Wynonna Earp showrunner and cast discuss LGBTQIA+ representation and hopes for season 4


Press was able to sit down with the cast of Wynonna Earp at the third annual ClexaCon to talk LGBTQIA+ representation, fan interaction, and much more.

Wynonna Earp appeared on our screens during a year of mass kill-offs of LGBTQIA+ identifying characters on television. Showrunner Emily Andras was quick to assure fans that the queer folk on her show were here to stay, and fans across the country were forever grateful for that. But recent news of lack of funding is putting season 4 of this beloved show in jeopardy.

I had the chance to speak with Wynonna Earp‘s showrunner Emily Andras as well as Katherine Barrell (Nicole Haught) and Dominique Provost-Chalkley (Waverly Earp) at ClexaCon 2019 to address why this show means so much to so many. And why fans aren’t giving up without a fight.

WYNONNA EARP — “The Other Woman” Episode 310 — Pictured: (l-r) Dominique Provost-Chalkley as Waverly Earp, Melanie Scrofano as Wynonna Earp — (Photo by: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc./Syfy)

Kat, unfortunately you didn’t get the funding for Pooched: The Series. What are the next steps and what can the fans do to help more?

Kat Barrell: Thank you, that’s so awesome of you to ask about that! No, we didn’t get the funding for the first round. But we have plan B, C, X, Y, XX (laughs). So plan B is that we applied for another funding body this past week. We’ll see how that goes. And then plan C is just pay for it and make it ourselves.

How can you guys can help? Well, it’s been so helpful because you guys did all the #flatBernie stuff and all the amazing social media stuff. We were able to create this huge marketing plan with all those numbers in one document, and that was immensely helpful. So how people can help is just continue with #flatBernie and continue to engage with Pooched: The Series so we can keep using those metrics. We’re going to go after some sponsorship as well. But what they need to see evidence of is an audience that already exists. So that’s basically it — just engage and use the little flat Bernie and make him go everywhere in the world! That is incredibly helpful and we can really use those numbers. It’s been amazing to see everybody get behind it. Thank you for asking about that and supporting it!

What has inspired you lately? What books, movies, TV shows have you been really into?

Dominique Provost-Chalkley: I just watched Unicorn Store! Oh my God! I mean, surprise surprise. I just thought it was so beautiful! Everything about it is stunning. [Brie Larson] is so special! How real she is. How amazing that that’s the story she’s chosen to tell you. You have to watch it. I won’t spoil anything but I bawled and bawled and bawled my eyes out. Everything about that character spoke to me in such a big way. Oh also,The Good Place!

Emily Andras: So just because obviously I’m like four years behind everything, I watched Crazy Rich Asians on the plane. I was so moved by it. I was just so moved by the fact that the entire cast was Asian. I remember the first 10 minutes when I just saw the cast and it was treated so normal and it was so rich and all the characters were so different and yet it was an all Asian cast. It’s just incredible that we see this now. And so many people next to me on the plane were watching it and I was like, I just don’t want to take this for granted — this moment in history that we’re getting more and more of these stories. And I hope we can continue to do that where we can just tell all sorts of stories that everyone can laugh at and whatnot. So I loved it.

KB: I’m watching Russian Doll. Loved it! I loved the ideas behind it. It’s really quite good. I really want to get into American Gods. People are either camp yes or camp no. And also, has anyone seen Vox Lux yet? Yes, Natalie Portman! It just came out. It’s a film. It’s just so good. There’s a lot of really interesting storytelling choices and the way they tell the story — she’s great. She’s fearless.

How do you feel the acceptance of queer content has changed in media the past couple years?

EA: I just think there’s no more denying that there’s such a powerful audience for queer storytelling. We’re seeing more diverse ways again to tell queer stories. That’s incredible. We have seen comedies, dramas, romances. We’ve all seen Carol many, many times. [everyone laughs] So that kind of bolsters me. There’s not just one way to tell a queer story, which sounds unusual. But certainly, when I was starting out, I feel like when you introduced a character who’s LGBTQIA+, it was necessary to have their coming out story and their struggle and maybe some challenges with her home life, which are certainly parts of growing up queer, but that’s not the only story we have to tell anymore.

That’s not the only story you have to tell anymore. Now. They’re just part of the world and part of their own world and have their own friendships and relationships. So again, that makes me happy. This is such a good example, I think of not having to have the same type of gay character on the show. For example, on Wynonna Earp, we’re able to have multiple representations of LGBTQIA+ characters and relationships and friendships and family relationships and whatnot. Any story you want to tell with characters who happen to be LGBTQIA+, there’s an audience for it.

Please let’s get some gay astronauts though. That’s all I’m saying. [everyone laughs]

You three go to a lot of cons and meet a lot of fans.  What is it about coming back to ClexaCon and getting to be with the fans that’s special this time around?

EA: It’s been a tough winter. Both physically, because I live in Canada, and just because obviously, we’re definitely in a unique situation this year and fighting for the type of stories we want to tell which is Wynonna Earp season 4. I think just for us to be together and to see the fans and see some Earpers and remember how much what we do matters, it just feels like a tonic for lack of a better term. It’s energizing.

DPC: It’s also really comforting. Because I feel like we’re all going through it together, but separately. And when we come together, there’s this really nice thing that happens where you’re just like, “the magic is still there!” There’s so much magic and so much power in these conventions. And when all of the community gets together like that, it can’t go unnoticed. It just gives me hope, and it gives me this sense that the universe will align itself to make it work.

Photo by Maverick Gamers

Emily, can you talk about when you hear statistics and reports coming from GLAAD. How does it influence what you’re doing when you’re writing scripts and creating characters?

EA: I feel like when you’re a showrunner and creator, your entire life is compromise. You’re compromising on choices from lots of other decision-makers — people who hold the money strings. In a weird way, I feel like it’s gotten easier for me because a long time ago I knew that writing LGBTQIA+ characters and showcasing those relationships was always going to be part of anything I did, and that was just a line in the sand for me that I was always going to fight for. I knew I was going to compromise on other things. But for me, that was the one I was cheerfully going to say “No, this is what it is. This is what I insist upon and if that’s not okay for you, you need to find another creator.” That’s always been really important for me. I feel like I’m incredibly blessed now because that’s part of what people expect when I come to the table with a project. I’m going to try to make it as diverse and unique and representative as possible.

I’m also in an incredibly beneficial position because quite frankly, I’m from Canada. You know, one of the first things I did in my career was work on a show created by Michelle Lovretta called Lost Girl, which featured a bisexual lead. And nobody in Canada really blinked? They were just like, how can we afford all this leather? So I also just feel lucky to live in a country that maybe is a little bit more forward thinking when it comes to representing different types of characters and story lines.

And the other secret is genre. Genre is just the playground of all sorts of different people, all sorts of different characters, creatures. It’s a really good place to tell the story of the underdog or people who aren’t represented all the time. Certainly, the statistics are sobering from GLAAD. GLAAD has been so supportive of our show and we in turn work really closely with them. [Kat and Dom] in particular are incredible with working with GLAAD.

There are days where it’s still incredibly depressing, but I think in this day and age, more than ever, we just have to concentrate on the fact that it’s getting better. Look at all the press that are in this room. Look at all the fans that are out there wanting to tell these stories. ClexaCon gets bigger every single year, and every single year it just makes me feel like there’s no way I’d bet against us. And nobody else should either.

If you could enact one law that everyone had to follow what would it be?

EA: I would like people to take empathy training. I feel like that’s something that’s being lost. As people create new products, there’s so much emphasis on making money. Or just taking an ethics course. Just remembering how we treat each other.

DPC: Like in The Good Place!

EA: Yes, like in The Good Place! We sort of scoff at humanities and ethics — this is a way more boring law. I should think of something really sexy to say. Everyone should have a mohawk at least once in their life! That’s my answer!

DPC: Schools should implement meditation as mandatory. And more people are which is a really exciting! Lots of place in the world are!

EA: Plus if you don’t use your signal when turning left, you should  just get executed. (everyone laughs)

KB: You guys gave such good ones! How can you top empathy and meditation?… High heels should be outlawed!

EA: I love that one! That’s the best one! I’m changing my answer.

Sort of building off of that, if you had to choose one law that had to be enacted just in media, what would it be?

KB: Can we say 50/50 gender representation?

EA: That’d be good. I wish we would stop referring to women in terms of how they look all the time in media. Or whether they’re likable because I don’t give a shit if you’re likable. I just wish we didn’t refer to women in terms of their appearance so much in the media. I wish we would just stop talking at all about how people look versus who they are and what they do.

There are a lot of us struggling with peak TV. The history of TV has generally been that there’s a lot of programming where people aren’t included. When programming shrinks or if networks become more successful, they get whiter and straighter. Are you worried about possibility of peak TV being reached and the contraction of programming?

EA: I’m very hopeful. I think, more than ever, the days of getting a show that’s going to get 40 million viewers like M*A*S*H are gone. Networks are more in tune with the fact that niche audiences are where it’s at. There is an audience for diversity and different types of shows and those are the shows that are getting attention. I personally believe the opposite is happening –that we need more different stories. I don’t think the same type of story, the same reboot over and over and over again with white dudes is going to work. With the straight male anti-hero, we’ve all seen that show and it’s been done very well by certain people but we’ve heard that story. So no, I think the opposite is going to happen.

I think the way we measure success in television is changing. If nobody is getting 30 million viewers, what is a successful show? Is it a show that gets a lot of buzz? Will advertisers like that? Can they maybe reach an audience that’s not traditionally reached easily through media.

I especially think this next generation coming up is just not going to settle for those types of shows anymore. So I still hope the cream rises to the top. How about that? Not the white kind though! Cream is the wrong term.

In my experience, networks are more than ever looking at diversity. Finally! They’re behind everybody else but I feel like they realize that’s the future of storytelling. Because those are the stories that have not been told.

Next. Game of Thrones season 8: Our wishlist for living female characters. dark

You can watch recent seasons of Wynonna Earp on Netflix