With several Wynonna Earp-specific conventions scheduled for 2019, the fun kicked off in New Orleans last month at EarpExpo. The three-day event featured photo op and autograph sessions, parties, and panel discussions with the folks behind the show.
Though fewer in number than other cons, the panel lineup was satisfying, with at least one key panel per day. Day 1 included panels on the villains and on LGBTQ representation in pop culture, Day 2 included a panel on the Earp sisters and a Drunk Earp History fan panel, and Day 3 featured a live recording of the fan podcast Tales of the Black Badge, a “Fan Fiction” panel, and the capstone event of the weekend, the “Cast” panel.
The Fan Fiction panel was something fans had been craving, according to social media chatter, and though turnout was light, the panel delivered. The hosts, themselves (extra)ordinary fans who write Wynonna Earp fan fiction, were generously open about their writing process and inspirations, and spoke of their craft with deserved authority, intelligence, and passion. They shared tips and challenges, and were quite motivating in the way of encouraging their fellow Earpers to pursue their own creative interests. The panel was a good break from the endless photo op lines, and a good pre-cursor to the final panel.
The closing “Cast” panel featured showrunner/writer Emily Andras, and stars Melanie Scrofano, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Kat Barrell, Michael Eklund, Varun Saranga, and Meghan Heffern. Kevin Bachelder, co-host of the Tales of the Black Badge podcast, moderated.
To start, an Earper who’s a petty officer second class in the U.S. Navy presented Andras and the cast with Navy challenge coins. In response, Mel led a standing ovation for the Navy officer.
When things settled down, Bachelder fired off his first question: what’s everyone’s favorite memory of working on the show.
Eklund spoke first.
“When I come back [to set for a new season] and it’s the first day… when I step onto that set and I walk into the trailer and see my coat hanging there, and the first time I get to see you [Kat] or you [Dom] or Mel or Emily, that’s my favorite moment of every season, because we’re back,” said Eklund. “And I can’t wait to have that moment again.”
Then Saranga answered.
“I like bitter sweet moments, so my favorite was when we came back for season 3 and read the first two episodes,” said Saranga. “It was Doll’s death actually, and all of us, the energy in the room was loving and sad and reminiscing about the history of Wynonna and it was just all kind of encapsulated in that two-hour read, and it was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had on a show.”
Heffern said hers is that when she joined the show, she was reunited with crew members she’d met while starting out as an actress in Edmonton, and they way they all welcomed her to Wynonna made her feel like she’d made it in her career.
Scrofano said favorite moments change over time, but she often particularly enjoys read-throughs.
“That’s the first time you get to hear [a script] out loud, and the fun that we have in those rooms, but also the surprises or the emotion that can come up is pretty powerful,” said Scrofano. “It’s like the birth of the baby—and then the placenta falls out.”
After some placenta jokes, Provost-Chalkley said one of her favorite moments is her first kiss with Barrell, as Waverly and Nicole.
“I just remember going home and being like FUCKK, I DID IT!”
Barrell and her laughed and shared an embrace.
Andras said one of hers is when she walked into the studio and saw they’d built an entire bar, Shorty’s, because she couldn’t believe it was really happening.
“This whole team of people [had come] together to make it absolutely perfect and it matters so much,” said Andras.
From there, Bachelder turned the conversation to the #FightforWynonna, asking Scrofano what her thoughts on it were.
Scrofano said initially, she thought fans had just Photoshopped Wynonna images onto Times Square billboards—she didn’t think they’d actually bought ads.
“It was really like trudging through sand trying to get my brain to accept it, because it’s unfathomable to me that you would even think to do that. Like I would just sit on my couch and be like ‘[in sad child-like voice] meh, my show,’ which is what I did,” said Scrofano. “It just really taught me the meaning of what it looks like to fight for something, and you don’t have to have billions of dollars or whatever, you can fight for things that matter to you—just as long as you have the heart behind it, you can get so far in life. It was a real lesson, it was incredible, thank you guys for doing that.”
Bachelder sprinkled in some lighter fare, too, at one point asking what trivia the actors themselves would be good at. Barrell said she isn’t a fan of trivia but she’s good at guessing what decade certain clothes are from. Provost-Chalkley said she hates trivia because it makes her nervous, but settled on dance—and at Scrofano’s suggestion, art and leisure—as her topics. Saranga said he loves trivia, and history would be his subject, while Eklund said science and entertainment, and Scrofano said the movie Spaceballs.
Here’s some of the other highlights from the panel, from silly to sweet and everything between:
Answers have been edited for length and conciseness.
On what other shows they’d want their character to be on
Andras: I would really like to see the Queer Eye guys try to deal with Bobo—show up in that trailer park and try to get that coat off him, I feel like that might be the last episode.
Barrell: Just because I’m obsessed with this show right now and I’d love to see Nicole go back in time… where she would be another unconventional woman in the time period, Gentleman Jack. It’s a great show.
[Audience erupted in ecstatic agreement]
Scrofano: Wynonna could be great on Drunk History.
Heffern: I think it’d be really funny to see Beth on The Good Place.
Provost-Chalkley: I was gonna say The Good Place because I’m just obsessed with it! But that’s fine, maybe Waves on… Veronica Mars?
Eklund, seemingly suggesting for Waverly: The Bachelor.
Scrofano: Oooh I wanna change mine to The Bachelor, I would FUCK them up!
On how their characters would describe themselves on Tinder
Heffern: Fiercely loyal, a little bit crazy, and HUNGRY!
Saranga: Has had sex one and a half times.
Barrell: I would say loves rock climbing, Johnny Cash, and pussy…cats.
Her deliberate pause after the word pussy, mischievously nodding to Nicole’s sexuality, set the audience off into a delighted uproar and pretty much won the weekend.
Eklund: I’ll go with loves jazz, very misunderstood, and loves long walks on just the edge of Purgatory.
On doing a musical episode
Andras: Everyone on this panel BEGGED me to do one. They’re all dying to… I would love to do a musical, I would just wanna Earp it, so it would have to be ACDC or something… I think everybody has said they’re musical except, God bless, Michael—
Eklund: ME??! I would LOVE to do it!... I would love to sing and dance on an Earp episode, are you crazy, that would be fun.
Andras: Ok, it’s happening, let’s do it.
Soon after this discussion, Eklund called Tim Rozon (who plays Doc Holliday), for the second time in the weekend. Unlike the first attempt, Rozon briefly answered, exchanging “I love yous” with Eklund, before hanging up. It prompted Bachelder’s next question.
On favorite Tim Rozon memories
Barrell: Tim and I did that crocodile movie [Lake Placid: Legacy] in Africa together. It was a really hard shoot. It was cold and wet and it was night shoots, and I got a little cranky, to be honest. And the hardest part about being cranky on that set is every time I looked at frickin’ Tim, he was the happiest person, most positive, amazing man. He never gets mad, never is impatient, is just kind to everyone, and the great thing about Tim is when you’re in a bad mood he will immediately—you just check yourself around Tim because he always puts everything into perspective.
Provost-Chalkley: We always go for brunch as a group, and Tim Rozon, probably without fail… always pays the bill… and never admits to it. Gosh, what a lesson in pure kindness, he never wants anything back, he just has all the love to give, and he’s just my inspiration for that reason. I just think he’s an incredible human being.
Saranga: I remember Tim was my first friend on the show… we started going out for breakfast together… and in season 3 we both had the same facial hair [hefty mustaches], so when we’d go out to breakfast, everyone thought we were doing a bit. The waiters would always do a little double take, and then at one point I pulled out my flip phone… and they’re like, “oh these two are drug dealers” [laughs], and they totally started treating us very differently from that point forward. It was really fun.
On where else they’d like to go for conventions
Andras: If you guys… put a sign on your front door that says Earp con and then tell me to come, I will come, that is the truth for me. God, I feel like we’ve gotten to go to so many places—I’d love to go see more of Europe. I’d love to go to Asia, too—the Philippines, baby—Mexico, Orlando, Australia, South Africa.
Barrell: You know what would be fun… if we could just rent a plane and… go somewhere, like an island—an Earp island!
Andras: Or an Earper cruise… that’d be amazing.
On when they realized the show was special
Provost-Chalkley: The moment I stepped into the audition and met you two [Andras and Scrofano].
Scrofano: We were at Wondercon and [Tim and I] got cheesecake and sat on the hotel bed and started tweeting, and we’re like, “oh two people are gonna [comment],”and then there was ACTION. Nothing like now, but at the time it seemed like a lot more than I thought, and I was just like, “oh, I think people get it, I think we found our people, what are the odds?” And so, we were just sitting there going like, “my feed is scrolling, is your feed scrolling?” It was really cool.
Eklund: My first convention when I met all of you. Because work for an actor, we go, we shoot it, we go home, we move on to the next job… and then I came out and I met you guys… and you guys keep coming back, and I’ve never seen that and I’ve been acting for 20 years and worked on many things and I’ve never been a part of a project that has been like this EVER. It’s the best show I’ve ever been on.
Saranga: In such a funny way it hit me today more so than it ever has—that we’re off the air [for now] but there are more people than ever watching this show, and we’re bringing more people into this beautiful bubble of kindness and caring and understanding and unity and diversity. It’s like the show itself is a movement… and it’s one of the most inspirational things I’ve ever gotten to witness.
Andras: One of the [moments] I often talk about is when we screened at Wondercon and you guys [the cast] saw it for the first time, just the look on your faces, you were like ‘this is a real thing’… I was just so proud of that moment and I just thought ‘if we find people who get it, these guys are gonna be huge, they’re so wonderful and they’re so good in this.’
But I will tell you, I don’t know how I will ever top the moment of walking the red carpet for the People’s Choice Awards [begins crying]. EVER. EVER… To be with these beautiful people who I love and to know we have this kind of army behind us who had done this for us, it’s hard to be worthy of that, but also, I guarantee you, no one else on that carpet knew that we had thousands of people who loved us and shared this with us… [that feeling was] pure joy and everyone should have a moment of joy like that in their lives, so I truly hope YOU [all] do.
To close the panel, Bachelder presented Andras with a giant print by Wynonna Earp comic artist Lora Innes, of the Times Square Earper billboard, signed by hundreds of the fans at the convention.
Overwhelmed with joy, Andras said, “I appreciate it so much, but this belongs to all of us… This is OUR show, it’s a team effort, we all built it, I just have to write the thing, so thank you so much you guys, I love you so much.”
With that, Andras and the stars trickled off stage.
The Villains and Representation panel set the tone for the weekend, and the cast panel drove it home—perfectly encompassing the love, loyalty, and joy shared between cast, creator, and fans of the little engine that could, the sleeper SyFy sensation that is Wynonna Earp.