Wynonna Earp: Showrunner Emily Andras sounds off on Season 3

Canadian Wynonna Earp fans have had to wait a few days longer than our friends in the U.S. That’s because Syfy offered up a special preview of “Blood Red and Going Down” this past Monday while those grumpy Guses at Space stuck to their guns (see what I did there?) and are waiting until Friday for us to see it.

Being a member of the media has its advantages. I’ve seen Season 3’s return “Blood Red and Going Down.” Simply put? It’s sublime. After a year away, sliding back into Purgatory alongside Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano), Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley), Doc (Tim Rozon), Dolls (Shamier Anderson), Nicole (Kat Barrell) and Jeremy (Varun Saranga) has been ever so sweet. And with new characters via Kate (Chantel Riley) and big bad Bulshar (Jean Marchand), this pile of episodes promises to be a thrill ride.

We spoke to Wynonna Earp showrunner Emily Andras while we were at the Banff World Media Festival and she had the following to say.

The support behind Wynonna Earp has been incredible, especially from folks like Josh at Syfy.
Emily Andras: Yes, I feel like we are so lucky that we have tapped into something that we just can’t buy, which is kind of fan-driven passion. So I’m so happy people are leaning in. Even the excitement around the trailer, like ‘We trended on Twitter.’ I just think everybody’s kind of having fun with it and being like ‘OK, anticipation, here we go.’

I am constantly fascinated by the passion of the fans and how they really latched on and it’s beloved. So that said, can you not kill anybody on the show now?
EA: I think I have to still make the show be dramatic, how about that? Because … it is still a supernatural show with huge stakes and it’s terrifying. Yes, it’s terrifying, especially when you don’t have Walking Dead numbers. We kind of have a cast of six, maybe eight if you’re doing some funky Canadian TV math. Yeah, it’s incredibly challenging but at the same time, it’s a show about life and death. The metaphor I always use, I drive it into the ground is ‘I’m gonna drive the bus. You can get on the bus, you can be drunk on the bus and probably should be. You can scream at the bus driver, you can get off the bus and flip the bird and say I’m not riding this stupid bus anymore but we can’t all grab the wheel of the bus or the bus is going over a cliff.’ I definitely feel it’s a fascinating time for creators insofar as with so much immediate feedback, does that help or hinder storytelling? I’m like, ‘If Nicole Haught wears the wrong sweater, I’m gonna hear about it. My family is going to have to go to witness protection.

I’m only partially kidding. I went to a panel in Austin and I wanted to be really careful about this. It was about modern fandom and there was a lot of bemoaning from people about ‘Well the fans just don’t understand behind the scenes why decisions were made.’ And so often it’s budget or a network executive or an actor wants to lead is another thing that happens, a ton of times. But at the same time, as the showrunner, I feel like the buck stops with me and that’s the covenant with the fans. I have asked them to be on social media helping me push this delicious content so when they’re unhappy it super sucks but … maybe you just gotta weather it a bit. So remind me I said that. If anything terrible happens this year.

It’s true because you walk that line as a showrunner, a head writer and you’ve got a room full of writers, you’re writing the show for yourselves.
EA: Exactly.

But you also have to walk that fine line with the fans because you want to keep them entertained, you want them in your corner. You don’t want to anger anyone but you also don’t want to make a show that’s just for the fans to keep them happy because then you’ve got a boring show.
EA: Lots of people would like domesticated Wayhaught sitting on the couch making cookies and I’ll try to give you that scene if I can but that is not a Syfy show and Syfy’s not going to want that show. And you’re not actually going to love that show. It’s going into a third season because this is it. In the first season, we made the whole thing. We were running around the woods in Calgary and being like ‘Is there even film in this camera?’ But it kind of felt like we were doing some crazy demon hunting skits in the woods and then it dropped and people liked it.

And then in the second season, people were just so happy to have more of it. But now in the third season, there’s no doubt. People have expectations, people have wants, people have put their hopes and dreams on characters and storylines. I have done this dance before with Lost Girl … with semi-Canadian success comes semi-Canadian responsibly. So I’m ready, but I think the only rule I tell my writers to keep us all grounded when we’re kind of flailing and nervous is the one rule is the story has to be consistent with character.

The characters have to act the way the characters would act. Even if terrible things happened or they make mistakes, or they die, or they break up, or what have you, as long as it feels like, ‘Yes, this character would do it,’ even if you hate their decision as you would hate it if your friend made a terrible decision, I hope to fans are at least like ‘I don’t love this but it still feels like my show.’ That’s the only thing I can try to do. It’s not to do with story for story’s sake but to have it come from who these beloved characters are.

This third season, is this where you’re chugging along like ‘Yeah, this is where I wanted to be’?
EA: Yes, great question. The third season is batshit insane. So we’ll see if people like it. But there’s such a confidence to the performances in particular. It’s so delightful. Everybody just hits the ground running, very few people are pregnant this season, some would say none.

I’m just so incredibly proud of this cast because you feel it in the confidence. And their confidence with the material, their confidence to deliver both wit and quips while fighting a demon and hopefully getting the emotion and ending in tears.

Every year from the writer perspective, you have to be like, ‘How are we gonna up the stakes, what crazy cliffhangers are we gonna have?’ But there is a confidence this year that just feels like if you love the show, I just think you’re going to be so happy from the first moment you see Wynonna to hopefully the last.

Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Space.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.
Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and owner of TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from hundreds of television series from Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He is a podcaster, public speaker, weekly radio guest and educator, and past member of the Television Critics Association.
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