*** Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on The TV Junkies and has been republished here with the consent of its author. ***
132 days. That’s how long Wynonna Earp fans lived in uncertainty. Similar to their beloved show, they had found themselves in a state of TV purgatory. Despite being renewed by SYFY and Space for a Season 4 and 5, financial issues with IDW Entertainment, the studio behind Wynonna Earp, caused production on the show to halt in early 2019. So for 132 days, Wynonna Earp fans began a #FightForWynonna campaign that let IDW, the networks and the world know how much they loved their show and wanted it back. From trending worldwide on Twitter to buying billboards in support of the show in Times Square, Earpers never let the Fight die and it worked! On July 2, it was confirmed that preproduction on Season 4 will resume in the fall and filming on Season 4 will begin in January 2020.
Now that it’s been a little over a week since the news about Wynonna Earp’s future was announced, The TV Junkies caught up with showrunner Emily Andras to reflect back on her thoughts about the Fight. Andras’ took to Twitter on February 22, 2019 tweeting “Don’t fuck with my family,” which Earpers essentially took as a battle cry and that signaled the first signs of trouble for fans. Always one to have a close relationship with her fans through social media, Andras talks to us about the relief she felt once fans were aware and that she knew, along with the show’s cast and crew, that with the fans, they were all in this battle together.
Andras also shared with us how the fight of the Earpers has affected her personally and the lessons that she’s taken away from all of it. She talks about the dedication of so many of her fans, as well as those behind the scenes who worked tirelessly to make this deal possible. The Wynonna showrunner also discusses the important role the many fan conventions that have cropped up around the show played in keeping up morale of not only the fandom, but of herself and the cast. Wynonna Earp will have a presence at the upcoming San Diego Comic Con next weekend and Andras says that they plan to celebrate in full while there. However, once that’s over she will soon turn her thoughts towards Season 4 and carrying over the fans’ goodwill into the next season.
The TV Junkies: We’ve now had over a week to digest the information that work on Wynonna Earp Season 4 will resume later this year. Can you even believe the Fight is finally over? Has any of this sunk in yet?
Emily Andras: No, I can’t believe it! I feel like I have PTSD and am so scared of getting tricked that this is some glorious prank. I’m just so happy and so relieved. I feel like a weight has been lifted from my beautiful Canadian shoulders, and I have now moved into typical writing mode where I’m terrified that I actually have to do it, write it and make it good enough to reward all the Earpers. That’s a feeling I feel much more comfortable with though, that uncertainty and insecurity.
I’m just so grateful we didn’t have to wait until San Diego [Comic Con]. It took a long time, but the second the contracts were signed, the t’s were crossed and the i’s were dotted, we told the Earpers. I kind of like that it happened that way and I don’t think a lot of people saw it coming. It was just on a random July 2 and that was really fun.
TTVJ: When you sent out the rallying cry, did you have any idea that Earpers would respond the way they did and to that level?
EA: No, I didn’t. I’m four years into this extraordinary journey and it’s blossomed beyond my wildest dreams. The fandom has become something magical and beautiful unto itself, even separate from the series and from our creation. I kept saying to the people behind the scenes, ‘this is a really extraordinary fandom, and I know that I seem like someone that has a particular stake in the game and that I might seem biased, but I’m telling you, they really are the most determined group of people. They are not just going to let this die.’ So my fear was that when I finally said ‘it’s time to fight,’ it was going to fizzle out and people had moved onto other amazing shows, of which there are many.
The response is so beyond my wildest dreams and so glorious. It freaked me out in the best way. It was immediate. It was creative. It was positive and it felt fierce. I’ve even read a couple articles that don’t give enough credit to how much the fans’ fight helped. It just made it so that it was going to be impossible for the powers that be to not make the show. It’s all thanks to the Earpers that we did save Season 4.
TTVJ: Personally, it felt very inspiring on those days when I felt really down or not in the Fight to see everyone else out there tweeting. Did you feel encouraged through the Fight with the constant influx of Fight For Wynonna content that seemed to be out there?
EA: It never wavered. Nobody ever gave up and that made all the difference. It’s the sign of a good healthy relationship, and I have this rule with my partner, where we try to both not be super depressed or angry at the same time — someone has to be the positive one. You then make sure it’s working out equally and you each get to have your bad day. So I know what you mean because Earpers could’ve gotten exhausted and they have day jobs, families and lives, but there was always someone online coming up with something hilarious, or a theme day or a gif thread that was so great. It felt like we all had each other’s backs. This is a once in a lifetime community.
I really put myself out there, to be honest, and I feel very lucky that I am still allowed to make the show, but there were so many times I couldn’t say anything. I knew people were scrambling and working so hard behind the scenes to get this going, get the funding we needed, bring partners on board and make sure the cast was re-upped. So there were a lot of times near the end where I knew we were close, but I couldn’t say anything. I feel like those were the toughest times because I could sense some fatigue in the fandom, but the one promise I made was that I wasn’t going to just let this die without one last kick. So I hope people knew it was ‘I will send up the bat signal if I have to if we are really in trouble, but in the meantime, don’t mistake my silence for passivity or quit. Because it’s not.”
TTVJ: Who were some of the behind the scenes people that deserve recognition on making this deal happen?
EA: The people at SYFY and Space never wavered in their commitment to Wynonna. They really dug deep, both dedication-wise and financially, to find those extra pennies in the couch cushions and put everything on the table. The people at IDW did rally and work really hard. There’s always Josh [Van Houdt] at SYFY who works his butt off and is the most incredible ally I’ve ever had. One person who I think deserves a ton of credit is Jordy Randall at Seven24. He is an executive producer behind the scenes, but he’s the one who is on the phone endlessly and tirelessly with sales people and agents. He does it with so much patience and grace, never loses his cool, is so steady and is always so sure that we can win. He was really someone who deserves a ton of credit in bringing this all together.
Also the commitment of this cast and crew. People have to work and feed their families, and there was a point where no one had a job, no one was on contract and no one had been paid in a long time. That’s OK and that’s the business, but it speaks to how we feel about the fandom that we kept a place in our hearts, lives and careers for Season 4 until the bitter end. We carved out that space and I’m so grateful to them for doing that, but it’s because of the fans.
TTVJ: I think the fandom really sees and feels that commitment of the cast and it’s why everyone in the fandom found ways to contribute.
EA: The fans deserve so much credit. I also want to shout out the New York Earpers for covering the billboards. The thing I was worried about with them was the dedication to trudging down to Times Square after a work day. It’s New York City and that’s a big deal, man! Their dedication was so appreciated and I even worried about it. Everyone really worked together with that though and coordinated it and that’s why it worked so well. It’s so extraordinary because people are so smart in this fandom, so respectful and so creative.
TTVJ: It’s really remarkable how quickly the Earper fandom seems to mobilize and get organized on something.
EA: They are and they play to their strengths which really brings a tear to my eye. A lot of people in the fandom are women and so to see women take control, be determined and put a plan into action, that’s what really moved me and almost made me cry. I’ve fallen in love with this fandom, and what they did to save Wynonna in a tricky time right now politically, I hope it galvanizes people personally. Let this only encourage you in your real life that if you truly want to make change, you can. You’re so smart, capable and organized. It’s that old quote that showing up is 95% of the battle. I truly believe that. That’s a more meta message that I hope everyone takes from this. When I think about everything that these people can do — hey, Wynonna #1 and World Peace #2. [laughs] It’s extraordinary.
A lot of people said to me ‘are you OK?’ once they found out. The honest truth was that it was hard, but the hardest part for me was before I got my people involved. It was harder for me when I was alone with this information. Once I knew I had the fandom, I was galvanized too and hopeful.
I see so many leaders in this fandom. It’s your time. The Earpers are such a mirror of what we can do and something positive. It’s people who maybe haven’t been in positions of leadership, power or decision making before, but that’s me, right? I’m the antithesis of a showrunner to be honest, in a million different ways. For me to spread that like a delicious no-chill virus into your lives would be the greatest gift.
TTVJ: Wynonna Earp now has Season 4, but you’ve had Season 4 before. What do you recommend as the best way for Earpers to channel their energy now?
EA: Hopefully they like Season 4 enough that we can keep going and do Season 5. We made a lot of noise, and the one thing that’s been a bonus of the Fight for Wynonna, ironically, is that it’s gotten us yet another round of attention. Maybe people are now willing to give the show a chance, see what we’re all yelling about and buying billboards for. So continue to welcome people to the fandom, and it’s so very important to watch the show under the means by which decision makers get your eyeballs. By that I mean show up and participate in the live tweet, watch it on SYFY and Space, buy it from iTunes and do all the things we can do.
I think that IDW is very carefully going to maybe launch some Wynonna Earp merchandise. I’m hoping they are going to consult with fandom artists that are already active in the community. I want to make sure there’s room for everybody, and it’s important for us behind the scenes, that people who are already creating amazing Earp art continue to do so. I think there’s enough of an audience, enough of a need, and enough of a desire that we can all share the space. I think that’s important, but look at that merchandise and buy that stuff if you like it. Continue talking about Wynonna Earp to your friends and family and tweeting about it.
Thank SYFY and Space and people behind the scenes who never wavered on Wynonna and continued to fight for us. People like to hear that because they’re all just people, right? These people really kept going when things seemed dire. It would’ve been easy for them to just say ‘we can’t do it and it’s not our fault.’ They didn’t and they held a spot for us and that was a lot in this business.
Keep supporting us in all the ways you have. I hope to see you at the Earp conventions and let’s keep sharing the love.
TTVJ: Let’s touch on the conventions a bit. How important do you think those were in keeping Earpers together and morale up?
EA: They really reminded us all of how much we love each other. Earp Expo, what do the kids say? It single-handedly cleared my skin, watered my crops and impregnated my cattle. I’m not sure they say the last one, but I do. Even for me, when I was feeling down and like we were all screaming into the void or wondering if people remember us, when we went to the cons, especially ClexaCon and Earp Expo during the Fight, they were actually magical.
This is my thing, and I think people think I’m a bit of a Pollyanna, but this fandom is like Tinkerbell for me. I just don’t think it can get any more magical, special and moving and it continuously does. It’s continuously evolving in ways that are life-changing for me personally, as well as for the Earpers.
What’s so great about the Earp cons is that they are run by Earpers. They do this in their free time and I’ve just been so proud of them. They’ve run as smoothly as any high-level, professional, 50 year old con I’ve ever gone to. They are all run by women and women who are just stepping forward and saying ‘why not me? Why can’t I lead and put on this event?’ They’ve been incredible!
What I see again, in the fandom, is just these tendrils of people coming into their own and gaining their own confidence when they didn’t think they could before. It’s such a Wynonna story and mirrors Wynonna Earp’s story in a weird way.
TTVJ: You had started work on Season 4 prior to all of the Fight for Wynonna happening. Have any of your plans for Season 4 changed at all now that you’ve gone through the Fight?
EA: It’s still pretty fresh for me, to be completely honest, so I am not planning on doing a deep dive into the work we’ve generated until after San Diego, at least. I want to celebrate in San Diego, eat an entire lobster in front of my producer — which is tradition — have an incredible panel and be with the people that I love — my cast and the Earpers. Then I’ll get down to brass tacks.
You know what it has done for me? It’s so grueling doing a TV show and Wynonna really is a 365 days a year job for me — developing it, shooting it, editing it and then promoting it. I don’t really get a break, and that’s why it’s such a gift that I love it because you live and breathe it. What this Fight for Wynonna has done for me is given me a little bit of a chance to breathe and remember specifically what people love about the show. The show is so fast-paced and crazy, and we’re three seasons in and come a long way since Season 1. I’m not saying that we’re going to do a full return to form, but it’s really just reminded me why people are showing up to fight, what they love about these characters, what they want to see on their TV screen and what makes this show special. I’m hoping that I can hold onto those feelings and when we’re all making it we can strive to give you more specifically of what you love, in a way that’s still surprising and makes you yell at me all weekend over Twitter.
That’s really helped me realize that the same reason we’re fighting for Wynonna is the reason Wynonna and her gang fights. I hope we see more of those themes in Season 4.