This week SUPERNATURAL will take another shot at a spin-off, WAYWARD SISTERS. This time the show will be focusing on several recurring characters — Jody Mills, Donna Hanscum, Claire Novak and Alex Jones — as well as two new characters introduced this season: Patience and Kaia.
The set-up for the backdoor pilot was actually introduced in SUPERNATURAL’s December finale, when Kaia’s dreamwalker powers, combined with Jack’s abilities, accidentally transported Sam and Dean into an alternate dimension. Now the ladies will be teaming up to help the Winchester brothers return home, as Jody calls on Claire to return home to track down the brothers because she’s afraid something terrible has happened to them.
During a visit to the set of SUPERNATURAL in the fall, we spoke with stars Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) and Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester), as well as Brianna Buckmaster (Donna Hanscum) about the potential spin-off and what it could mean for the future of the long-running series.
The early days of SUPERNATURAL focused on a pair of brothers — and, for a time, their father — and while the show has had its share of strong and recurring female characters, the focus of WAYWARD SISTERS is skewed heavily towards women. “I think it’s part of what’s growing in media right now, is having women storytelling, and telling things from their point of view,” Buckmaster said. “I think in general in life it’s something that I certainly was looking forward to and am excited about, is telling a story from a woman’s point of view and from Donna’s point of view. I think what it’s going to add to SUPERNATURAL is…it’s going to give the fandom, which is in a large part female-based, an opportunity to feel like they’re telling the story and an opportunity to relate to these characters. I think it’s going to make them feel more involved and it’s going to get them more excited about the show, if that’s humanly possible.” But these ladies are no shrinking violets. “The women in the pilot are not there to solely serve the Winchesters or to serve any men; they’re there to help others and save themselves. That’s an exciting opportunity for the viewers to see six regular women from all walks of life learning to save themselves and be their own heroes.”
How will WAYWARD SISTERS compare to its flagship show? Buckmaster believes that “it’s very similar in tone. I wouldn’t say that it’s a drastic change, other than it literally is coming from a female point of view. I don’t think that in tone it’s really significantly changed. The stories are still in the same vein of Supernatural, so I don’t think it’s going to be this huge shift for the fans.”
As for Donna’s place in the series, Buckmaster explained that “My character is there to assist Jody in a way and Patience. I just watched that episode actually a couple of days ago. Clark Backo is such a great, wonderful actress and I think Patience is the perfect addition because she comes from a different background than a lot of the women. A lot of the women come from rougher beginnings and Patience was raised at a little bit of a higher class. It will be interesting to see what that character brings, or learns even.”
A hallmark of SUPERNATURAL has always been the fact that it’s a roadshow, giving the Winchester brothers an opportunity to rush into a town, save the day, and then leave. But if picked up, WAYWARD SISTERS will be sticking close to home — specifically, Jody’s home town of Sioux Falls (the same town Bobby Singer once lived in). How will the mechanics of that work? Will we get a BUFFY THE VAMPIRE type situation where a lot of evil forces will converge on this one town? Buckmaster wasn’t too clear on the details, but she did clarify that “From what I know, they do want to centralize it in one spot, and I think that’s kind of exciting. I was talking a bit to Kim Rhodes (Jody Mills) about it, and we think it’s kind of exciting — the people you can meet in a town, the people who can come to town, the people who leave town. There’s all kinds of opportunities we didn’t get to discover because SUPERNATURAL is a road show. I don’t know — I genuinely don’t know — how they’re going to specifically bring in the monsters or fight the monsters in one space, but I think it creates an enormous opportunity to develop a lot of relationships that will keep the viewers enticed and loyal and empathetic and emotional about these bonds that will be created and broken inevitably, because it takes place in such a small town.”
Meanwhile, how do the original SUPERNATURAL stars feel about the possibility of one day crossing over to their show’s spin-off? Ackles said that “There’s a reason that this is hinging around [these particular characters] because they were [fan] favorite characters on the show. I know they’re favorite guests of us and when they get to come on the show it’s really fun for us. So in order to kind of keep that alive and keep those family ties alive, I would absolutely encourage those crossovers.”
“And this is a really neat family that we’re all a part of, but that he and I specifically get to be a part of because we’re friends with these women outside of set. We do conventions and we see them on weekends in different cities and their loved ones and their friends. So we know each other. It feels like they’ve been on the show for a lot longer than they have even though we’ve done three episodes with one or whatever it is, it’s like ‘I’ve seen you a dozen times in a dozen situations’. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life acting, but I would happily guest star on their show,” Padalecki said.
SUPERNATURAL returns with the spin-off’s backdoor pilot on Thursday, January 18 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.