…”
They got us to laugh so we could temporarily put down the tissues.
Rich and Rob were also emotional though – not only have they been on the show since its early seasons, but it has changed their lives in countless ways. Rob and Louden Swain have their own passionate fan base. Rich is now an accomplished director who’s directing three episodes in Season 15. It was so much more meaningful having them anchoring the panel; they’re part of the family. They get it.
Rob and Rich introduced the panel – showrunners Bob Singer and Andrew Dabb, writers and exec producers Eugenie Ross-Leming, Brad Buckner and Robert Berens, and Alex Calvert, Misha Collins, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. The actors were all clearly moved as they took the stage, trying to take it all in and remember this unique experience of being applauded by a room full of 7,000 some people. Jared and Jensen stood side by side and paused for a few photos, physically anchoring each other through all the emotion.
Misha sat down and just smiled, looking out over the crowd. Alex was clearly trying to take it all in.
Rich and Rob kicked off the panel by asking the first question – where are your heads at? You grew up with the show, and now it comes to an end, how are you feeling about it all? What’s your grand take away from this?
Jared: That’s so mean to start with, I’m trying not to cry, can we all just start crying?
Most of us: We’re way ahead of you!
Jensen said that what he’s gotten from the show are lifelong friends, experiences of a lifetime, and this (gestures to crowd).
He paused, looking out at the sea of adoring fans.
Jensen: It’s hard to put into words.
Misha: The year before I got on the show, I had written myself a note on a notecard, my goal for the upcoming year, which was to get on a show, to be a series regular, a show that is creatively fulfilling, and that I become lifelong friends with my cast mates, and I have found this has come to pass… I could never have dreamed that along with that would have come this incredible fandom and this iconic legacy of a show.
Misha was visibly emotional, and so were Jared and Jensen.
The panel was equal parts laughing and serious, with everyone trying to comment on the ending and the last season without giving anything away. Andrew Dabb joked that he figured about 30% of fans would love the ending, which brought a groan from the audience (yes he was kidding….we hope..)
Rich and Rob asked Bob Singer to explain this lightning in a bottle phenomenon that ‘Supernatural’ has been. Bob said, “It started with Jared and Jensen, right from the jump. They carry us through. Eric created these two characters, and he built us that foundation of those two characters.”
Me to the well-prepared lady next to me: Can I have that box of tissues back?
Alex was asked about his journey, Jack’s journey. He commented that he was just excited to be a part of something so special.
At a later point, there was (at first) a confusing video about the Impala narrated by Jim Beaver and highlighting a reconstruction of an Impala. As it turned out, they were about to give away this re-built Impala to a fan! She looked as overwhelmed as you could imagine to find she was driving home in a Baby replica!
They also took a few questions from the fans. The last question was directed toward Misha, asking him about his future plans. He responded, “I hope in the future this fandom continues to function as a family and I hope you continue to be a force for good and for companionship, and I think it’s a family that is not gonna go away. We all love you guys very much.”
Rich and Rob then asked the final questions, the final EVER questions in Hall H with this cast. They asked, “When all is said and done and you look back on the last 15 years, what is the legacy you are most proud of?”
Jared answered first, as all of them tried to compose themselves: The relationships I’ve been able to build. I met a couple of my best friends. I also met this girl named Genevieve…
The audience laughed and then he went on.
Jared: Jensen and I, we talked about this for 2-3 hours last night… for me the legacy is gonna be, I feel like I’m really lucky because my friendships won’t go away, and Sam Winchester won’t go away, he’ll be part of me forever.
Jensen took a minute to compose himself before answering.
Jensen: Looking back, I’m just really proud, of the work that this team has done. To do a show is not easy, to make television is not easy, to get to those 42 minutes that you see is 8 days of work, there’s a lot that goes in and a lot of very talented people, and I’m really proud of that product… to truly love what we do, and to still be proud of what we do and hang my hat on it, that’s what I’m gonna take away, that’s one of the legacies that I’m proud of, knowing that I put in the effort, that we all did, and I’m thankful you guys appreciate that.
Then came the absolute final comments, the ones that broke all of us: Rich and Rob asked the cast to look back over the many seasons and to talk about what this show and this experience has meant to them.
Misha got emotional first, and Jensen reached out to comfort him, then Jared reached right around Jensen to comfort Misha too. Misha said something about making lifelong friendships and I thought, yes. Us and them. Then he said, “We were all backstage promising each other that we weren’t gonna cry… just love you guys… thank you.”
Jensen: Thanks for showin up, ya know, ‘cause without you, we wouldn’t be here, and it’s an amazing thing to see this many faces who appreciate what we do…
As Jensen tried to express how much this has meant to him, he too became choked up. Jared was watching him closely, and had to sit back for a minute as he started to sob enough to need to wipe his eyes, partially protected from the eyes of 7000 people as he hid behind Jensen. He re-emerged to rub Jensen’s back to give him some support and the two did the slapping each other in reassurance thing they often do to let the other know they’re with them. It was so touching, all three of them comforting each other, and so much what this cast is all about and what makes them special, that I really lost it then.
Jensen pulled himself together and said, “We love you guys very much, thank you.”
Jared, wiping away the tears streaming down his cheeks, and choking them back with all of his strength, added a few more words.
Jared: I’m the luckiest man on the planet, my cup floweth over, thank you guys very much, I’m gonna miss you.
The cast paused as they were leaving, Jensen taking a few last photos and the four of them posing one last time on the Hall H stage.
I walked out a strange mix of euphoric and sad, but mostly feeling so very lucky to have been here and to have been part of this wild wild ride. And, of course, it’s not over yet!
After the Comic-Con panel, the cast did a signing session at the WB booth. As you can see, the crowd was massive – and enthusiastic! And the cast, as always, were unfailingly gracious.
That may have been ‘Supernatural’s’ last Hall H panel, but the Show has a whole ‘nother season for us to look forward to. Season 15 here we come!