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INTERVIEW: Jensen Ackles and Danneel Ackles Talk Music in ‘The Winchesters’

Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole

Jensen Ackles and Danneel Harris at New York Comic Con

New York Comic Con is where dreams come true, like letting me talk to Jensen Ackles and Danneel Ackles about the music of Supernatural and how it carries into The Winchesters. The prequel series set in the Supernatural universe is hitting the CW soon and with it comes the story of John Winchester (Drake Rodger) and Mary Campbell (Meg Donnelly) prior to them being the parents of Sam and Dean. Set in the early 70s, the series is about…well, saving people and hunting things but it also brings a fascinating new element to the franchise.

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Music. Or at least where Dean’s love of the music his father shared with him started at. Most of the music that took over the world of the long-running series was based in the later half of the 70s and ran the whole way to the 90s (which isn’t saying much since the series started in 2005). But music was such an important part of the story that it wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t explore where John’s love for what is now deemed “classic” rock came from.

So I asked where music would play a part in the series knowing that it is expensive to add huge songs into the fold and also because the series is set prior to many of the songs we know and love from the original series. “It depends on the ratings because we need a lot of people to watch this show,” Danneel Ackles joked, followed by Jensen Ackles responding “So we can get a music budget, cause the music budget is tight.”

The two joked a lot about their planning for the series and Jensen Ackles did talk about a playlist that Danneel Ackles created prior to production. “When we started out and we first started this journey with Robbie (Thompson) and the two of us, she sent out one of, probably, the first emails regarding this project and it was a playlist she made,” he went on to say. “And it was all of that kind of music but the tricky thing was that we were trying to be time authentic. There was a lot that happened after ’73, there was a lot of good music.”

Danneel Ackles went on to talk about the difference in music as well. “Because 1972 still has a lot of carry over from the last 60s” (which Jensen Ackles also noted the carry over from the 50s) “so there’s a lot of like The Supremes and a lot of R-n-B.”

Jensen Ackles went on to talk a bit more about the music as well. “So it will skew a bit older but look, a lot of great music came out in the late 60s and we might be asking for forgiveness on a few songs if it’s like ‘oh that was ’75’ well…”

The leg work that Supernatural did

Another journalist next to me asked a follow-up about the music, asking whether or not they received any pushback from bands who didn’t want their music included and Jensen Ackles said no and credited that to the success that Supernatural had. “I think that Supernatural did a lot of leg work, as far as that goes, because you talk about Kansas, for instance, those guys are like ‘Supernatural needs us?’ and those guys are like Superman and just show up. We just put out the Bat signal for Kansas.”

Danneel Ackles then asked us all if we were recording this and when we said yes, she then asked a favor: “So there’s this band called Greta Van Fleet and I’m obsessed with them and Jensen’s obsessed with them and we really want them to come on and do a song on the show.”

The two joked about knowing they’re modern but they sound time period appropriate and so Greta Van Fleet, if you’re listening, the Winchesters need you. The series premieres tonight on The CW and it is a perfect entrance into a new Supernatural story that gives us a look at Mary and John Winchester prior to their days with Sam and Dean and it’s going to be a fun ride. With some great tunes.

(image: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for ReedPop)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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