Supernatural fans will finally be getting a look at the spin-off they’ve been clamoring for. A backdoor pilot of Wayward Sisters will premiere as a Season13 episode of Supernatural. As showrunner Andrew Dabb told the audience at the Supernatural San Diego Comic-Con panel:
“We very much feel that we have some really, really strong female characters on the show—Jody Mills … Donna Hanscum, and Alex Jones. And we feel they would make an extremely exciting addition to the Supernatural universe.”
The CW has learned a lesson in developing a series based on what fans actually want, rather than creating something network executives think viewers need. In 2014 the CW introduced the backdoor pilot of Bloodlines during Season 9 of Supernatural. Bloodlines explored the conflicts and connections amongst several monster families in Chicago. The response to Bloodlines was negative among both critics and fans. Although Sam and Dean Winchester appeared in the episode, the slick pilot felt nothing like Supernatural. The story of warring monster families, the sophisticated backdrops, and the look of the cast resembled The Originals, another CW spin-off, much more than it did Supernatural.
Rather than creating an entirely new cast for a spin-off, the CW will utilize characters already beloved among Supernatural viewers. Fans have been clamoring for a spin-off series starring Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) for some time. In Season 9 Jody had taken in Alex Jones (Katherine Ramdeen), a young woman who had been kidnapped by vampires. Then Jody met Sheriff Donna Hanscum (Briana Buckmaster) in the comical episode “Hibbing 911.” But it was after Sam and Dean send angsty teen Claire Novak (Kathryn Newton) to live with Jody that a movement was born. In the Season 10 episode “Angel Heart,” Claire asks Sam about staying with Jody: “So, what? This is some sort of halfway house for wayward girls?”
The idea of a Wayward Daughters spin-off focusing on Jody, Donna, Alex, and Claire emerged among fans in spring 2015, after “Angel Heart” aired. The concept was embraced by actors Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster. In December 2015 Rhodes and Buckmaster started a Wayward Daughters t-shirt campaign through Creation Stands, with the funds supporting Misha Collin’s organization Random Acts. They also came to embrace the tag Wayward AF. At the 2016 Pittsburg Salute to Supernatural convention, Rhodes and Buckmaster talked about the fan-driven nature of the “Wayward” phenomena and how it was bigger than the idea of a spin-off,
Rhodes: “Wayward Daughters started with ‘as a ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had a spin-off that was from a female perspective?’’…So, it was, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to have a spin-off?’ Well, what would that spin-off look like? Well, what is valid about those voices? Well, why do we deserve to be heard? Well, what do we want to say? Well, who are we? Well, f*** a spin-off, we’ve got us! And that’s what it turned into… because of the mass movement. We had nothing to do with it.”
Buckmaster: “You could credit us, and we’re happy to have it, but honestly, it’s all you. …It was just something that was, I guess, wanted or needed or was just a good time for it.”
The “Wayward” movement came to be emblematic of fan empowerment. It would have been a powerful movement regardless, but the development of a spin-off will only serve to reinforce the power of fan participation.
A pilot based on characters already known to the Supernatural fandom will certainly help create support for the network to pick up the spin-off series, assuming the story is well-received. Of course, viewers already had a glimpse of what this series could look like with the Season 11 episode “Don’t You Forget About Me,” in which Sam and Dean pay a visit to Jody, Alex, and Claire. The episode was widely praised, and no one could forget the wonderful dinner table scene. A female-led spin-off will be a great counterpart to the original Supernatural series. The current series cast is dominated by male actors, yet has a predominantly female fanbase. With several female leads, Wayward Sisters could be a refreshing change for the franchise.
Deadline reported that the Wayward Sisters pilot includes Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes), Sheriff Donna Hanscum (Briana Buckmaster), Claire Novak (Kathryn Newton) and Alex Jones (Katherine Ramdeen), along with new character Patience Turner (Clark Backo). Patience Turner is the estranged granddaughter of psychic Missouri Moseley, who appeared in the Season 1 episode “Home.” Patience has inherited her grandmother’s gift, which leads to her being hunted by dark forces.
The pilot for Wayward Sisters will be launched sometime during Season 13 of Supernatural, which returns to The CW on Thursday, October 12.