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Warning: spoilers ahead for Supernatural's backdoor pilot for Wayward Sisters. If you haven't watched yet, you may want to check out some of our non-spoilery articles until you get the chance to tune in.
Supernatural just returned to the airwaves with its midseason premiere, but it wasn't business as usual with the Winchester brothers. Sam and Dean had been trapped in the Bad Place in the midseason finale, and the job of rescuing them fell to the women who will star in the upcoming Wayward Sisters spinoff. The episode functioned as a backdoor pilot for the spinoff and featured a positively epic action sequence that pitted the ladies against monsters on a dilapidated old ship in a race against the clock to rescue the Winchesters before the portal to the Bad Place closed.
Actress Briana Buckmaster reprised her role as Sheriff Donna Hanscum for Wayward Sisters, and she recently spoke to CinemaBlend about how that intense shootout was filmed:
The stunts are pretty crazy. We had been stunt training for a few months. We got an email from the producers going 'You guys need to get training. We're not going to pussyfoot around you guys as being actual badasses. We're gonna make you actual badasses.' So we trained for months beforehand with... the stunt coordinators for Supernatural. And they took us to the gun range... In the stunt training, we learned jiu jitsu and disarms and boxing. Then in the pilot we did a lot of gunwork. Now, we had gone to the range a few times and that was pretty great to learn actually how to shoot guns. Now on set, it was very different because, for instance there's a sequence where I'm running up the stairs. Well, I need to do that however many times, so that entails me running up the stairs, making sure I land on the exact same step every time and then turning around and pointing the gun at a certain spot that is not my actual target but also pointing it away from the cameraman because that's dangerous. So it's not just turn around and point it at the bad guy when you're shooting. You actually have to have your gun, you have to turn and have your gun in a very specific position, pointed in a very specific position because there's a good chance there'd a squib there that's going to explode, and they have to be let off at the exact same time that you pull the trigger. So there's so many things involved! It was a learning curve, but it was incredible. I love the fact that I can get to work and burn at the same time.
As it turns out, that big action sequence was the result of months of training from the actresses. The folks behind the scenes evidently wanted the women to be able to pull off the badass action themselves without faking it or forcing the camera to cut away from their faces at all the most amazing moments. Briana Buckmaster and the other actresses who will star in Wayward Sisters received physical fighting training as well as training in firearms, and all the work definitely showed in the backdoor pilot for the series.
The stunts on the ship were just about as epic as anything Sam and/or Dean have pulled off over the 13 years of Supernatural so far, and they set Wayward Sisters up as an action-packed series. Filming the fight sounds just about exhausting as it was incredible. Running around and fighting monsters is apparently quite a workout! The entire battle against the monsters wouldn't have looked nearly as seamless if the characters were pointing their guns in the wrong directions or the squibs were exploding where the guns weren't even pointing. If the timing or performances were off, the whole thing would have looked silly rather than badass. Luckily, the actresses delivered, and we got a battle that showed off just what the characters will be able to do when Wayward Sisters debuts.
Wayward Sisters stars Briana Buckmaster as Donna Hanscum, Kim Rhodes as Jody Mills, Kathryn Love Newton as Claire Novak, Katherine Ramdeen as Alex Jones, Clark Backo as Patience Turner, and Yadira Guevara-Prip as Kaia Nieves. No official word has yet been released on when Wayward Sisters will premiere as a separate spinoff. The first 12 seasons of Supernatural are available streaming on Netflix if you want to check out earlier appearances of Donna, Jody, and Claire.