Supernatural stars Rob Benedict, Richard Speight Jr. on their rewatch podcast, potential prequel appearances
- TV Show
God and an archangel walk into a... podcasting booth? Well, sort of.
In January, Supernatural stars Rob Benedict and Richard Speight Jr., best known for playing Chuck and Gabriel, respectively, on the long-running CW series, announced that they'd be the latest actors to take on a rewatch podcast. The actors already host a Kings of Con podcast, so this seemed like a natural — albeit very ambitious — progression.
The podcast, Supernatural Then and Now, features Benedict and Speight as they watch each episode of the 327-episode series and then interview various people who were involved in creating the show. So far, 11 episodes are available, featuring the likes of Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, executive producer Robert Singer, and many more.
EW spoke with Benedict and Speight about their new podcast (and whether they'll show up on The Winchesters).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did this all start?
ROB BENEDICT: A good friend of [Supernatural creator] Eric Kripke's is a podcast producer. He did a rewatch podcast for The Good Place. He runs this company called Story Mill, so this is what they do. He had the idea to do one for Supernatural so he went to the most logical person, Misha Collins, to host it.
RICHARD SPEIGHT JR.: Obviously.
BENEDICT: Misha didn't have the time to do it but he said, "You should reach out to Rob and Rich." We've been doing our Kings of Con podcast, so we're in that zone anyway and Misha knew that, that's why he recommended us. Not only did it appeal to us because this show has been such a big part of our lives but also, we had not seen the show from the beginning. I've not watched most of the show. I've seen episodes I'm in, I've seen episodes Rich has directed, I've seen the popular ones. But to sit down and watch from the pilot is a new experience and I'm blown away. I'm watching it as a fan for the first time and it's really fun.
SPEIGHT: We get to discover the show almost as if it's brand new to us, which gives us a fresh perspective to talk about the show, and then Steve Hein, our executive producer, goes through and carves out details and nuances that a casual viewer wouldn't necessarily know, and then we're able to bring in guests to really round it out with very specific perspectives of what it's like to be behind the scenes in a certain department or on camera and how they started: How did Jared get the job? How did Jensen get the job? How did they create the look of the show? Those kinds of things. It's really fascinating and it also plays into what Rob and I enjoy doing, which is goofing around. We get to still be Rob and Rich, doing what we like to do, which is have a casual conversation. We get to talk the way we would talk, openly and honestly, about the show. We don't have to love each episode. That's not how it is. We talk about what we like, what we don't like, which makes it honest and fun.
For those who haven't heard it yet, how would you describe the podcast?
SPEIGHT: It's for people who have seen the show 100 times, it's for people who are just now watching the show, it is a fascinating look behind the scenes of TV if that's what interests you. It also is a goofy romp through an hour of entertainment. I feel like we're striking a really fun tone of informative, loose, honoring the show but also being honest about what the show is and isn't as it proceeds through the years.
BENEDICT: People may not understand what a re-watch podcast is, but we're watching the show off-air and then coming on air and talking about that episode. So it's for people who have seen the show to get a companion piece or it's for people who have never seen the show that may be curious. You're experiencing us watching it and talking about it in real time.
SPEIGHT: You just gave us the slogan: It's super fun for the super curious.
BENEDICT: Yeah, sure. Love it.
SPEIGHT: This is the kind of magic that just happens, you can't write this stuff!
Rewatch podcasts are all the rage, but very few shows have this many episodes. Were you at all hesitant to sign up for 327 episodes? Have you done the math on how long this will take you?
BENEDICT: It's going to take a while. [Laughs]
SPEIGHT: Rob and I liken it to Christopher Wren building a cathedral. Obviously, we won't finish this, but our children and our children's children will pick up the mantle and carry it across the finish line. The second-to-last podcast will definitely be an In Memoriam to us and then the last will be our sons and daughters celebrating the end of the journey.
BENEDICT: The other day we were taping an episode and I couldn't remember another episode we've already taped in a podcast we've been doing for four months. I can only imagine in episode 300 remembering what we've said and done. We're hoping to do two seasons a year, so we can maybe do it in seven years and who knows, but it's a marathon and as of now, we're up to the challenge. I'm just excited to get to us.
SPEIGHT: It's a really fun podcast to do because we're learning so much about a show we already loved. And we're getting to relive it through the people who lived it before us and alongside us. It's really cool.
BENEDICT: I love origin stories, so it's fun to watch the origin story of how we got to where we're at now. The whole first five seasons was a bit of an origin story with Kripke figuring out what the show was. The other part of it, too, is it's a great show! It's fun to watch, it holds up!
SPEIGHT: It's true, one of the things Rob and I have been really impressed by is, maybe the cell phones look different, but that's it. Story-wise, it's super well written. Cinematically, it looks and sounds phenomenal. Acting-wise, it's not dated. Obviously, Jared looks younger and Jensen, because of his pact with Satan, looks exactly the same, but there are very few elements that make you think this is an old show. But what you do think is: This is a great show. I get why this show lasted 15 years.
From the interviews you've done so far, what are some of the things you've learned that have surprised or delighted you?
SPEIGHT: In the pilot, they used real fire and made Jared Padalecki run into a room that was actually on fire. That would never happen these days, ever. That's crazy! That was a piece of information I didn't know.
BENEDICT: It was also fun to hear, from Jensen and Jared, their audition story, which involved them realizing that they were the only choices when they went in to test for the show. It was just the two of them and they got along so well. That was great. The other thing was talking to Ivan Hayden, who did the effects, and how far technology has come and what it was like to build those effects in season 1, I thought that was really interesting, too.
Have you all been surprised by how scary some the show can be?
SPEIGHT: It's so dark! It's so scary! I tried to get my son to watch with me and we watched "Dead in the Water," and my son looked at me after watching that and said, "That's too scary for me, you shouldn't have shown me that." He was out.
What can you tell me about upcoming guests?
SPEIGHT: We started so strong with Jared and Jensen and Bob Singer, Phil Sgriccia. The guys who got the show up and running. In the future, we can expect appearances from Misha Collins, Brad Creasser, the A camera operator. We also have the myriad showrunners who will come through our door, especially Eric Kripke will eventually be sitting down with us, so we have a lot to look forward to as the episodes go on.
BENEDICT: Tomorrow we're interviewing Julie Benz. I love talking to actors like that. Julie did "Faith." It's fun to talk to actors like that who went on to do great things.
SPEIGHT: But we're going to have anybody and everybody who was associated with the show. We have a massive pool to pull from.
BENEDICT: We've got 327 episodes to find them.
SPEIGHT: We will find them.
It just occurred to me: Are you guys going to interview Paris Hilton?!
BENEDICT: Oh my god, yes, that's like season 4 or 5.
SPEIGHT: God as my witness.
BENEDICT: Yeah we'll get her. I want to get Sterling K. Brown too.
SPEIGHT: I bet Sterling will do it. Paris might be a harder sell.
I have to ask: We've got a pilot order for a Supernatural prequel. If all goes well and you're given the opportunity, would you all be interested in reprising your roles on The Winchesters?
SPEIGHT: Not only are we interested, but we expect it. We are personal friends with [writer] Robbie Thompson and [producers] Jensen and Danneel Ackles and gosh darnit, if I turn on the show and there's some other jackhole playing Gabriel, there's gonna be hell to pay. [Laughs]
BENEDICT: I think demanding it is maybe too strong, but yes, expecting it, hoping. We're excited about the show and we're excited about the possibility.
SPEIGHT: I love that the universe is continuing, it's cool. I think they're doing it in a very clever way. Obviously, we know the show had a couple of failed spin-offs, I think this is a really creative way to tell the story using characters people already know and love. I was so excited when Jensen brought in Robbie Thompson to write the script, just a great writer.
BENEDICT: He wrote some of my favorite episodes of Supernatural for sure.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki star as the Winchester brothers, hellbent on battling the paranormal forces of evil.