By Stacey Gillard
Sunday is always the most popular day of the convention with Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) and Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester) making their appearances. Many fans show up just for this one day and this year was no exception. Our J2 experience started out, as it always does, with photo opportunities with the two stars of the show, at which point we realized they were in high spirits with a large amount of sass and mischief being the theme of the day.
Once photos were done and while some lucky fans experienced a meet and greet with Jensen Ackles, Richard introduced Rachel Miner (Meg) to the stage. She told us she realized she was merely a time filler before we got to see the boys, but we were all very happy to see her and she surprised us by being sweet, unassuming and very humorous! She had a compliment for every fan who asked a question and never stopped smiling. While she had obvious affection for the character she played as well as the atmosphere on set while filming, she said she felt a sense of closure in Meg’s demise, although not many fans agreed with her on that and hope for her back in the new season!
Finally the time came for Jared and Jensen to be introduced and they entered the stage to raucous applause. For those who have never experienced seeing these men in the flesh, the strength of their personal relationship is obvious from the moment they appear, making it apparent why the bond between the two brothers they portray has stayed so strong for 8 seasons. It has been well documented that Jensen is much more introverted when Jared is not around and at one point Jared left the stage to try and fix a speaker that was causing some feedback. Jensen’s subsequent deer-in-the-headlights look was hilarious as he poked fun at himself by whispering “Jared, I can’t do this without you”! When a fan asked what inspires them as actors, Jared put his hand on Jensen’s knee and Jensen put his hand on Jared’s shoulder. As the crowd said “awww” Jared said “What? Jensen had something on his knee!”
Jensen talked of how after the first time he did his patented “one perfect tear” on camera they expected him to be able to do the same again but explained he couldn’t and promptly demonstrated the ugly crying that is real Jensen crying! Jensen explained how he’d auditioned for the role of Sam but joked that he asked if he could take the part of the guy who cried a lot instead! Jared said he asked for the role of the guy who hooked up with “that Ruby chick” (played by Jared’s wife, Genevieve)! Jensen asked Jared to imagine if he had gotten that role instead which prompted Jared to yell “No! No! No!” and jump up out of his chair!
Mid-way through the panel Jensen invited Executive Producer Bob Singer to join them on stage for his very first appearance at a convention. It was fun to see how the boys perceived him, there was definitely the feeling of him being a “grumpy uncle” as is intimated in the season 6 meta episode “The French Mistake”. He obviously has much affection for the boys, even telling the story of when Jared and Genevieve were filming a love scene, prior to their relationship, he noticed that something was going on between them. Jared and Jensen had not heard that before and both were shocked! His affection for Jared and Jensen seemed to translate to his aspirations for the show, too, stating that at the beginning of every season he and the other producers remind the writers that the show is first and foremost about the brothers.
To finish the panel, the boys auctioned off for charity two books published by production designer Jerry Wanek (who also joined them on stage). These books, detailing the many set designs used throughout the season, are produced every year and are only given to the cast and crew. Also auctioned were two Andy Warhol-esque paintings of Jared and Gen that appeared during “The French Mistake”. Jensen had so much fun helping out with the auction, even dancing a little jig at one point! Richard Speight Jr. also joined them on stage and he and Jensen tried to drive up the value of the paintings by doing a vaudeville style skit, pretending there were stairs behind the large frame! Both Jared and Jensen, as well as Bob Singer and Jerry Wanek, happily signed the items and some very happy fans went home with great souvenirs.
Following up from the main event can never be easy but it seemed that everyone stuck around for Ty Olsson’s (Benny) panel that evening. As he entered the stage to the strains of “Renegade” by Styx his energy was high and he had us all laughing from the very beginning. While not quite as bad as Sebastian Roche, his answers to fan questions went off on tangents and he got very distracted, even poking fun at himself for having a terrible memory and asking to be reminded what he’d just been talking about! That took him into a serious subject, though, citing his tumultuous childhood as the catalyst for his developing an ability to move on quickly from events and people. Part way through Ty’s appearance, Rick Worthy (Alpha Vamp) crashed the panel, a very popular moment, as the two vampires embraced on stage. Ty had nothing but wonderful things to say about his experience working on Supernatural which seemed to be the theme of the weekend, showing us fans exactly what it is about the show that draws us in and persuades us to stay.
All photos: credit Stacey Gillard