Syfy’s Wynonna Earp flew under the radar when it premiered April 1, as the attention centered more on DC or Marvel Comics’ characters or other popular shows created from comics, like The Walking Dead and iZombie. I knew I’d watch as I’d been a fan of the Wynonna Earp comic for almost a decade, but I crossed my fingers, hoping that the show would live up to the book’s potential.
The show exceeded my expectations. The modern-day western featuring Wynonna, a descendant of Wyatt Earp, fighting immortal revenants created by a curse against her ancestor quickly became a must-watch.
In tone, it’s the closest thing I’ve ever found to the serious yet fun vibe of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. (You can even match up some of the characters to Buffy analogues, too, such as Waverly=Willow.) But the heart of the show is the relationship between the Earp sisters: Wynonna, the black sheep who comes back to the town of Purgatory and finds a purpose, and her younger sister Waverly, who’s stayed in Purgatory all these years and has become immersed in how to fight the Earp curse. Both begin the series still in mourning for their elder sister, Willa, abducted by the revenants, and their father, who Wynonna accidentally shot and killed while trying to save Willa.
It was the give-and-take between Wynonna and Waverly that caught my attention in the pilot and, as the show progressed, it was the characters and their interlinked relationships that cemented my love for the show. There’s Doc Holliday, driven by vengeance and unexpectedly in lust with Wynonna and with an unexpected respect for Black Badge Agent Dolls. There’s Officer Nicole Haught, a confident and concerned police officer who begins a romance with Waverly, and, finally, the mentor/student love/lust relationship between Dolls and Wynonna.
I cared about all these people. I liked spending an hour of my time with them. I’ve found that to be rare in my television watching.
It was WayHaught, as the Waverly and Nicole relationship came to be known, that caught fire among fans as the season progressed. During a television season that was unkind, to say the least, to female and lesbian characters, this relationship was not only consummated but both characters survived the season, a cause for joy for LGBTQ fans. (Yes, it’s a low bar that all you have to do is not kill the lesbian, but that low bar hasn’t been reached by many shows this past year.) And, yet, at the end of the original 13-episode run, which left several of our characters in peril, there had been no word from Syfy about a season 2.
When it came time to divide up the press requests for Comic-Con in San Diego, I claimed Wynonna Earp above all else because it was a favorite and because I felt a certain pride in its success, given my love of the comic, and my interviews with Wynonna’s creator, Beau Smith.
I discovered during the press day interviews that it was as enjoyable to spend time with the cast as it was with their television alter egos. Smith and the cast talked about the possibilities for season 2, but as it wasn’t formally announced there would be a season 2 until an hour later, at the show’s panel at Comic-Con, they naturally hedged their bets.
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR ALL OF SEASON ONE BELOW
Season 1 ended on several cliffhangers. First, Willa was killed as a result of her corruption, throwing Wynonna back into the role of the heir just when Wynonna was getting used to having her sister back and not being the child of destiny.
Dolls was arrested for disobeying orders, leaving open the mystery of exactly who and what he is and why he needs those regular injections.
Waverly got hit the hardest, as she not only found out she might not even be an Earp but was as infected by some sort of evil tentacle goo, causing her to turn her gun on Wynonna and Doc Holliday.
Since season 2 hasn’t started filming yet, the cast couldn’t supply any clear hints, but they were full of speculations. First up, Wynonna herself, Melanie Scofano, who talks about playing complex women. (Apologies for the sound quality of these videos, as they were taken only using my iPhone 6s and there was a great deal of background noise at the press roundtable.)
Scrofano went onto say that Wynonna had come so far this season, having become part of a family and getting Willa back, only to have it all blow up in her face.
“At the start, Wynonna was in total denial and it’s [the supernatural curse] ‘not real,’ then she accepts it, and tries to get better and–boom–Willa comes along just as Wynonna’s finding her way and then Wynonna loses her place as the heir but then she gets it back and then Willa’s dead,” Scrofano said. But that gives her even more layers of Wynonna to play in season 2, which Scrofano loves.
“She’s so real. As women, we’ve been asked to sometimes mask everything, and I have no interest in living my life that way or playing characters that way,” she said. “I love being in the same list with characters such as Jessica Jones.”
Asked about the implications of Waverly perhaps not being an Earp at all, Wynonna said that is sure to cause yet another layer of complication to the sister’s relationship.
“Wynonna and Waverly weren’t close as kids, that was all Willa/Wynonna, and then Waverly was cast aside when I [Wynonna] left Purgatory. They come together as the season progresses. And now… it’s going to mess with them again if Waverly isn’t an Earp. That would be very destructive to their relationship.”
Asked about the love triangle of Dolls/Wynonna/Doc, Scrofano called it as a “sh** show of egos.” “She needs them and they need her. There’s a lot of pretending all around on that.”
When Shamier Anderson (Dolls) was asked a question at the public panel about whether he supported polyamorous relationship between the trio, Scrofano translated it for him as “she wants to know if you’re good with a threesome for them,” to which Anderson replied, “Sure.”
That would certainly add another layer to the glorious hot mess that is Wynonna. (Let’s just say if Jessica Jones and Wynonna had a drink off, I’m not sure who would win…)
First, it’s fascinating to listen Dominque Provost-Chalkley talk about playing Waverly in her native accent instead of Waverly’s American/Canadian English. That out of the way, the actress talked about how much she loved Waverly’s evolution in season 1 and how excited she was for the possibilities in season two.
“I love that [showrunner] Emily Andras gave me such as part to play,” Provost-Chalkley said. All of the cast gave Andras high marks, as did Smith, who was pleased to be included on so much of the television show. Asked why their showrunner is so special, Provost-Chalkley said Andras genuinely asks and takes suggestions from the cast. “That’s special. That feels like a family.”
As for season 2, what does Provost-Chalkley think will happen with the possession?
“There’s so much. Well, there’s Waverly who’s so invested in the Earp legacy but who might not be an Earp. And there’s the possessed Waverly. Maybe she doesn’t know she’s possessed and her natural anger comes out. Maybe she doesn’t realize she’s over the top,” she said. “But, obviously, that will affect her relationships.”
Including her romance with Nicole Haught. Waverly talked about the relationship as a “gift” to play and that she’s so moved by the fans investment in the relationship.
“I saw my first Waverly cosplay yesterday and it’s just as much a memory for me as for them.”
Shamier Anderson (Dolls):
When we first meet Dolls, he’s a strict Jack Webb law-and-order-do-what-I-say lawman. But he doesn’t stay that way. Why is that?
Anderson said that’s all Wynonna Earp.
“It’s just Wynonna. She’s a force to be reckoned with. He played it cool but he cracked.”
Anderson said that Dolls has mantras and rules that he lives by but Wynonna has made him reevaluate those while, at the same time, trying to figure out his new deputy. Anderson clearly has fun with Scrofano in real-life. He laughed when he said that the scene in which Wynonna walks into the office only to find shirtless Dolls doing push-ups, producing a double-take, wasn’t just acing.
“That wasn’t just Wynonna reacting to Dolls,” he said. “That was Melanie’s reaction in real life.” He yelled “Right?” over to the next table, where Scrofano was being interviewed, and she instantly replied “Seven!” (Which she later said was in reference to Anderson physique, as it’s not just a six-pack, it’s seven.)
What’s next for Dolls now that he’s under arrest?
“Dolls is taking things one step at a time, processing what can happen to him,” Anderson said. “At the same time, Dolls is a master manipulator, so he might be focusing on how he can turn this to his advantage.”
Anderson said he would love to tackle the story of how Dolls became a member of the Black Badge division. “Maybe he was an original X-Man!” he said with a smile but, mostly, he’s hoping for a prison break from his new friends.
Including Doc Holliday.
“Doc and Dolls have an interesting dynamic,” Anderson said. “Doc is going to be onto Dolls faster than anyone else else because he can see right through him.”
Anderson also said the fight-club style scene with Doc and Dolls featured no stunt doubles. “We had a lot of ice and bandages handy,” Anderson said. He said that the extras on set that day added to the atmosphere and helped him get into character.
After, Anderson said he needed a chiropractor and a masseuse.
Tim Rozon and Beau Smith on what Doc Holliday wanted in the beginning:
When Tim Rozon’s Doc Holliday first walks on-screen in Wynonna Earp, he’s a presence.
Rozon said he was most definitely influenced by Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday. “I’ve seen that movie 100 times. I’m your Huckleberry.” Once Rozon heard this part was available, he went after it.
“My dream meter was at full maximum for this part. I wanted it so bad.” Rozon also said that he’s a true fanboy. “I was the guy down there [on the exhibit floor] with the backpack,” he said, adding that he’d do this show “for free.”
Smith said that he saw Rozon’s audition and loved it and worked Doc into the Wynonna Earp comics. “I had to get him in the comics. Emily [Andras] gave me these gifts and I’d dance on the table if I could for them.”
Rozon said the cliffhanger, with him in the crosshairs, worries him a little bit.
“At the end, there’s a gun pointed at two characters and one of them is Wynonna Earp, and the other one is me. That’s not good for me!”
Katherine Barrell (Officer Nicole Haught):
Barrell said she was thrilled to get the job playing Nicole but said she had little idea of the impact the role would eventually have.
“I had just as much idea/notice as the audience did,” Barrell said. “Emily said ‘you didn’t know?’ and I said I didn’t and she asked ‘are you okay with it?’ and I said ‘of course, it’s fantastic.'”
Barrell said several times and at the public panel that she’s overwhelmed and touched that her portrayal of Nicole has reached so many LGBTQ fans. She said the support from the LBGTQ community has been “wonderful.”
“Fans are the reason we have our jobs,” she said. “I really enjoy interactions with fans. I trained in theater and the interactions with fans give me that same feeling.”
When asked what her version of Nicole’s background and why she’s so comfortable with being who she is, Barrell said she envisioned either one of two scenarios.
“For me, I think she came from a big city. I imagine for her, being gay wasn’t a thing,” said Barrell. “Or, on the other side, she came from a place that didn’t accept her and eventually decided to be confident in herself. Whatever it is, she’s comfortable with it.”
Barrell said she was also thrilled that her character didn’t just interact with Waverly but had a whole episode with Wynonna and interaction with all the other characters.
“One of the best things the writers did on the show was to give Wynnona and Nicole a whole episode. She’s now a character instead of a love interest.”
What’s next for Officer Haught? Aside from the continuing relationship with Waverly, Barrell said she’d like to see more involvement of her character with Black Badge and Dolls, perhaps leading a prison break for Dolls.
“Nicole can read people really well,” Barrell said, explaining the character’s lack of reaction to the revelations of supernatural goings-on in Purgatory.
What’s next for the cast? Season 2, though no airdate has yet been announced.
In the meantime, you can find the show streaming on Amazon, for $2.99 per episode or $19.99 for the entire season, and other streaming vendors, such a iTunes. No word on the DVDs of season 1 but Syfy has the show returning in “2017,” so perhaps the DVDs will be released closer to the premiere of the next season.