Recently, The Collective Bloggers attended a little convention known as WonderCon 2016. I was lucky enough to sit down with the cast and crew of Wynonna Earp, the SyFy channel show based on the thrilling comic book series created by Beau Smith and adapted by Emily Adras. Our newest Collected Contributor, Jay Jaqobis, will be penning weekly reviews on this feminist, scifi, supernatural (don’t call it a) Western, and I was lucky enough to ask Emily Andras (showrunner, writer executive producer) and Beau Smith (comic book creator) a few questions at the convention this past weekend. Read our interview below and come back after the premiere to read part two of the interview, with the show’s cast members.
Part I: The Writers
Beau, what has it been like adapting your original vision into an entirely different medium?
Beau Smith: It’s been fun…
Emily Andras: I’ve got a taser under the table [laughs]. I’m watching you!
Beau Smith: I’ve always written Wynonna Earp at 40-45 years old, in the prime of her Black Badge career and Emily has opened this wonderful world of basically, the origin of Wynonna Earp and how she went from a mess to the best…
How does the comic book arc differ from the television series arc?
Beau Smith: We’re trying to do a hybrid with the comic book, where the traditional Wynonna Earp readers from the last twenty years can pick this new series up and go, “Oh yeah, it’s the origin of Wynonna Earp,” and [those traditional readers] watching the television show, they go, “Oh, Doc Holliday! He’s never been in there before, or Waverly…this is new stuff!” These are gifts [traditional readers] are getting now, so, they’re getting extras. Whereas, the people that have never read a comic book and never will, possibly, watch the television show (if they do pick it up), [those viewers] are going to go, “This is the Wynonna Earp I see on T.V. She’s getting to travel, she’s getting to do all these other adventures.”
What exactly made you want to adapt [Wynonna Earp]?
Emily Andras: Well honestly, I have a history of writing…I’ve been lucky enough to find my niche, which is showrunning genre shows with really strong female protagonists. I was on a show called Lost Girl for a really long time, I worked on a show called Killjoys, which is about bounty hunters in space and the captain is a woman. So, IDW was looking, because it’s such an extraordinary female character, for a female showrunner. When they brought it to me I thought, “If you had cooked something up in the lab that checked off every one of my buttons, it would be Wynonna Earp. It’s just so awesome. First of all, she’s so witty and funny, and she’s such a mess and gets away with so much. It’s set in the West, I grew up in Alberta, which is Canada’s Montana…so I was really looking to go back home. I feel like [the West] has been under represented on television. Fargo’s doing it, we have that crew who just did The Revenant. I really was attracted to the idea of a supernatural Western, I feel like it was due for a revival in a way that was really fun and kind of Robert Rodriguez meets Buffy meets Frozen (because of the sisters’ relationship). Honestly though, it was just the life and the tone of the comic. It’s just so fun and unapologetic and [Wynonna Earp] is such an incredible three dimensional character. I feel so lucky that they let me do it!
Emily, you mentioned the Killjoys and Lost Girl and you have a history of working with really positive LGBT and Queer characters. Why is that important to you and are we going to see that on this show?
Emily Andras: I’m Canadian–we’re pretty open minded, I would say. I’m really just interested in writing characters who, like the rest of us, are really struggling to become who they want to be versus who their parents, or society, or their peers tell them they should be or have to be. I think that comes from, first of all, being a woman, second of all, being really short [laughs]. I grew up in a really open minded household. LGBT stuff was always very important to my parents, just being a representative and stuff like that. I think it really is still an issue for our times.
The thing about Lost Girl that was so amazing was [that the show was] about sexuality but it really was not. We never put labels on stuff. We really celebrated all types of genders, all types of sex, and that fanbase is hungry for stuff where they are being represented in a way that maybe they can survive the [television] season. That’s a really loyal fanbase who are really hungry to see themselves represented on the screen. It’s an honor to be able to put those characters on screen and to maybe reward those people who haven’t seen themselves on screen before.
I know genre fans are really looking forward to [Wynonna Earp]. Are you going to be working on the Killjoys anymore?
I’m not, but God bless Michelle Lovretta! We’re such good friends, she’s the showrunner [of Killjoys] and Shamier, who plays “Agent Dolls” was just on Killjoys! Am I allowed to say that?
Shamier Anderson (“Agent Dolls”): I was! I was just on Killjoys!
Emily Andras: I cannot speak highly enough about [Michelle Lovretta]. She’s been a real mentor to me. I say she’s my Obi Wan and she’s like, “I’m two years older than you, please don’t say that to people!” [To Beau] You can be my Yoda…as long as I get to be Han Solo [laughs]. Anyway, I love that show and I love her. It’s so nice to know other female showrunners who I can turn to, and she’s really the person at three o’clock in the morning [I call to say], “I don’t think I can get this done!” [Michelle]’s like, “Don’t worry about putting on pants, you can do it, I believe in you!” So, I love that show and I wish them all the best and if I end up back in Toronto, yes, I would always go in and help them out if they need it.
Wynonna Earp premieres Friday, April 1 at 10pm on the SyFy channel.
Check out the incentives for our SDCC 2016 fundraising campaign here.
Photography of the Wynonna Earp cast by the Collected Mutineer.