Comic-Con: DAY 4 Coverage
Well, the 2009 Comic-Con marathon has come to an end. Sundays at Comic-Con tend to feel like a blissful hangover after a three-day non-stop party. You’re not entirely sure of what just transpired, but you loved it, and have it in you for just a little bit more. And our four-day coverage ends with transcripts and pictures from two fantastic and much-anticipated panels: Dr. Who, the longest running sci-fi show in the history of television, and Supernatural. We also have our final ScriptPhD.com Costume of the Day. Come back to ScriptPhD.com on Wednesday, when we post all the inside scoop and behind-the-scenes action at our press rooms. We will conglomerate our four days of coverage, pictures, interviews and impressions into one post to make it easy for you to get all your Comic-Con goodness in one place. Click “continue reading” for our final installment.
Moderator: Robert Lloyd (Los Angeles Times)
Panelists: David Tennant (The Doctor), Russel T. Davies (writer/executive producer), Euros Lyn (director) and Julie Gardner (executive producer)
The Dr. Who panel didn’t feel so much like a convention gathering as a rock show. A deliciously raucous, dedicated group of fans were ready to get the party started even before the cast and production talent stepped on the stage. A brief introductory clip of Dr. Who evinced pandemonium from the crowd. The ScriptPhD overheard backstage that the Comic-Con organizers have been trying to get David Tennant and the Dr. Who masterminds to do a panel for a long time, to no avail. So you can imagine the decibel level of Ballroom 6 at this moment:
Robert Lloyd: Good morning class. Welcome to Dr. Who 101. My name is Robert Lloyd, I’m a TV writer for the LA times, a little town about 3 hours from here. In 2005, BBC Wales brought back to life a little sci-fi show called Dr. Who that had been missing from the screen for 15 years. It’s still the same show, but it’s also a different show. It’s bigger and better. It’s rooted in mythos and values of original, but way beyond what a Saturday night kids’ show should be. It’s a show about love and loneliness and beauty and terror in a universe that can mess with your mind. I really love the show’s ambition, its bravery, its willingess to push the edge of outlandishness and absurdity. Mostly because behind all of the craziness and swashbuckling and technobabble is real a poetry and vision about the world and people in it. It’s also a show that can make me cry. This is a summing up in a way. This team has finished its work, but there’s four more hours of the Tenth Doctor yet to come and you’ll be seeing some of that this morning. We’ll start with clip from “Planet of the Dead”, which will premiere tonight on BBC America.
[Welcome and introduction of Dr. Who cast and producers to wild applause and cheers]
Robert Lloyd: There has been lots of speculation that all these people are gathered here to hear about a movie. Can we just address this and get it over with so we don’t hear about it the rest of the morning?
Julie Gardner: Thank you all for coming. I’ll start with the bad news. We aren’t making announcements about a Dr. Who movie. I don’t know where the rumor started. But since we’ve talked about it, we were thinking maybe it would be a good idea to do at some point. Is this something that you want? [wild cheers] So no announcement about a movie, but we have a teaser trailer of David’s last tenure as the tenth doctor.
Julie Gardner: What do you think of all this David?
David Tennant: We should see [the clip] again! This is awesome but quick. It’s so much to take in, right? Roll the tape!
[repeat of tape]
Robert Lloyd: Obviously this is an apathetic crowd. Give us a sense of the immensity of the cultural impact of Dr. Who in the UK and what it meant to you, haivng grown up in the Dr. Who world. Because here in America, it’s something for cable, but in the UK it’s a Saturday television event.
David Tennant: And it was when we were kids as well. I grew up obsessed with it really, so it’s strange to be sitting here at 38 and in it. But it’s definitely part of my recent memory in Britain.
Russel T. Davies: Loved it all my life and I’ve thought about it all my life. And now someone has taken it and made it into a TV show. Because really in Britain, that’s what it is: it’s this phenomenon that wherevery you go, there’s t-shirts and backpacks and people are talking about it. My dad is old and blind and he sits there all day listening to the radio reports, and he counts at least three Dr. Who references in any show. It’s mad, I can’t get my head around it.
David Tennant: It’s overwhelming to walk into a supermarket and your face is on a cake and t-shirts and children’s pants, which isn’t something they prepare you for in drama school. It’s overwhelming, and difficult to get an objective, that’s why it’s great to come here to gauge the fans’ response. We love making it.
Russel T. Davies: And that’s what we want here as well, everything in the US: the t-shirts, the lunchboxes, the cakes. Go out and spread the word. Tell peple about the show.
Robert Lloyd: Euros, were you a fan of the show as well?
Euros Lyn: A huge fan. And watching the show as well in Whales, which is this little quiet corner of UK, I little imagined that this could happen.
Julie Gardner: I didn’t watch as child, but when I took over, Russel Davies gave me a homework list, to watch his favorite titles. And I think my favorite had to be City of Death, a Tom Baker story. I loved it. I thought “Wow there’s so much we can do with this, so much emotion, it’s mad, we can really do so much with it.”
Robert Lloyd: Do you see the current show as fulfillment of the original concept, or a left turn?
David Tennant: No it’s the same show, the story continues. I’m the same man as William Hartnell, I’m just wearing a different wig.
Robert Lloyd: David, do you try to incorporate the other doctors in your peeformance?
David Tennant: Not really, but they’re all immersed in the show, there’s bits of all of them in there somewhere, yet you make the role new and of yourself, because that’s how works. It’s not like James Bond or Sherlock Holmes or other characters reborn in the same mold. We want to break the mold a bit, make him a new man, which is why I went with a different wig than William.
Robert Lloyd: There’s an amazing amount of material and tones and ideas, somtimes from episode to episode, it seems the visual plan changes. Euros, you directed two consecutive episodes at the beginning, and they go from 5 billion years in the future to Victorian England. Can you address that time jump?
Euros Lyn: From a tonal point of view, we set out to give different stories different looks for different worlds, and it all stems from the script, our guiding light. Taking stories in different directions into the future and the past demands a difference. Yet the adventures, the humor and the excitement go into all. There’s a universality and a huge difference at the same time.
Robert Lloyd: Julie, talk about making a show that looks that good on such a tiny budget.
Julie Gardner: We go over budget.
David Tennant: But not irresponsibly.
Julie Gardner: Russell has great writers, and comes out in the beginning to plan everything. Part of that is practical and creative. We make hard choices about special effects, stunts, and we balance it. Out of 13 eps, you may notice a smaller episode, which helps pay for the Christmas special. So we do little tricky things, we double bank two units running at the same time. We call in favors and a lot of love.
Robert Lloyd: My impression from the show and all the ancillary things I’ve read about Dr. Who is that there’s incredible dedication and love involved. Lots of camaraderie. Was it an unusually privileged situation in which to operate?
Julie Gardner: I’m thrilled.
David Tennant: It’s true. It’s a very committed set. There’s lots of passion about the show. Because people grew up with it and loving it, and are now making it. We manage to expand our budget through good will and are happy to be there. We benefit greatly from the show’s legacy.
Robert Lloyd: Was there a moment when you realized you were onto something bigger than you expected in terms of scope and ambition?
Russel T. Davies: I suppose when the history of the show is written, one day people will realize Julie Gardner’s role. We had ambition, we had goodwill, but she raised an amazing amount of money, which in the labyrinthine, Dickensian world of the BBC is tough. Julie also had to raise it from scratch each year, with different sources. That’s when Julie got on board and thorough motoring and pushing the ambition, size, and scale. That’s when I began to think huge. And I thought it wold only go one year and here we are.
Julie Gardner: It was easy to motor. Russell always thought big from the first moment. Yes, we had huge stories, a big production team, big trailers, blockbuster trailers. The most important thing was thinking 7 o’clock bbc prime time. We had to think mainstream.
Russel T. Davies: Everyone worked hard and never dreamt of this kind of success—it’s amazing and mystifying. And THANK YOU.
Robert Lloyd: We have a special presentation before fan questions. Craig Glenday of the Guinness Book of World Records has something for you.
Craig Glenday: I’m back again! Dr. Who has been in the Guinness Book of World Records for a long time, it’s the longest-running sci-fi show on TV, we all know that. But I have the Dr. Who entry in next year’s book. And today we want to make a special announcement. That one record is not enough. You guys are too good for one record. Based on sales, distribution, downloads, illegal downloads, and longevity, Dr. Who is the most successful sci-fi show on television for sure.
Russel T. Davies: The most successful sci-fi show on television? I can hear Comic-Con war breaking out there. Close the doors, don’t let Star Trek in. Eat that Supernatural, actually eat me, Supernatural. And I’d like to accept this in the name of Verity Lambert, who set up Dr. Who in 1963. She’s no longer with us but she’s smiling somewhere because this is hers. Thank you.
Robert Lloyd: Fan question time.
Fan: David, there’s a rumor that you wear the long brown coat because you’re fan of Firefly. True?
David Tennant: Ohh, I’ve never heard that one before. There’s a new rumor about me every day at Comic-Con. I’m playing The Hobbit, apparently. I love Firefly and Serenity, they’re excellent. Both great shows. But they’re not the inspiration for the coat. When Russell and Julie first asked me to play the part, I said “Can I have a long coat?” It’s as basic as that.
Fan: You look good in it!
Russel T. Davies: He looks good out of it. [laughter]
Fan: David, if you could be any other doctor, who would you pick?
David Tennant: Wow, I need to be careful here. Splendid chaps all of them. I guess that’s the traditional answer.
Fan: What was best part of working on Dr. Who
David Tennant: My favorite is everything. It feels wrong to choose. Each episode is such an individual thing, with a different cast, setup and script. It feels like choosing between your children, just wrong. It’s been four years of extraordinary moments. I take away so many brilliant memories, this [Comic-Con] being one of them. And that’s before I’d even seen the final episodes.
Fan: You never get your first doctor. Who was your first doctor? How did you deal with the trauma of replacing him?
Russel T. Davies: I still remember William changing into Patrick. I was just at the right age for Tom Baker, we love him. But as for trauma, it can be quite fearsome and horrific. Murray Gold our composer—Euros, the director of the finale—
Euros Lyn: We’ve been spotting the finale [for various cast and crew], and we reached the last twenty min or so of the last episode, and Murray hangs his head, starts shaking, just sobbing uncontrollably. And you all will too when you see episode. Get your tissues ready.
Julie Gardner: There was a lot of crying when we shot the last episodes. The crew was really moved by it. So many gododbyes. Every day. The goodbyes went on for weeks.
David Tennant: I remember being a kid when Tom Baker left, I’d idolized him. I couldn’t concieve the idea of a new doctor. But then Peter came along and within three weeks I thought he was the best. So it’s part of what makes this show go on forever. Hopefully you’ll watch the final episodes, and then a few weeks later you’ll think Matt Smith is the greatest thing ever. Because he is. Change is a part of the show and I’m proud to have been a part of history, but also proud to hand the role over and that it carries on.
Fan: I heard that John Barrowman has stolen things off of the set. What have you stolen off the set, if anything?
Julie Gardner: He just stole thngs to be strip searched on the way out.
Russel T. Davies: One of the Doctor’s jackets. Someone took them.
David Tennant: There is a sequence in final episode where one of the Doctor’s jackets gets compromised and we were going through the shots before and after, the last day, last thing we did, tears, hugs all that. And the jacket had disappeared. eBay is being scoured. But it wasn’t me.
Fan: David, you’re my Doctor. I’m so sad to see you go, any possibility that you might come back for specials or a movie?
David Tennant: Well, the dust has to settle. And the fiftieth anniversary [of the original Dr. Who] is in 2013. I don’t know. That is not an announcement. Don’t twitter that. It’s not a thing. Just an idea.
Fan: Do you all have a favorite assistant [Doctor’s companion] character that you prefer?
David Tennant: It’s hard to choose. What do you guys think? [Everyone in the crowd shouts something different.] Well, that just sounds like mwahhhhhh. The one thing I leave show with sadness about, is that I didn’t get to snog Bernard Cribbins. I got to snog all the other ones. Or am I? You haven’t seen the last episode.
Fan: David, would you be returning as the other doctor, the one who’s coming with Rose?
David Tennant: There are no plans, but anything can happen.
Fan: What was like working with Nicholas Courtney in Unit Stories?
David Tennant: He’s a legend. I did a couple of audio stories with Nick Courtney long before any of my television work. He’s the nicest man you could hope to meet. I just sat there thinking Brigadeer! Huge fan of his, wonderful, brilliant man.
Fan: You don’t want to pick favorites in Dr. Who, but as a fan what was something that was exciting for you in this show or other shows?
David Tennant: I’ll tell you what it was. When I started, we had the first read-through, and we read the first three episodes all at once. Everyone who had ever worked for the BBC was there with their note pads staring at me. I spent the first hour thinking I’d be sacked at any moment. The replacements were just lining up. It was a terrifying but wonderful prospect, and then we read the episodes out of order. Suddenly, halfway through the read-through, a voice from my childhood was calling me Doctor. When the 8 year old boy met the 35 year old boy, and it wasn’t the playground but doing it for real, that was quite special.
Julie Gardner: And that reminds me, we should do a little plug. David’s Doctor is coming up in the Sarah Jane Adventures.
David Tennant: Yes, and the episode is called the Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith.
Fan: How much fun was it doing the laugh on Top Gear? Will you still hold the title of the fastest doctor on four wheels?
David Tennant: It was fun, but it is forever blighted by fact that I’m .02 of seconds behind on the leader board before Billie Piper. And the only reason I’m behind Billie is that she was wearing a see through top. So Jeremy Clarkson bumped her on the leader board. If Billie didn’t have such good breasts, I’d be higher on the leader board.
Fan: As an alumnus of the Royal Shakespeare Company, has your training affected your way of reimaginig the doctor?
Julie Gardner: David you did meet Shakespeare in an episode of Dr. Who. That must have informed your interpretation of Hamlet.
David Tennant: I don’t know. It’s hard to tell what kind of actor you are. You can’t judge, can’t be objective. There is certainly a great tradition of shakesperean actors being the Doctor. Chris played Hamlet, Tom played Macbeth. I have no conclusion to make.
Fan: David, what sort of roles are upcoming for you?
David Tennant: I don’t think I’m in Harry Potter. Apparently I’m playing The Hobbit. No phone calls about that yet, but I don’t know, no idea. There is a film at the moment—I’m playing the villain in Centrinians 2, I’m doing Hamlet, but beyond that, who knows?
Fan: Prior to the new series, it was hard to find American fans. Are you surprised at the popularity explosion [in the States] of the new series?
Julie Gardner: I’m struggling to work out how big it is. Are we huge? Russell and David?
David Tennant: We went on Good Morning San Diego this morning and were met by a man in a t-shirt with a tardis on its front. So it’s hard to quantify. People who know it REALLY know it.
Russel T. Davies: It’s hard to quantify because you are told it’s not known, but then it’s the catch of the week in Entertainment Weekly. But word is spreading, and it’s up to fans like you to keep the faith and spread the word. Give yourselves a round of applause.
David Tennant: It feels like it should have been from the start. And they’re behind it, and will show episodes much more closely, and now uncut, on BBC America. So we’re coming but keep proselytizing.
Fan: Russell, you’re leaving Dr. Who, but do you have future plans for Torchwood?
Russel T. Davies: I hope so. We were astonished by the success of that series. We tripled ratings. I hope so, I can’t promise, it’s the middle of a recession, but we want it too. Fingers crossed, but maybe the characters you want back won’t be back.
Fan: Why did you cast Captain Jack as American?
Russel T. Davies: We had actually singled John out for that part. We knew he could do a Scottish accent. We wanted him because we loved him. He did it for us in all accents, and in the end, I just thought it made it bigger to have American accent just because you have American soldiers in Britain. It felt right. I didn’t know he’d go on to do Torchwood. That’s very rare in the UK to have an American lead in a British show. But he proved everyone wrong because that’s how brilliant he is.
Fan: Is the difference between each Doctor based on each actor’s perspective or is it in the writing?
Russel T. Davies: I don’t tend to write the Doctors differently. There are differences. But it’s the Doctor in my head who drives the script. It’s a joy to cast the show with all these talents, you have the freedom to write anything. Cast well and your imagination goes to the horizon. We are absolutely limitless to go anywhere because the cast is so brilliant.
David Tennant: Euros, you’ve worked with two of us. Who was better?
Euros Lyn: You David.
Fan: The archaeologist from Silence in the Library, will she be back, and will we see the interaction between her and The Doctor?
David Tennant: Well, it’s not on our watch anymore, really.
Julie Gardner: We are now just happy viewers. We don’t know anything.
Russel T. Davies: Do a search online for River Song. Alex Kingston and River Song. You’ll be very happy.
Fan: Can you comment on the rumored return of Gallifray and or the Timelords? Would you consider coming to Galley One?
Russel T. Davies: As for those rumors, I don’t know what you mean. Let’s just say that in that clip, the voice was Timothy Dalton playing the narrator. One day we keep getting invited to conventions, but there’s no time. That was Alexandra Mowen as Lucy Sexton. She’s coming back.
Fan: David, do you have any words of wisdom for Matt Smith for the impact that playing The Doctor on personal life?
David Tennant: We’ve chatted a couple of times, he’s enthused and clearly going to be brilliant. He’s such a talent, there is nobody in the UK who’s worked with him who doesn’t rave about him. Nothing but praise to lavish. He doesn’t need any advice. Dr. Who is a big thing in Britain, there’s very few television shows, and you get attention, some of which is nice and some that’s intrusive. But he’ll cope. He’s bright, normal, and down to earth.
Russel T. Davies: [regarding videotaping the panel] This tape we’re making on stage will be on Dr. Who: Confidential, so you will all be on Dr. Who: Confidential.
Fan: In the episode where playing teacher for school, if you were a real teacher what would you teach and why?
David Tennant: You save the hard ones for last! I have absolutely no idea. The only subject I liked was English. I’d probably be an English teacher and my set text would be anything by Russel T. Davies.
Robert Lloyd: Thanks everyone for getting up so early to stand in line for this, and a big thanks to everyone who came for the panel.
Moderator: Maureen Ryan (Chicago Tribune)
Panelists: Misha Collins (Castiel), Jim Beaver (Bobby Singer), Eric Kripke (creator), Ben Edlund (executive producer) and Sera Gamble (executive producer)
I was really excited about covering the Supernatural panel not just because of the fan base of this show, but also because the moderator was the delightful Maureen Ryan, television critic for the Chicago Tribune. The ScriptPhD has admired Maureen’s work for a long time, and it was a pleasure to meet and chat with you, Mo! Keep up the great work.
Eric Kripke: Castiel is coming back, I’m happy to say. We spent five minutes talking about wardrobe, do we do a catsuit for him. He’s back in his catsuit.
Maureen Ryan: So that begs the question: front seat or back seat?
Misha Collins: He as a special respirator to sit in the trunk. He’s going to breathe through a straw with a periscope.
Maureen Ryan: How do you solve problem like Lucifer? This guy is out to do some damage, but he’s all about herbal teas and feelings and sharing? He’s a softer, kinder Lucifer.
Eric Kripke: Yes, but we wanted to present a Lucifer that hasn’t been seen on TV and movies often. We’re shamelessly stealing from the beginning of Paradise Lost. He’s a sympathetic devil with a point of view. He was betrayed by those closest to him, and has a definite chip on shoulder. It’s a little personal. He’s the most honest of all the characters. Of course, there is that thing about ending the world, but otherwise, we’re trying to do a complicated Lucifer, where the angels can be dicks and Lucifer can be sympathetic.
Misha Collins: Except me.
Maureen Ryan: What does bobby think of all this? Is he going to pull out a can of whoop ass on boys?
Jim Beaver: Bobby has a very interesting scenario. I wish I could tell you about it, but I can’t because the real Lucifer [Kripke] is sitting by me.
Maureen Ryan: I am hearing that maybe Castiel and Bobby have an upcoming scene or two. They’re becoming buddies.
Misha Collins: It’s more of a romantic type thing.
Jim Beaver: On or off camera? It’s an unrequited thing for Castiel. Very unrequited.
Maureen Ryan: You’re going to separate the love affair of Dean/Castiel. There’s an apocalypse going on, things are crazy. Kind of a team building enterprise. Are we going to see any old friends or enemies coming out of the woodwork?
Sera Gamble: Definitely old friends. Because of the apocalypse, old hunters are coming out of trenches, like Rufus, who kind of thought he was over the hunting thing, and Ellen, who wasn’t even a hunter, but decided that she has to get into it to back up her daughter Jo. You will see all of them in episode 2.
Maureen Ryan: And Meg. You said we might see her in more than one episode.
Eric Kripke: Yes, you’ll see her in the season opener, and she’s played by Rachel Minor. We struggled with how to put her in Nikki Cox’s cat suit, because she’s buried and rotten, her hair is a different length, but Rachel does a terrific job at it. I’m borderline OCD and I want to fill every pothole. The Croatoan virus is paying out in episode four.
Ben Edlund: In episode four we go into the future. It’s five years into the apocalypse, and we wanted to blow the doors off the world. One thing is Sarah Palin is president. It’s the apocalypse, what do you want?
Eric Kripke: In all seriousness, it’s our 28 Days Later episode. You can see the end of the world with Ben’s sensibility. It’s really really cool.
Maureen Ryan: I think we have some old business to address. What did Ruby know, and was she tricking Sam?
Eric Kripke: From her first introduction in “Magnificent Seven” and then the first time you saw her talk, she was always a bad guy. We, the producers, always knew that her motivation was to double cross the boys, she was always working for the demons. It made us frustrated to read online chatter and debate about that, but in our back pocket we knew she was evil and yet couldn’t tell anyone about it. We kept trying to make her likeable, but there was that problem that she’s a demon. And you can never entirely trust a demon.
Maureen Ryan: Who changed the voicemail message in the finale?
Eric Kripke: I’m not going to tell you, because I think it’s interesting and open for debate. Some things are fun to talk about and discuss. I have my belief of it but I don’t think I’ll ever say. We always talk about it on set.
Maureen Ryan: What’s the relationship between the boys like at this point? Under the circumstances, it can be a downer for that.
Sera Gamble: Actually, the apocalypse is shockingly amusing. Last season we had some funny episodes, but at times the show was almost suicidally dark. This season we’re in the worst situation you can be in, and yet it’s kind of funny at points. It’s pretty bonkers, we’re enjoying it.
Eric Kripke: As far as the boys’ relationship, the network executives called us and said “Oh you’re doing the apocalypse. Aren’t you afraid it will be ohhhhh… I don’t know… depressing?” But I said yes, the situation is what it is, but hilariously enough this is the most optimistic season we’ve ever done. We pent all last season tearing the guys apart and this is the season they come back together. Family is going to save the world and when you’re in this big story, for once you can aim at the good guys winning, it’s very Polyanna in its tone.
Maureen Ryan: Let’s talk about Castiel’s arc. What’s his status? Is he the same guy? Same abilities?
Misha Collins: Yeah, I think it’s been some of my best work so far. Yes, I think he’s different. When you’re blown molar by molar into someone’s hair, it changes you. He lost a bit of his angel mojo, he lost some friends, and has a very ambitious mission he’s on, it’ll be very satisfying for you.
Eric Kripke: But yeah, it’s kind of an epic arc. He’s cut off from heaven and in full-on rebellion mode. But he goes through his own mythology arc and emotionally at that. Castiel must become human in a way, he’s not an etherial angel anymore. One teaser title from an upcoming episode: Dean Takes Cast to a Whorehouse.
Maureen Ryan: I heard some talk that you only wanted to do five seasons, but I’d be happy with six or more. Care to comment?
Eric Kripke: Here’s the honest answer to that. Because I have very low self esteem, I never dreamed Supernatural would even go five years, and now that it keeps picking up steam I’m shocked. If there’s more stories to tell, then it’s a real possibility. But right now, we are thinking of ourselves as base camp on Everest. We are just finishing writing episode 3 and breaking episode 6, and we have 16 more after that, so we’re kind of neck deep in Season 5. We’ll see.
Maureen Ryan: So this apocalypse Lucifer thing, you won’t stretch that beyond the season?
Eric Kripke: No, we have a five year story, and we’re in the fifth year of that. We owe it to you the fans to not water it down, dilute it, or stretch it beyond that. We just want to tell the story. We don’t need to go down endless mystery on top of mystery. But another chapter can certainly begin. We’ll see with everything.
Fan: Jim and Misha, what’s it like knowing you’re just as important as Jensen and Jared’s characters?
Misha Collins: Well, it would be great.
Jim Beaver: Who are Jensen and Jared?
Misha Collins: Yeahhhh, it’s nice to have a supporting cast like Jared and Jensen. They really are just a great supporting base line for fleshing out stories that everyone cares about. [laughter]
Fan: Will Castiel get to help out on any monster of the week hunts and what’s the dynamic like after what happened?
Misha Collins: Yes and dynamic is awkward, to say the least.
Fan: Had you always intended to take the show in this direction or have things developed over time?
Eric Kripke: We tend to start these things with cocktail napkin sketch of a five year plan. And in our case, the plan was always driven by demon side of it. So yes, progression of the demon ladder of the dark side and the apocalypse was pre-planned. But to say there will never be angels would have been a mistake for us. That’s one of the coolest part of the show. We didn’t have the rebellion. And thank god, it totally rejuvenated season 4. So the angels did evolve with the process.
Fan: One of my favorite things about the show is the music, but it’s really dropped off. Is it coming back?
Eric Kripke: I know, it hurts us too. It all comes down to the budget. You have to pay for rights, which can be expensive. Production value takes precedent. So we used to have a particular music budget for the show, and we had to cut the music budget in half. It used to be one song every episode, then it started getting to be one song every other episode, one every third, you get the idea. Sometimes we’re so over budget and irresponsible, that’s the casualty. It’s literally where one song makes the difference between getting to shoot the episode.
Fan: Erik, you teased about looking at the future. Will the idea of destiny be addressed? Can you change your destiny?
Ben Edlund: That’s the question of the episode. Destiny is one of the key themes of the show. We’re planning on some mind-bending loops. Can you avoid destiny, what you already know is going to happen, by the choices you make?
Maureen Ryan: How much will we see Mark Pellegrino?
Eric Kripke: He is currently shooting episodes 1 and 3, and then won’t see him for a while. I know he’s on Lost and bad-ass as Jacob. He was actually in the running for Castiel—it was between Misha and Mark, and they were both so great, but Misha squeaked by. But we always loved Mark and remembered him, so went right to him when the part of Lucifer came about.
Fan: When you go through the writing process, how do you go from ideas to episodes?
Sera Gamble: Coffee mostly. It’s like American Idol—the strongest ideas win. If they survive, they end up on the TV screen, but they must survive with the long hours we work.
Fan: At the beginning of season, we were first introduced to mythology. Have you received any backlash about themes of angels and demonds, and how does that criticism fuel the stories?
Eric Kripke: surprisingly little. Every so often you see an individual saying they don’t love it, but by and large…
Sera Gamble: We don’t have agenda to criticize or push any one religion. These ideas have been done before and have entranced people for one millennium, and it’s general.
Eric Kripke: Sometimes we laugh about sacrilege that we might be doing, but we’re not the first to ask about God’s will, about a benevolent God letting bad things happen. That’s not new, provocative material. We just happen to be asking it on our horror show on CW. One of our writers is good friends with a priest who loves the show, and loves what we’re doing. He’s interested that a show is even attempting it.
Fan: Is there a chance we’ll see the cult God return?
Ben Edlund: I think so, yes. The rumor and myth and legend of the cult doesn’t go away, you’ll see it come around.
Fan: Misha, based on personal beliefs, how did you prepare for playing a morally gray angel?
Misha Collins: I set my personal beliefs aside. Castiel hasn’t been walking among humans for 2000 years, so he has a curiosity about humanity. It’s been an interesting question. What does it mean to be human? Not many roles allow you to explore that in depth.
Fan: The meta-episode, what made you decide to do that?
Eric Kripke: No, we just love navel-gazing. It was writers’ assistant Nancy Weiner’s idea, totally. She wanted to do a stranger than fiction episode, in which their characters find out they’re in a book. At first we were like, “No, that’s crazy! We’re not going to do that.” But the idea kept floating around, we couldn’t shake it. Then it just snapped into focus, because it tied into the mythology. I have such a complicated relationship with the online fandom, I’m very attracted to poking loving fun of them.
Fan: Are we going to find out what happened to John?
Eric Kripke: Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a huge star now, in case you haven’t noticed. We’d love to explore that and have him, but it’s about scheduling.
Maureen Ryan: But the boys’ mom? Will we see what happens to her?
Eric Kripke: Samantha is awesome! She was sort of in episode 21. But I can definitely say Jessica is coming back.
Fan: Are you ever going to distribute official soundtrack for show?
Eric Kripke: This really is not the first time we have heard this question. We took the idea to record companies, but they were not interested. So we pitched it out, and our music supervisor is great, but she was met with a big fat middle finger. We’re rying to put together a “virtual album” playlist on iTunes so you can at least download it. We keep saying we’re going to do it, but then we get back home to Los Angeles and forget. But this time around we’re going to do it.
Unfortunately, due to our hectic schedule of interviews and panels, the only thing we didn’t have a chance to do at Comic-Con this year was roam the convention floor—we’re relievedbummed, but it’s something to save for next year. Nevertheless, this year’s Comic-Con was bigger than ever and did not disappoint. Thank you for following along with us, and we promise more surprises in the week to come: full transcripts of all ScriptPhD.com press room interviews (Psych, Burn Notice, Bones, Big Bang Theory, Fringe and MythBusters), a special extra one-on-one interview, and fan giveaways of 40th Anniversary Comic-Con memorabilia. Don’t forget to follow ScriptPhD.com along on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page for announcements, updates and future article alerts. A huge thanks also goes out to the hard work and assistance of all the wonderful media coordinators, publicists, and technical crews that facilitated press schedules, helped us with an overwhelming schedule of interviews, and generally made an otherwise gargantuan event manageable and enjoyable.
And now, for the Day 4, and final, Comic-Con Costume of the Day… Jane Austen Book Club: Freddy Krueger Edition:
As Comic-Con 2009 comes to a close, this poor fan embodies the physical state of the ScriptPhD:
Luckily, we have a whole year to recover before we do it again. We hope those of you who have found us through our Con coverage stick around for more coverage of the best of science and technology in entertainment, pop culture and media. Thanks for following along.
A very exhausted and spent ~*ScriptPhD*~