Once Supernatural executive producer Andrew Dabb found out they were doing a Scooby-Doo crossover episode, he called his mom, who had a fun tidbit of Scooby-related info to share with him.
"I called my mom, 'Yeah, so we're doing this crossover with Scooby-Doo,'" said Dabb. "She's like, 'When you were a kid you used to...(this was pre-Netflix, pre-DVR, and everything)...if you missed Scooby-Doo you would just cry."
At the premiere of the "ScoobyNatural" episode (see what they did there?) during PaleyFest in Hollywood on March 20, pretty much everyone involved in Supernatural seemed equally excited about the crossover. Before heading into the screening and panel, the crew converged on Hollywood and Highland to greet fans and take some photos in front of a couple familiar vehicles.
From left to right, that's the Impala, Scooby Doo, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Jensen Ackles, and of course, the Mystery Machine. An animated version of the Impala makes it into "ScoobyNatural" as well.
The Scooby gang has been a staple of childhoods for the last four decades (at least!), so the nostalgia and expectations that come along with this crossover, in particular, brought unique challenges. In an interview before the screening, Executive producer Eugenie Ross-Leming told SYFY FANGRRLS how the idea for the crossover came to be and how the 18-month process was different from other episodes of Supernatural.
"Jeremy [Adams] and Jim [Krieg], the writers of the Scooby-Doo episode, came to Andrew [Dabb] and Bob Singer," said Ross-Leming. "And everybody loved the idea." But it wasn't smooth sailing from there. The episode has both animated and live-action pieces, which were recorded months apart and had to work together seamlessly.
"Well, just technologically it's a lot harder because...the animation part is being done by other people," said Ross-Leming. "So we then have to integrate both the live action stuff, which we shot with the boys (Sam and Dean) in Vancouver with the stuff that was done in Asia. And so it's kind of, it's what the world is nowadays, globalized TV."But the effect truly succeeded. Speaking as an expert in all things Scooby-Doo, this episode worked. Dabb said maintaining the integrity of an episode of Scooby-Doo was integral to the success of the crossover.
"It's a meta episode in that our guys are going into an episode of Scooby-Doo, but we didn't want to make it so meta that it destroyed the narrative and destroyed the Scooby-Doo angle of it," said Dabb. "So as far as the Scooby gang's concerned, it's just another episode. A couple of guest stars roll in, some weird stuff happens, but it all comes out ok in the end. We don't want it to become like this thing that was so meta and so out there that it couldn't be rooted in Scooby-Doo."
In the episode, Sam, Dean, and Castiel are magically transported into the town where Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, and Fred are taking a break from a mystery to hang out in a diner. Dean hits on Daphne. Castiel grabs road snacks with Scooby and Shaggy. All is right in the world — until the gang is forced to spend the night in a haunted house. Naturally, it becomes an episode of Scooby-Doo, complete with a monster appearance and someone suggesting they all split up. (Spoiler: never a good idea!) Ross-Leming said during the panel that "ScoobyNatural" was a good twist on a more traditional episode of Supernatural with the opportunity to "have our hunters be the hunted."
The excitement of the actors to dive into this new world was palpable too, even described as "giddy" at one point during the panel. On the red carpet before the screening, Padalecki told reporters about his excitement working on the episode.
"I've done voiceover-type work before, but I've always had to match my words to what was drawn. This is the first time I was able to vocalize it first. We did it, I think last February, 13 months ago, and they're like, 'You'll see it in a year!' And we're like, 'Awww, now it's just all a prank. They're not really gonna do it. Something's gonna fall apart.' Part of being in the business is I didn't want to get my hopes up but sure enough, here we are."
Padalecki, Ackles, and Collins were able to record their audio in the booth together, which is probably one reason why the episode still felt like an episode of Supernatural — even though the setting was, well, animated. The chemistry of the actors was very clearly still there.
One light-hearted scene of the episode didn't make the cut, but executive producer Robert Singer hinted that it could make its way into a special features option somewhere. It involves Shaggy and Castiel working as waiters together at a French restaurant, and the premise alone is hilarious.
Yes, "ScoobyNatural" is very Scooby-Doo, but don't worry, it's plenty Supernatural as well. There are even some gory parts of the episode; at the panel, Dabb confirmed those were added in by the animation department. (Basically, the script would say "dead body" and the animators would run with it — leading to some f*cked up murder scenes.) Perhaps more bloody than the Scooby-Doo of your childhood, but still the show you remember. Dabb noted that even within the episode, Dean says, "We want to preserve the sanctity of those characters." And they do.
The "ScoobyNatural" episode of Supernatural airs tonight, March 29 on the CW.