By Danielle Turchiano
The CW’s "Supernatural" has a devoted fandom who attend show-specific conventions, cosplay as their favorite characters, ink themselves with the anti-possession symbol, and spend hours writing, drawing, and talking about the boys. And mow the show itself is paying homage to its most creative fans with the 200th episode entitled "Fan Fiction."
MTV News was among a few outlets that attended a special advance screening of the episode, as well as a panel with the shows writers, producers, and stars. Here are seven secrets we learned:
1. A Musical? Really?
Yes, really! When we asked episode writer Robbie Thompson about the inspiration and planning, he shared, "Bob [Singer] and Jeremy [Carver] had laid out what they wanted to do at the beginning of the season... and we had this pocket where we kept saying, 'Let’s get [the boys] back on their feet; let’s let them be heroes again.'
"Episode five we knew was 200; we knew it was an opportunity to make fun of ourselves and kind of celebrate the show in the way that only 'Supernatural' can... So when they said we were thinking about doing that, usually you come in and you have two or three pitches, and I just had three musical pitches. The second they said, 'Okay, who’s got one?' I said 'Oh pick me!'
"I was like a little kid on the first day of class! For me, I talk about the movie 'Rushmore' because in 'Rushmore,' they’re fan fiction: he’s putting on these movies that he loves but through the lens of his creativity. And I just think [that’s] fantastic."
2. These Kids Can Carry A Tune!
"Supernatural" doesn’t play around when it comes to its guest stars, and the young talent (emphasis on the talent) they found to play high school students enamored with the show's fun-poking Carver Edlund novels were not just kids strapping on oversize flannels and fake facial hair, and going for some laughs. The play within the episode is a musical, and everyone is taking that very seriously, culminating most strongly in a stripped down version of "Carry On My Wayward Son" that shouldn’t leave a dry eye in the house.
4. Hashtag Single Man Tear
Speaking of dry eyes, "Supernatural" has always been a show known for poking fun at itself, and this episode is no exception. They manage to do it most uniquely, with moments dedicated to the “single man tear” that Dean so often finds himself shedding. We have a feeling this will be trending come air time.
5. Beloved Characters Are Back!
Since the play within the episode is put on by a group of die-hard fans, key characters and lots of familiar faces are all represented. The versions of them that appear are told through the eyes of the fans within the episode, and it really is a "family don’t end with blood" affair. The two that are guaranteed to get the biggest reaction are ones that appear at the very end of the episode — one on-stage, and one in the audience. Just when you thought the episode was winding down, they really hit you in the feels.
6. A Shift In Character Perspective
Let’s face it: Sam and Dean have been through some really, really dark stuff — especially of late. Dean may no longer be a demon, but he still has the Mark of Cain ready to rear its ugly scar again, and Sam still went to extreme lengths to try to save his brother. Not to mention all of the previous years of journeying to hell and back, losing souls, visiting purgatory, etc.
By showing the boys their story through the eyes of some adoring, inspired fans, though, they — especially Dean — come away with new insight and even some warm and fuzzies about what they’ve been through. As showrunner Jeremy Carver put it, "If there’s something that’s stronger than a bro hug, I think we have that here!"
7. Girl power!
It might be an odd or otherwise unexpected sentiment coming from a show that centers on two brothers, but “Fan Fiction” has key female guest stars in the high school play’s writer and director, as well as stars. These characters were by design, and a very important one at that for showrunner Carver.
"Over the past couple of years we’ve seen a real, real swing in the number of 13, 14, and 15 year old female [fans] — girl who have been watching the show — and I for one have been really struck by at Comic Con this year [how] most of our questions seemed to come from young women," Carver said. "And they were really funny and really smart, and they were going toe-to-toe with the boys, and we were like 'We’ve got to give these women a platform and a voice and a point of view. It just felt like a way to give back."
Excited for the "Supernatural" 200th episode? Let us know your fave memories of the show in the comments below!