Thursday, February 7, 2008 Supernatural Burning Questions Answered!
How does Mary know the Yellow-Eyed Demon? What's the early consensus on newcomers Bela and Ruby? Will this strike-struck season still deliver a doozy of a cliffhanger? We took the best of your burning questions to Supernatural creator Eric Kripke, and here is what he had to share. (Plus: Kripke also reveals his most- and least-favorite episodes ever!) Supernatural airs Thursdays at 9 pm/ET, on The CW.
Will we find out how Mary knew the YED anytime soon? — jacobha Kripke: We will definitely find out how Mary knew the YED, but I can't promise when that will be. It ties into the mystery of what Sam is becoming, and what makes him so damn qualified to lead a demon army in the first place. But we're not ready to pull that trigger just yet.
If we don't get a full Season 3, what would happen with Dean's deal? Would the big climax be in the middle of Season 4 or would it be extended to the end of Season 4? — acsgrlie Kripke: That's a very smart question, and one that's currently haunting my dreams. There's a simple answer (we'll definitely save the climax of Dean's Deal for Season 4, no question)... and there's a more complicated answer. Not many showrunners will admit it, but the strike is throwing a lot of stories on a lot of different series up in the air. I mean, how do you get back on the story track in an elegant, artful way? You can't just throw in the climax in the middle of the next season, and then move on to a whole new story. That would be clumsy. But you can't draw it out over the entire season either, because that would become boring. I'm probably being more honest than I should be, but this is a question that I'm still wrestling with. If I had to guess, I'd say I'm probably going to end up combining the Season 3 and Season 4 mythologies into one big story to play out next season. I'm going to spend a crap load of time going over everything, again and again, polishing all the edges, but it is going to have to evolve and mutate a little bit, to fit our new schedule. It's interesting how real world issues affect the creative storytelling of the show. There's no doubt that, because of the strike, I'm going to end up telling a slightly different story than I had originally intended, or at least one with a different order of events. Knowing how these things go, however, it'll probably end up being a better one. Happy accidents usually result in better stories.
What's your take on the fans reactions to Bela and Ruby? — WaywardDaughter Kripke: Bela and Ruby do seem to be the big controversies this season, don't they? I'll start with Ruby: I'm generally pleased with how the fans have been responding to her. I knew from the beginning that were was going to be a lot of resistance to the character... our fans are very protective of the boys, they don't want the show to turn into One Tree Hill, they thought this was some network revamp, etc....but I always believed that if viewers gave Ruby a chance, they'd accept her as a formidable player in our little drama. I just find it interesting to be able to check in with a demon character, to get insight into the demonic point of view. Demons have always been fun for us to write. On top of that, Katie is growing into the character nicely, starting to show new colors. As a result, I think more and more fans are starting to grudgingly accept Ruby, almost in spite of themselves. I think she'll always be the subject of debate, which is a good thing, but enough fans are responding positively to vindicate the character, in my opinion. Which is gratifying, because I always believed in her....
As for Bela, I have to admit, I was fairly surprised by the seemingly negative fan reaction. Among the writers, Bela was a pleasure to write, we could all channel our inner smart asses, and we like how cool and unflappable she is under terrible pressure. She's strong, smart, resourceful. Bob, Sera, Ben, the other writers and I were all excited about her as we conceived her, we felt she added a unique, effervescent flavor to the proceedings. And Lauren is one of the finest, most highly trained actresses we've ever had on the show, truthfully. Because she wasn't going to be a love interest anytime soon, I thought we were adding a fun foil for the boys, in a Rosalind Russell (or depending on your cultural references, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) kind of way. But the fans seem to be having a difficult time overcoming their initial resistance to the character. (And we certainly didn't do Bela any favors with "Red Sky at Morning." That episode didn't work for me — for a lot of reasons that had nothing to do with the character). Anyway, I've spent a lot of time meditating over the Bela question, and the best I can come up with at this point, is that perhaps we presented the character as too glib and facile. Too much James Bond, not enough real, complicated young woman. Our show's formula, when it works, seems to present the outer surface of a character, even an archetype (think Dean's Han Solo comparisons) before delving into the messy, complicated insides that make that character real and human and surprising and unique. That's worked for Dean, Sam, Bobby, Ellen, even Ruby now. And I think we owe the same favor to Bela. We've always had those plans, and we have an interesting back story for her, but I think we need to push a little harder, we have to do a better job muddying up the character, making her human and real to the audience. And I know that Lauren can sure as hell play it. The writers learn about these characters as we go.... remember, it took us half of the first season to get into Sam and Dean's heads...and I think that Bela will grow and evolve into an important character in our world.
Will there be a season finale type of cliffhanger when the last episode [filmed before the writers strike] airs? — diamondlove22 Kripke: The final episode we're airing — "Jus in Bello" — wasn't originally going to be the last one, but we slid it back to serve as a kind of make-shift season finale. It's a big, epic, action movie of an episode, it climaxes the Agent Henriksen storyline, and it's got a few interesting mythology reveals, so we hope it'll tide the fans over until whenever we return. But honestly, we didn't have time to create a proper cliffhanger. Hell, we barely had time to get our final scripts finished before the writers strike. So it's not a perfect cliffhanger, but it still goes out with a bang, and I think fans will love it.
Why has no one made the slightest mention of where Ellen and Jo are and what's happening to them? They weren't killed off or explained off, and it just doesn't seem logical that Bobby, Dean, and Sam would just forget all about them, especially after Ellen's involvement in the Season 2 ending. — AriGato Kripke: As far as Jo goes, I don't know why they would mention her, because I feel we concluded her story fairly elegantly in Season 2. Dean left her at the bar, she was going to continue to hunt on her own, and she knew, with melancholy, that he was never going to call her again. She was older, sadder, wiser. End of story. As for Ellen, I agree with you, we probably should have mentioned what she's been doing. And for the record, I kept trying to squeeze some expository dialogue about Ellen into the early drafts of the first few episodes, I tried a few times actually, but it always stuck out like a sore thumb. The boys had so much on their plate — Dean's deal, Sam's darker nature, all the new Demons loose across the landscape — that it never felt natural to shoe-horn in dialogue along the lines of: "hey, by the way, what's Ellen doing?" "She's crisscrossing the country, on hunts on her own." "Oh. That's interesting." As a general rule, writers try to always cut bald exposition like that, perhaps too ruthlessly. But hindsight is 20-20, and I know a lot of fans love Ellen, and we should have at least sent a dispatch explaining where she is and what she's doing. But also for the record, we were in the midst of correcting this oversight when the strike hit — we were breaking a story about the return of Ellen, and what she's been doing, when we were forced to shut down. Hopefully, we'll still get a chance to tell that story, because I do love Ellen and think she's a fascinating character in this world.
Will we ever meet the Demon that holds Dean's contract, and will we ever find out why the contract is so important to the demon who holds it? — icancounttoduck Kripke: Yes. Definitely.
Can you take us to hell? Can you envision the show actually going there, maybe with Dean when the deal's up? — write_light Kripke: I would love to take you to hell, which is the weirdest statement I think I've ever written. But alas, I don't think we'll ever take a trip downstairs, because of purely budgetary reasons. My vision of Supernatural's Hell is a big and grotesque and expensive one — Hieronymus Bosch meets Hellraiser — and on our TV budget, we just don't have the cash to do it right. And our mantra is, if you can't do it right, then don't do it. So Dean may very well be heading to Hell, and we'll talk about it, describe it, tease it, maybe even catch a shadowed glimpse... but we'll never see it full monty. At least until someone gives me the cash to make the Supernatural feature film, or the fans organize one mother of a bake sale.
Don't know if this had been asked before but, what's your favorite episode over the three seasons? — supermars Kripke: I have a few favorites, for different reasons. I liked "Faith" in Season 1, because that was my first glimpse that the show had the potential to go deeper than I had originally thought. I liked "Nightshifter" in Season 2 because it's just a damn good story well told. And I like "A Very Supernatural Christmas" and the upcoming "Mystery Spot" in Season 3, because they so perfectly balance the humor, the scares and the emotion that have become the core elements of our show. (Both were written by our new writer Jeremy Carver, by the Way. He's a keeper). And because it's only fair, here are the episodes I DON'T like: Season 1's "Hookman," "Bugs" and "Route 666"; Season 2's "No Exit"; and Season 3's "Red Sky at Morning." Sometimes, you try things that just don't work at all, and because of our time and budget, you don't have the time to go back and re-do them, you have no choice but to air them in their deformed state, and so you have to live with millions of people watching your mistakes. You have no idea how painful that is.
In the past two seasons, you have had a lot of episodes based in Wisconsin. What is up with that? — ragbagdharma Kripke: I do love Wisconsin — my brother and sister went to summer camp there growing up — but I have to admit there's no particular reason stories are set there, outside of the fact that we set the majority of our episodes in the Midwest, because that's where I'm from. We have just as many stories in Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan. By this point, my writers know that if they come in and pitch me an episode set in Seattle, my eyes start to glaze over, but if it's set in Detroit, I pay rapt attention. It's unfair Midwest bias, I guess, but the Midwest never gets the long end of the stick in movies and TV, dam nit, so I'm happy to try and even the scales a bit!
I'm really liking this season so far, but why is it so much brighter than past seasons? — acsgrlie Kripke: It's amazing. Our fans don't miss a thing. I've read on the boards how many people have noticed the change in our visuals this year. And it's true, we were attempting an adjustment to our creative look. It was very intentional. We wanted to create a more dramatic contrast between the "real" world, in which we all live, and the "secret" supernatural world that exists just beneath the surface. So therefore, when the guys are in diners or motels or bars, it looks more true to life. Like our world. But when they go into a dank basement or haunted house, the look becomes moody, desaturated again. (And if you look back over the Season 3 episodes, the scary parts are as dark as they've ever been). When it was washed out and dark all the time throughout the previous seasons, we felt it might have been too much of a good thing, and numbed the audience. This year's look was an experiment, so when a scene wasn't supposed to be scary, the audience would feel safe and comfortable. But when the story became scary, the look got darker and more ominous. We wanted to see if that would make the scary parts scarier. Now I'm not sure the experiment was entirely successful, and we may correct our course for Season 4, but there was conscious, creative thought behind it, for whatever that's worth. — With additional reporting by Tina Charles
Leto II: We're about to go through the crucible, but we'll come out the other side. We always arise from our own ashes. Everything returns later in its... changed form.
"Sam and Dean learn that Castiel has been killed by the archangels."
[Not that I believe it is true or permanent. Not that I even watch. I just thought I'd post this after seeing that Spring plans to watch and wants to see Castiel.]
"Yes, well, I, uh, I appreciate your thoughts on the matter, I, in fact I... well, I encourage you to, to always, uh, challenge me, uh, when you feel it's appropriate. You should never be cowed by authority. Except, of course, in this instance, when I am clearly right and you are clearly wrong."