Syfy’s Wynonna Earp fans (“Earpers”) learned the series will be returning for a third season during the show’s panel at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con. Showrunner/executive producer Emily Andras and the cast were a huge draw at the Con, taking part in a Q&A with fans while celebrating the series’ third season renewal. The cast, including Melanie Scrofano, Tim Rozon, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Katherine Barrell, Shamier Anderson, Varun Saranga, and Tamara Duarte, also sat down for roundtable interviews during this year’s Con.
Showrunner Andras explained the thought process behind Wynonna’s pregnancy reveal and writing interesting female characters during our interview at Comic Con.
How do you manage to give everyone such deep storylines without letting any character fall behind?
Emily Andras: (Laughing) “It’s like those people who can spin plates on sticks. I can’t wait until the day it all comes crashing down and you’re like ‘asterisks to my question.’ I just really love all the characters and I think on a show that is maybe a little bit of an underdog show like ours is…I always say we have a Game of Thrones cut up veggies budget, you know what I mean, for the entire run of our show…you really need character to be consistent and be developed, and act in character. I think that’s like my one rule. I have no rules in writing; I will try it all. My writers know that, but I really think the character needs to act the way Dolls would act, the way Waverly would act, even if it makes story harder or the challenges harder. I think the audience has bought into that. That’s kind of the covenant you’ve made with the audience. I just like my characters 3-dimensional. I think it’s so much more rich. Thank god we don’t have a cast of thousands. That would be a nightmare.”
This is one of the best feminist sci-fi shows and you’re a feminist. How do approach that when you’re writing?
Emily Andras: “I just trick everybody. I honestly just threw in so many female characters. If it didn’t have a first name, you cast it as a woman. I really think Syfy the network deserves credit. They have not once said to me, ‘Can you tone it down with the vagina talk?’
I think genre as a rule is really inclusive. Since the time of Star Trek, certainly hopeful genre portrays a world that we want to live in, one that celebrates diversity and equality. So, I almost think it’s easier in genre to comment on that stuff. And, really, I didn’t pull any punches. When I pitched the show, I was like, ‘I want to do a Western but with all the traditional male characters as women.’ I don’t feel like I’ve tricked anybody.
I don’t know. It’s just really important to me. I’ve never written on a show without a female protagonist. It’s just kind of been my privilege in my writing life, and now I feel like it’s kind of my jam. It’s working out okay.”
Can you talk about handling the pregnancy and keeping it a secret?
Emily Andras: “[…] I really wanted to keep it a secret so I didn’t do a lot of the traditional stuff you see on shows. There was no morning sickness. I tried to keep it as steady as it happened because I really wanted it to be as big a surprise for Wynonna as it was for the fans. It is honestly a miracle in this day and age we kept that a secret though. It’s funny, too, for our younger fans – obviously I’m only 24, no – I just remember in my day in the cave with my dinosaur we didn’t have the internet so we didn’t get spoilers. But I feel like spoilers are so much a part of everyday culture and if you’re a rabid fan, it’s hard to avoid them. You think you want to know, even though you might not want to. So, what an amazing gift for the audience that so many of the fans were surprised. They were all in it together when they found out. And also, what a testament to the cast and crew that everybody kept it quiet. It just speaks to the love we have on set and the respect we have for Melanie I think that everybody really took it seriously. Sure, I wanted to do it but I didn’t think we’d actually pull it off.”
Was the decision to make the pregnancy so quick always the plan to get her from point A to point B?
Emily Andras: “Nothing was always the plan because once the pregnancy happened, you’re like, ‘Uh!’ Obviously when we did the math of how far along Mel was, and of course she still looks amazing, but we’re like she is seven months here. She gave birth four days after we wrapped, so it was like a miracle we made it. Which is also part of the reason we knew we had to incorporate the pregnancy. We’re like, ‘She’s nine months but this isn’t a sitcom. I just can’t have her holding an increasingly large series of laundry baskets. I want her to kick some ass!’
I was proud of that episode. I mean, it’s a bit of a supernatural genre trick but it was all done in good faith. If you know that trope, I hope you get that it’s a little bit of a wink. So, yeah, it was fun. And also, to be honest, just talking about the type of character Wynonna is…she’s single, she’s a borderline alcoholic. Do I think she would keep the baby if she had a choice with the fate of an Earp heir? No, and as a feminist show I think that choice needs to be put on the table. But I also think so much of the theme of the show is destiny keeps screwing over Wynonna and not giving her a choice, but every day she gets up and she’s like, ‘I’m still going to fight to make the choice I want wherever I can.’ So, it all kind of came together. Plus, the Sandman!”
Have you thought about season 3? (The interview took place before the season 3 announcement.)
Emily Andras: “Yeah, aggressively. I felt like if we get a season three, I will have a minute of elation and then immediate panic. As soon as you lose that fear as a writer, you’re dead. Every season I look back at the season before and I’m like, ‘How did past Emily do that? I don’t remember how to do this?’ Yeah, I’ll keep telling you stories as long as you all let me. And even if you try to stop me, I’ll show up at Syfy’s door and be like, ‘Here are the scripts.’ They’ll be like, ‘We didn’t order any scripts.’”
Can we expect any surprise pairings by the end of this season?
Emily Andras: “You can, yes, and on all cliffhanger endings from here on out. It’s crazy.”
You really brought it in episode 7 (which aired July 21st).
Emily Andras: “Oh, that was nothing. That was a soft landing.”
(Continuing with her “pairings” answer.)
Emily Andras: “Yes, I would say so. I think the cast is so strong, one of my favorite things to do is I like exploring weird relationships. I want to know what Dolls and Nicole is like, or Doc and Nedley. I like to do it all and the cast is so strong I feel like that’s really fun to put two characters together and be like, ‘Okay, in the workplace what are they like without Wynonna?’ and stuff like that.”
And we’ll be spending a little time exploring some backstories, too?
Emily Andras: “Yeah, I think so. (Referencing episode 8 airing July 28, 2017). Next episode for sure we are going to learn a little bit more about the Earp curse through a very interesting device. And, of course, we have to figure out if Waverly’s really an Earp or not.”