Supernatural Exec: “We Won’t Be One Tree Hill with Monsters!”
All hell has broken loose in the Supernatural community. Ever since news leaked that the show was introducing two new shagadelic female series regulars this coming season, fans have inundated me with hundreds of angry e-mails. Their chief concern: In a bid to broaden the serial thriller’s appeal, CW brass are forcing producers to bimbofy the show, hence the two new lady killers (played by Katie Cassidy and Lauren Cohan). In an exclusive interview, series creator Eric Kripke addressed the controversy head-on, clearing the air about the changes ahead and offering a preview of what he’s calling “the best season of Supernatural yet.”
Fans are in a bit of a tizzy.
Eric Kripke: First of all, I love our fans. I love them to death. I love how passionate they are. But they tend to worry unnecessarily. They tend to get stressed before they have a chance to judge the finished product. We are so conscious and aware of our fans. We’re making the show for the fans; we’re not making the show for the network. We would never do anything to betray them. I’m not saying we’re perfect. I’m not saying we don’t make mistakes. But we’re very conscious and aware. And when we do make mistakes, we course-correct. So if I can get any message to them, it’s, ‘Don’t worry. We’re making choices based on what’s best creatively for the show.’
Is it true that the CW asked you to introduce the two new females?
Kripke: The real, honest answer is, we knew we were going to introduce one female character, Ruby. And Dawn [Ostroff] said, ‘Could you introduce two female characters.’ We said, ‘We’ve got this great female character – the Bela character – who we already had written a script for, who we love. And who we were going to bring back anyway. Let’s make her a regular.’ So, it was not thrust upon us. We were already introducing one. She wanted us to introduce two. And it’s of the producers’ own volition. We are not turning into One Tree Hill with monsters – I swear. I’d rather put a gun in my mouth. I understand everyone is nervous, but if they just hang in there, and watch the episodes, and watch how it turns out… we have not lost our head. We’re delivering what we feel is the best season of Supernatural yet.
What specific misconceptions about the upcoming season would you like to clear up?
Kripke: First, the perception online, because I read online as much as anybody, that suddenly the show is going to be Scooby Doo. And that it’s going to be Sam and Dean with these two girls in the backseat of the Impala, and they’re going to cruise from town to town, they’re going to do a little go-go dancing, and then they’re going to fight some monsters. That is not the case. The girls are recurring regulars, first of all, which means that our contracts with them, tops, puts them in 12 out of 22 episodes. That’s tops. So there’s no reformulation where it’s the four of them together where they’re in every episode. We’re introducing them very carefully. We’re not jamming them in every episode. They weave in and out of the story, like other hunters have on our show in the past. It’s not the four of them in every episode. Bela shows up, and then Ruby shows up, and then the boys are alone… So they’re just inter-changing as they’re traveling around the country. They’re just bumping into different characters. They’re also bumping into Gordon, Agent Hendrickson, and Bobby and Ellen, because we’re opening up the world of the show. We’ve always said we were going to expand the Supernatural universe. We always felt the show had the potential to have just as fleshed-out a universe as Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. And that involves introducing new characters. So, that’s one.
Kripke: Two, there’s a misconception online that they’re being introduced as love interests. They’re not being introduced as love interests; they’re being introduced as antagonists. I know people weren’t thrilled about Jo last season, but we feel we’ve learned from that mistake. I love the actress [Alona Tal], but the problem was, we conceived the character wrong. She was the girl next door, she was the little sister, and her attitude was, ‘How can I help you?’ And, [exec producer] Bob Singer and I always said to ourselves in Season 2, if we were to bring girls into the show, the way to bring them in is to make trouble for the guys, not to be helpful. To introduce them as their own fleshed out characters in their own right, who are raging pains in the ass, and trouble, and dangerous, and then sort of see what happens. I’ve already broken the first 10 episodes, and, so far, there’s nothing even close to romance. It’s closer to they’re going to come to blows with each other.
There’s a thin line between love and hate…
Kripke: True. We’re going to see how it goes. We’re going to see, ‘Is there chemistry? Are there sparks?’ What we’re trying to do is what shows that we admire tried to do, like The X-Files and Buffy. Yes, The X-Files is about Mulder and Scully, but Skinner grew to play a part. The Lone Gunmen grew to play a part. Buffy had other characters that were coming in and out of the storyline, and they were fascinating characters. The trick is to not introduce them as love interests. The trick, we feel, is to introduce them as fleshed-out characters with their own inner lives, and then see what develops. And the other thing is, the girls are very separate and very different. And very rarely are they in the same episode, because they’re each serving very different storylines. Ruby (Katie Cassidy) is this demon hunter, who is ruthless and a little crazy and rough around the edges, and doesn’t share the same moral conscience that either of the boys share. A little unhinged in that way. There’s going to be a big twist about Ruby very early on. As early as Episode 2 you’re going to learn something very fascinating about Ruby.
And what about Bela?
Kripke: Bela (Lauren Cohan) is actually something we never presented on Supernatural before, which is someone who lives in this world who actually isn’t a hunter. She’s a thief and a mercenary. And all of these amulets and magical objects that the boys are always stealing and using to fight creatures, are actually worth a lot of money. And there’s someone to buy and sell them. And she’s really not interested in the altruistic or obsessed or revenge-minded motives of hunting. She’s interested in a free market economy and making a buck. She’s in it for herself. That’s someone they’ve really never come across before. ‘I don’t really care if you stop that ghost, I want that amulet,’ which if she disappears with it the boys are screwed.
The love interest thing must be in the back of your head, right?
Kripke: Our fans are notoriously protective of our boys. If the chemistry is there, and we see the sparks, and we want it to happen, and the fans want it to happen, it’ll happen. We’re not planning for it at this point, because we just don’t know. We don’t know which girl is going to spark to which guy, we just don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re just going to add the ingredients together and let them percolate, and then move from there. But honestly, I swear, at this point, I don’t have plans for the girls to pair up with the guys. They might. But until I see who works best with who, I’m just not going to pull that trigger.
What else can you tell me about Season 3?
Kripke: This is a season where war breaks out. And there’s no longer any of this, ‘Who’s the psychic kid? And I should follow the yellow-eyed demon, what?’ It’s war. We’re at war. Choose a side. It’s the end of the world. We feel this is the most exciting season yet. We feel this is the season to join the party. I’m not promising that we’re not going to make missteps, as any show does. But the difference between us and other shows, is when they make missteps, they say, ‘Go f— yourself.’ When we make missteps, we pay attention to the fans and we course correct. So, fans, I love you all, but stop worrying.