Eric Kripke: Satan’s Head Writer

By Cynthia Boris

spn_panel.jpgFans often jokingly complain that the writers of Supernatural have stolen their ideas. Eric Kripke can top that. ” Sometimes we worry that we’re Satan’s writer’s room because we’ll come up with something and it will happen in reality.”

The joke hit a bit closer to home however, when Kripke’s new baby boy was born on Sam Winchester’s birthday! In the pilot episode of Supernatural, everything begins on the sixth month anniversary of Sam’s birthday when the demon visits and kills Sam’s mother.

“Yes, November 2 (his son’s sixth month birthday) is going to be a very nervous day in our home. It’s really troubling and weird and honestly a little scary.”

It’s Saturday, July 28th and nearly 2,000 fans are anxiously awaiting the start of the Supernatural panel at Comic Con. Many of the fans arrived as early as 8:00 am for the 2:45 panel to assure themselves a front row seat. Others stood in a line the length of several city blocks just to claim a spot at the back of the house.

Kripke and company have no idea what they’re in for as they sit and chat with reporters in a small room just a few yards away. Actually, their very presence at the con wasn’t at all assured when they shot the final episode of Season Two only a few months prior.

“We did not know we were coming back. I would say we were hopeful, but Season Three was not a fait accompli by any means. Frankly, behind the scenes there was some fighting going on to make sure we came back but you can’t let that affect your storytelling. I have to tell the story I want to tell, at the pace that I want to tell it and hope for the best.”

Even though Season Three has just begun filming, Kripke already wants to mobilize the fans in the hope of getting a fourth. He says that there have to be more people like himself who aren’t interested in “watching doctors banging in hospitals and endless procedurals” but he suspects the issue may be more about where they are than when they are.

“We have a show that is as cool as Battlestar, we just a happen to be on the same network as America’s Next Top Model. But tune in because we’re there and we’ll have interesting conversations about death and revenge and immortality and suicide.”

And what will fans find when they tune in this season? First up, they’ll find two new characters that Kripke refers to as “recurring regulars”.

“Ruby is a hunter whose moral line is much further down the line than our boys. She’s pretty ruthless, unhinged, very controlling and manipulative and as early as episode two there’s going to be a big twist on Ruby and she isn’t going to be who we thought she was, which will spin her story off in a different direction.

Bella is a supernatural mercenary. She’s in it for the money. All these talismans and amulets the boys use to stop their monsters are very valuable and worth a lot of money. So she’s in the buying and selling of these objects and like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca she’s only on one side, her own.”

Kripke assures that both of these characters have been added to mix things up and provide a little more trouble for Sam and Dean. “There’s a misconception that it’s going to be the two girls in the back seat of the Impala and it’s going to be the Scooby Gang and they’ re going to drive from town to town and Mama Cass is going to be in one episode.” Mama Cass?

That’s more of Kripke’s rock roots showing through. He sees himself as a sort of School of Rock missionary. Sadly, the gospel according to Zeppelin won’t be preached since the group won’t sell their songs for under a billion dollars. “That’s a rough estimate,” Kripke adds.

Other dream songs and bands on Kripke’s list are Traveling Riverside Blues, Ramble On,” and Aerosmith, which he also had to pass on because the songs were too expensive. Still, he has managed to procure an incredible collection of classic rock tunes that have become anthems for the show’s fans and there’s nothing Kripke likes better than a convert.

“One of the best pleasures I’ve had with this show is when I’m online checking out the blogs and there’s this 14-year-old kid who says, ‘What is this band, Foreigner and this song, Hot Blooded? I really liked it and I went out and bought the greatest hits of Foreigner’ and I’m like, ah, I’m doing God’s work! I’m introducing people to Foreigner, now if I can get people on board with Triumph! Spreading that sick obsession of mine has been very very gratifying.”

Music is one of Kripke’s greatest inspirations but creatively he also draws on Neil Gaiman. “I was hoping I would meet [him here at Comic Con] because he’s a huge influence on Supernatural, between American Gods and Sandman.” Kripke also notes the movie American Werewolf in London as an influence. Cross that with Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey and that’s the tone of Supernatural.

And speaking of Werewolves, Kripke says that the episode “Heart” is commonly referred to by the writers as Supernatural’s version of “Old Yeller”. “I love her,” says Kripke in a high-pitched voice. “You have to take her out back and shoot her, son,” follows in a deep, authoritative voice. “Okay. Then the gun shot.” End scene. “I was very pleased with that episode.” (Listen to Kripke tell the story)

So it’s onward and upward with all new adventures for Sam and Dean. Kripke calls it a “fun and chaotic time” in the writer’s room as he and his crew plan for an all out battle between good and evil. “It’s fun because we got to wipe the slate clean and move on to the next escalation which is this secret war. We have these terrorist demonic cells, they’re hidden among us, they could be anybody and they’re waiting to reek as much havoc as possible.”

And for Sam — well, except for the fact that his brother only has a year to live, life is good. “He’s no longer psychic, the yellow-eyed demon is dead, he’s not having visions or powers, he feels he’s in a safe place.” Yeah, right. Kripke smirks. “Tune in and find out, I just work here.”

Kripke’s final words were “shameless” pleas for the fans.

“We have the best fans in the world and we want to mobilize that army to tell their friends. We want to come back for Season Four but that’s much more in the audience’s hands than it is in ours. So tell your friends! Have parties!

And he even has a slogan you can use. “Come on in, the water’s bloody.”

Sounds like we have another exciting year in store for us at Supernatural!

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