Exclusive Interview: Robbie Thompson Talks ‘Silk’, ‘Supernatural’, ‘Star Wars’ and More!
We’re back with another interview with Robbie Thompson! This interview took place during 2018’s New York Comic Con, by Paulina and guest interviewer, Angele Desjardins. This is what is becoming a yearly tradition with Robbie, where we get to talk about all of the incredible work he’s done. We discuss everything from shipping, to comics, to Supernatural and more.
Nerds and Beyond: Welcome to our third annual interview.
Robbie: I’m excited to be here.
Nerds and Beyond: So, we have different questions for you this year. A lot around comics, and just other topics.
Nerds and Beyond: We talked a lot about Supernatural last year.
Robbie: That’s true.
Nerds and Beyond: So, some Supernatural questions this year, too.
Robbie: I love it.
Nerds and Beyond: So, starting with San Diego Comic Con. You were on a panel about shipping at San Diego Comic Con.
Nerds and Beyond: What role do you think shipping has on the viewer experience and on your writing? And also, who is your OTP?
Robbie: My OTP… I was on a shipping panel in San Diego that my friend Sam put together — Sam Maggs. It was an interesting panel to be on because I am an older human being and shipping is very new to me. I didn’t really know anything about it until I got on a show called Supernatural and joined Twitter. And then I was instantly informed by a lot of people what shipping was.
I think my only real brush with shipping before that was probably the original slash, I guess, which is Kirk and Spock. Which I had heard about as, like, a teenager going to Star Trek conventions. I was like, “Oh, that’s cool. That sounds lovely.” As far as shipping goes, I think I have sort of an antiquated point of view, because when they asked me on that panel, “Who’s your OTP?”, for me it was Dave and Maddie on Moonlighting.
Which has the unfortunate portmanteau– is that how you say it? You’re French, you know. Portmanteau? Is that right?
Nerds and Beyond: Portmanteau.
Robbie: Dave and Maddie would be “Daddy”, which is not that great. Or, it’s great. I don’t know. And then that transferred to Herbert Viola’s character and Agnes DiPesto. Herbert being, of course, played by Curtis Armstrong, who played Metatron on Supernatural.
Nerds and Beyond: Yeah. He’s a phenomenal actor.
Robbie: I was invested in those couples getting together, that was my understanding of shipping. So, as an audience member… I was just talking about this with a Supernatural fan yesterday, because she asked me, “Do you ship characters on Supernatural?” And I don’t. And not really on shows in general. I think the lens that I look through it, as both a fan and sometimes as a writer, is just a little bit different.
And it’s — Again, my point of view is probably a little bit antiquated, I don’t know because people seem really tuned into romance or potential for romance. I feel like every show that comes out now, every scene that happens on a show, people are instantly online with “Make them kiss”, or one of those kind of things. And that’s not always the first lens through which I view a lot of content.
But as a fellow fan and as a writer, what I respond to is people’s passion. And people are passionate about romantic entanglements, or potential romantic entanglements. They’re excited about it and that’s getting them to, you know, talk about the show or create their own fiction or create their own fanfiction. I think that is awesome. I think it’s fantastic. Not that anybody needs my approval, or not that anybody needs my acceptance or anything like that, but I certainly welcome it. I think it’s great. As far as it affecting me as a writer, it doesn’t really affect me at all.
To me, I’m telling a story and I know… I have enough of a, I don’t know if this is the right expression, but an understanding of the audience, especially when I was working on a show like Supernatural, that there are gonna be things I write that people are gonna see in a certain light no matter what story I might be telling.
Nerds and Beyond: Mm-hmm.
Robbie: You know, if you take 24 hours in a day, you watch the 42 minutes of the show, if it’s a network show, and then you spend the rest of the 23 hours in your day engaging in fandom, which isn’t always the text of the show. It’s fan fiction, fan art, long discussions and posts online. I think it can create a really interesting relationship where the audience is in much more control of the narrative from their own standpoint than they have been in the past.
But it does sometimes, I think, create a disconnect. The 42 minutes does not always line up with the other 23 hours. And I hear about it because people are not shy online. We were talking about that the other day — where it’s like, you all aren’t hiding it; it’s on the internet. You’re posting it and sometimes tagging me.
So, I saw a lot of that stuff. But it never affected the writing. You know, I had a story I needed to tell. And it’s also almost impossible for me to react in real time, ‘cause I know in advance what’s going to happen in the story. Again, if I was on a network show like Supernatural, the writing you’re seeing air was done sometimes six months, sometimes a year before you guys would watch it. So when people would comment, “Oh, they listened to what we were saying last week and they made adjustments,” it’s like, no, we wrote that story months ago. I’m glad that you expressed yourself online, and you should — you totally should — but there’s really no way to react in real time. And I don’t think it’s always a good thing to try even if you could. You wanna make sure that you’re telling the story you want to tell.
Nerds and Beyond: Without it being, like, molded by whatever you’re hearing.
Robbie: I like to say that I like to engage with fans because I am a fan myself and I like the dialogue. I like to be able to interact with people. But I like to say that I’m listening, but I’m not taking dictation. And ultimately, I couldn’t even if I wanted to. On a show like Supernatural, I’m also not in charge. I don’t get to make all of the decisions. The feedback is important, but it doesn’t change the week to week. The show is months ahead of you guys. I think a new Supernatural’s on next week. That was probably written in April or May of last year. I would imagine they’re probably, let’s see it’s October? They’re probably nearing the end of the season, I think, just ‘cause it’s a shorter order this year – it’s 20.
I bet you they’re probably on 17 or 18 right now. Somewhere around there. ‘Cause they work really fast. That’s always been a very fast show and a very efficient show. So, yeah, it doesn’t really affect me as a writer. I’ve worked on other things like comics, where I know that people have an expectation of certain relationships and sometimes you will lean on that a little bit. But that’s also just me responding to the text. Like, you know, if I was writing X-Men back when I was a kid, Kitty and Colossus were like a thing, so I could respond to that but I’m also responding as a fan as well.
Nerds and Beyond: Mm-hmm.
Robbie: I guess I ship them, too, by the way. I think shipping is fantastic. I just think I come at it from a different perspective because I’m older. And, I think I engage in fandom in a way that doesn’t match the passion of current fandom. I thought I was a fan of stuff. I thought I was like a big, passionate fan and then I met Supernatural fans and was like, “I am remedial at best.” You know, people will tell me episode number, scenes, frame numbers… all this stuff, and again. I am a diehard Star Wars fan. I love Star Trek. I love Marvel comics and DC comics. But there is a level of fandom that I am not able to reach ‘cause I don’t have the skill set. Like, the skill set amongst specifically Supernatural fans and fandom is incredible high level shit. This is AP all the way, and I’m sort of like in third grade math over here. So, yeah in conclusion, I think I come at it from a slightly different perspective, but no, it never really affected my writing.
Nerds and Beyond: Have you heard of the phrase BrOTP?
Robbie: I have. I think broment is another one I heard. What was the other one….? BrOTP is one. I didn’t know any of these things. Like OT3s I didn’t know.
Nerds and Beyond: Yeah.
Robbie: I didn’t know. I had to look up OTP, I had to look up… I mean, there was a lot of things I had to look up. And I put it into the 200th episode, there was BMs and stuff like that. Internally, we would call them BMs. And I was like, “Uh, that’s kind of gross.”
Nerds and Beyond: Bowel movements.
Robbie: But it was a, you know…
Nerds and Beyond: Broment.
Robbie: And bromance I hadn’t really heard of before. I know that some people are not fans of that phrase.
Nerds and Beyond: Yeah.
Robbie: But, yeah, Supernatural was extremely educational for me as a writer because I was very inexperienced when I joined that staff, but I was also, I think, very inexperienced as a writer interacting online. I like to think I did okay, but I’m sure I made a lot of mistakes along the way and I’m still learning. I am still learning all these phrases.
Nerds and Beyond: We think you did fabulously.
Robbie: I appreciate that. I tried my best.
Nerds and Beyond: Two years ago, during one of our interviews, you talked about the friendship that you wish you maybe would have written between Cas and Charlie and having the opportunity to kind of write a little bit more about that. What do you see their friendship potentially playing out as, if you had that opportunity?
Robbie: I just think they’re both kind of outsiders in their own way. I think all of the characters on Supernatural kind of come together because they’re all sort of outsiders in a way. You know, they didn’t quite fit in where they were supposed to. And, I don’t know, I feel like that’s a big part of what draws me to things as a fan, is feeling like a bit of an outsider. So, I think they would bond over that. And I think, you know, there would be a lot of fun… I just think the dynamic of a character like Castiel is really fun to somebody who is hyper-articulate and a little bit like, has too much energy, maybe had too many cups of cappuccino. And to see that person almost overreacting — not overreacting, but having too many reactions, to someone who’s a little bit more stoic and trying to, like, keep his shit together. I just think that’s a fun, comedic dynamic.
They’re also really great actors, and I know that they get along in real life. On screen, I only got to write them for like 30 seconds or whatever it was, but they had an instant rapport and the dynamic they could both bring to scenes would be really, really fun to write.
I don’t know what their friendship would be like. I don’t know. I’d have to dig into that. But I think the dynamic would be really fun, ‘cause it’s… You have two different personality types coming together and that always works in a funny way.
Nerds and Beyond: I think they would be amazing friends.
Robbie: They’d be BFFs and braid each other’s hair.
Nerds and Beyond: They would.
Robbie: Have sleepovers.
Nerds and Beyond: Absolutely.
Robbie: Pizza parties.
Nerds and Beyond: So, transitioning to talk about Silk a little bit.
Robbie: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Nerds and Beyond: Who we also love.
Robbie: We just got our picture taken with her. Super cool.
Nerds and Beyond: There’s amazing Silk cosplay here at New York Comic Con. So, Funko recently released a Silk figurine and there are rumors of a Silk film and Silk even made an appearance on Spider-Man Versus Deadpool.
Nerds and Beyond: We personally love Cindy Moon. We know she’s close to your heart. Can you talk a little bit more about that, and is there anything you can tell us about upcoming Silk appearances, you know, just in general?
Robbie: She’s got one or two more appearances in Spider-Man/Deadpool, and then we’re kind of, we’re taking the boys — not the boys from Supernatural, the boys Spider-Man and Deadpool — on a bit of a road trip. So, she’ll be in those issues for a couple more. I don’t know what their company-wide plans are for her, and I have no clue what’s going on with the movie. That’s way above my pay grade. But I’m really excited about it and I would love to see them find either or both a woman or person of color to handle the behind the scenes of that movie. There are a lot of overly qualified directors that deserve a shot. Or, I should say, are overdue for a shot. I don’t know where they are in the development process, but I really hope they can find someone who can bring a cool authentic voice to that character. ‘Cause there’s a really cool movie to be had there and I would go see it.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you miss writing her?
Robbie: Yeah, I do. I miss writing all of the characters I get to write. It’s weird. You kind of like, it’s kind of like being in… You reach a certain age and you have different types of relationships in your life, and you know, breakups happen. But you reach a point in your life when sometimes it’s like the good breakup, where you can be friends afterwards. And it’s awkward and it’s weird or whatever. So that’s kind of like whenever I’ve left something or something got cancelled or I got let go on something. For me anyways, it’s always been like an amicable breakup. But it is a breakup. So you have that history with that person. You’re kind of like, “Oh, but I… Right, do we hug now? What do we do? How does this work? Do we high five? Do I just salute you like we’re in the military?” So, it’s a strange relationship, but it was really fun to kind of bring her back into Spidey/Deadpool and to not have to focus on her being anything other than just being funny and adding a different vibe to the team that was in the book.
That aspect was really fun, because Silk was a very Cindy Moon centric book, which was great. But it can… and it was designed for that — be sort of almost claustrophobic, to get into what was going on with her emotionally. Over time, that can be a little hard to kind of get to sort of the quote-unquote “funner moments”. So, to have her come in and be able to crack wise and see her swimming underwater with the murder sharks, and she’s got a mask on and stuff like that. To be able to get her in different environments is really, really fun. She’s cool.
Nerds and Beyond: So, you talked about listening to music while you were writing for TV.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you do something similar for comics? And what role does music play in your writing?
Robbie: It’s really important to me, music. I love music, and music is one of those things as a guy, as a person who works in different mediums, music is like magic to me. I really don’t understand how it works. So, it’s something that I love because it communicates in a way that’s very, for lack of a better word, very primal. You don’t need words. And for me, when I’m writing, I can’t hear lyrics ‘cause it’s very distracting to me. Unfortunately, as part of my brain chemistry, I like to listen to a song on repeat while I’m working on something. I will typically find something ambient or when I’m walking around or in my car I will listen to the same song on repeat. And the play counts are really horrifying if you look at them. Sometimes it’s something that really matches with what I’m writing, and then sometimes it’s something that’s really contrasting, like if something is really dark or sad I might listen to something lighter. I’m a huge fan of Robyn for that kind of pick me up. I think she’s the greatest pop star of this era.
Nerds and Beyond: You mentioned her in Supernatural‘s “Fan Fiction”.
Robbie: Yeah, I did. And I tried to get, we almost got a song of hers, but we cut the scene. I love her stuff because it’s very… like, she’s got a club sound and it’s very poppy, but there’s a melancholy to her stuff that I really love. So, you get kind of what Billy Wilder used to call the sweet and sour, which I think is the good stuff. You can’t have the sweet without the sour, the sour without the sweet. That’s the stuff that I’m really drawn to. I usually will try to find something that’s atmospheric, that kind of plays towards what I’m writing. Like, you know, for example, when I wrote “The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo”, for Supernatural, I was actually listening to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo soundtrack on repeat the whole time. Like, specifically, two tracks. And it works because Charlie’s a hacker, but it’s also completely antithetical to what I was writing, because she’s the opposite of the character in that movie, she talks fast and is silly. I love the music of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. I think they’re geniuses and their music is extremely fun to write to.
And then there’s another guy, Max Richter is his name. He did the score to a bunch of stuff, like The Leftovers. Just really beautiful music. If you listen to it, it sounds like it’s some kind of death march maybe, but I will listen to that writing Deadpool. And then if I was working on a show that I wanted a song in, I would listen to that song on repeat when I was writing almost constantly. Like when I wrote “Baby”, I listened to “Night Moves” probably a thousand times. My poor wife, you know, loves music, too, and she’s actually a musical person. So, she understands it, like how the mechanics of it work. But I will listen to a song on repeat, and we’ll get in my car and my car is synced to my phone and that one song will start playing. Then she’ll put my iTunes on random and it ends up playing one depressing song after another. It’s just Depressing Robbie Radio. But it doesn’t… the music doesn’t depress me. For me, it’s just, I don’t know, there’s something about finding a rhythm. This is super pretentious, but I think it was Ernest Hemingway who used to turn on the dryer because the rhythm of it; he just liked to write to the rhythm of that. I don’t know, maybe that’s how my brain is wired. But I do like to find a song or two when I’m writing something to really kind of tap into something. The void. I don’t know. My muse or whatever. And then, yeah, on Supernatural it was usually like that Frankie Valli song.
Nerds and Beyond: Which song?
Robbie: “Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”, or whatever it is? I don’t know if that’s the actual title of it. It’s the one that we play at the end of “Meta Fiction”. Or, “Goodbye Stranger”. I listened to that song a million fucking times.
Nerds and Beyond: Oh, “Goodbye Stranger.” We just watched that one last night.
Robbie: That’s a fun episode. It was fun talking to Rachel (Miner) about that one yesterday. I told you this before, like, that was a wild one to watch online, ‘cause everyone was extremely mad at me and then suddenly they were really happy, which is fascinating. But yeah, music is a really… music is magic to me. And to me it’s a huge part of a movie, of visual storytelling. And even though there isn’t music in comics, I had an issue in Spider-Man/Deadpool where Deadpool was singing a bunch and I was reacting to what they were saying. This one character was like, “What is love?” and I instantly said, “Baby don’t…” and I was like, “Oh my god. This is so sad.” But then I realized, “Well… Peter would say that, too.” And then we put it into the thing. And then the assistant editor on the book, Kathleen, she added a line about, “I don’t think they’re as nostalgic for Haddaway as we are.” I was like, “Do I want to admit that I know that song so well?”
Music is enormously important to me and I’m always fascinated by things that appear, to me anyways, in my simple, dumb mind, to be magic. And I really think music is magic. Like, you go to see a show and like… you guys are huge Louden Swain fans, and the other various Supernatural performers. There is just something transcendent about it and it doesn’t matter what language you’re speaking, it doesn’t matter if it’s atmospheric or some kind of club you’re at or whatever, or a remix, there’s something that it taps into you in a way that I think is magic.
Nerds and Beyond: Yeah, I think you had some really iconic music writing moments in Supernatural with “Night Moves”, with “Fare Thee Well”…
Robbie: Yeah. “Fare Thee Well”. I listened to that one a lot.
Nerds and Beyond: Yeah. I love that song.
Robbie: And now I have Rob’s version of it to listen to, which is cool. It’s funny ‘cause every once in a while that will pop up. ‘Cause I usually will, if I’m not fixating on a song, I just put my iTunes on random when I get in the car. And it invariably will play like, three of the audiobooks that I have, which is really super annoying. Because it’s like, “chapter twelve…” and I’m like “ugh, fuck me.”
Nerds and Beyond: Is that British?
Robbie: Yeah, yeah, it’s this one book, it’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. It’s always like “chapter twelve… Smiley had blah blah blah”, you know. And I’m like, “Okay. I don’t remember this part of the book.” But every once in a while, it happened last week, either a Louden Swain song will come on or one of the songs from the 200th episode will come on and then one time Rob came on, and you’re just sort of instantly back there, ‘cause music ties you, in a way, to moments in your life in way that is very unique, like smell does, too. Like there’s certain candle smells that you can smell and be like, “Oh, wow, I’m thirteen again and I’m back wherever I was at that time.” And music is a similar thing, so I like building moments around certain songs sometimes, if it works and if we get the rights to it. There were certainly songs we could not get the rights to.
Willie Nelson was another one, “The Night Life”. And I can’t remember the episode, it was the one with Bobby and the flashbacks with Rufus. Whatever that episode was. (“Safehouse”!)
Nerds and Beyond: Oh, yeah.
Robbie: I love that song, and I love the mundaneness of parts of Sam and Dean’s life. I love the mundane parts of it. I love showing that stuff.
Nerds and Beyond: Like “Baby”.
Robbie: Exactly. Going through books and going to the library. I mean, anything… especially any time it’s analogue, ‘cause I’m old. I grew up going to the library. When I first watched Supernatural I checked it out from the library. I love that level of detail and stuff like that, and anchoring that with a song I think is just a fun way to try to be a little bit more provocative.
Nerds and Beyond: Great. This is, again, kind of transitioning to Spider-Man Versus Deadpool. What’s been most challenging about writing the relationship between them?
Robbie: The challenging part is you get, with Deadpool you get Wade and you get Deadpool. But Peter’s identity is secret. So, it can be sometimes a challenge to try to figure out how to get Peter into the book. And sometimes it’s just visually. Like, the artists that I work with, Matt and Jim, do a really good job of making Spider-Man very expressive, so readers can still connect to him. And then Jim, a couple of times, would just literally have him take off his mask. That wasn’t scripted, but I’m so grateful that he did that because the eyes are part of, you know, how you connect with people and when they’re just in their masks the whole time it can sometimes feel a little bit like “Who? Which one? What am I?”
But otherwise, it’s been just a blast. They’re a couple of goof asses. I wasn’t really a Deadpool guy until… I loved Gerry Duggan’s run on the book. He just brought a lot of, I think, humanity to the character. And I really loved Ryan Reynolds’ performance in the Deadpool movies. He just has that voice down. I couldn’t… It’s a weird thing sometimes with comics. Like, I couldn’t hear Deadpool at all before, and now all I can hear is Ryan Reynolds’ voice. So, when I write, his voice is in my head. He has a particular cadence to him. It’s a Canadian thing, I don’t know. He’s just very, very funny and he’s so quick. You kinda wanna get into that headspace, because you want Deadpool to react in ways that are very quick and very fun. Whereas Peter has, you know, I think a bit more of a goofier and a lot less bluer sense of humor. I think he has some more traditional quote unquote “dad jokes”. Which is… I have both of those sensibilities, sadly, in my own life, making inappropriate comments and dad jokes. They’re both really fun to write.
Nerds and Beyond: Great, thanks. Oh, I guess you already answered this. I just wanted to know if we were gonna see more of the murder sharks?
Robbie: Yeah, we’ll definitely see more of the murder sharks. We’ll see them… I can’t remember the name of the issue number because they’re all starting to blur together, but they’re coming up at least one more time. Until we spin them off into something, hopefully.
Nerds and Beyond: Are they still with Silk?
Robbie: Yeah, they’re still with Silk. They kind of have bonded. I just thought, she’s probably still catching up on everything, and they would really enjoy watching TV with her. They weren’t supposed to be in the book, the murder sharks. The original artist who launched the book, Chris Bachalo put them in. He’s an absolute genius. I’ve been blessed with great artists on every iteration of this book. But, he had this promo cover that ended up becoming the cover of the first issue, and he put these sharks on it with laser beams. I loved them so much, I just loved them. They were great. And he was like, “Maybe they’re mutants or something,” and I was like, “Maybe they evolve, and then they started talking?” And again, writing is for me, it’s a very reactive process. They just started talking about dumb things like binge watching Netflix. And I thought, “What if you were this super genius and wanted to destroy the world, but you also really wanted to watch the next episode of Stranger Things? Like, how would that get in the way?” I don’t know if you guys ever saw the show Frisky Dingo. It was this really bizarre show from the guys who did Archer, and it’s about this absolute dipshit trying to take over the world, but he spends all of his money trying to get the missile built to blow up the world, and then he has no way to tell everybody and then he tries to do a little video and then he tries to do a mailing or something like that. I don’t think the murder sharks are dumb, but I just like that, like all of us, anybody’s ambitions can get derailed by pop culture. Like, I was supposed to write Spider-Man last weekend and I played Spider-Man the video game all weekend instead.
Nerds and Beyond: That sounds, like, adjacent to what you were supposed to be doing.
Robbie: I feel it was research. It makes being in New York really annoying, because I can’t really just “thwip” my way across Central Park. But, yeah, people will definitely see the murder sharks again.
Nerds and Beyond: I feel like this is a sub question, but are you watching any TV shows right now? I know you’re incredibly busy.
Robbie: My wife and I just watched Killing Eve, which was terrific, and we’re catching up on Better Call Saul. We’re way behind, but it’s astonishing. We’re hoping to watch Castle Rock soon, ‘cause I’m a big Stephen King fan. I haven’t watched any of it, so I’m curious to see that. And then actually, I’ve only watched the first couple episodes, but I really enjoyed Lodge 49. It’s a show with, I believe Wyatt Russell is his name, it’s Kurt Russell’s son. And it’s kind of this weird, almost Big Lebowski-esque show. It’s got this really weird quality… I don’t know, there’s something about it. It’s one of those ones where you’re probably gonna have to watch all ten hours to really make an assessment of it, but he’s terrific in it. I like stuff with a lot of weirdness. And I’m dying to watch the second season of Stranger Things. I still haven’t watched it. I haven’t seen it.
Nerds and Beyond: It’s really good.
Robbie: I like the promo that they used, with “Thriller”. I was sold. I just haven’t had the time. But Killing Eve and Better Call Saul are terrific.
Nerds and Beyond: I know we talked about this before, but when you wrote Supernatural, people thought Charlie was maybe similar to you.
Robbie: Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Nerds and Beyond: But last year you told us that wasn’t the case.
Robbie: No. She’s actually, like, smart and capable. I’m a total dipshit, so… Yeah. But she has some of my verbal tics, though, for sure.
Nerds and Beyond: What character have you written that you most identify with?
Robbie: This is going to be really a totally pretentious answer, but the truth is, I identify with all the characters when I’m writing them. I wanna get into their headspace. If I was writing on Supernatural, like Crowley, who can be a villainous character, then I was in his villainous headspace. I try to tap into what’s the truth for them, ‘cause it’s that old cliche: no one’s the villain of their own story. People that you think are total pieces of shit don’t wake up and think, “Oh, wow. I’m gonna be a total piece of shit today.” They think they’re the hero of their story, and I think that’s strangely relatable. So, I think it’s about just trying to find what’s relatable to each of those characters. Like, with Charlie, I’m a nerdy guy. I don’t think I have the… she’s an A level fan, I’m like a D+ maybe, C- on a good day. But I related to that sense of being an outsider, and being a little weird, but not being afraid to be weird. I think her attitude is kind of like, “I’m weird. Fuck you if you don’t like that.” Which I think is a good attitude to have. I didn’t get there until later in my life, but I think it’s a good attitude to move towards.
When I was writing Dean, I was trying to relate to his perspective. You know, a guy who is deeply dedicated to family. Sam was probably the one I probably, if you wanted to get Psych 101, probably the character on that show I most related to, just because he’s the youngest of two boys and I’m the youngest of two boys. And he rebelled against his dad, I rebelled against my dad, but they ended up very similar people. I ended up like my dad, which I’m grateful for, because my dad was a fucking rockstar. He was a great dude. I’m not an older brother. My brother is very much like Dean. Just as handsome. But also very protective and also looked up to dad as well, but became his own guy, too, and all that good stuff. So, there was a core part of that show that I really, I thought Kripke baked into the Pilot, that really resonated with me in a very emotional level.
But I wouldn’t say that there’s any one character more than the other. If I had to pick one, I guess it would probably be Sam. There’s a great deal to relate to with Castiel. Again, sort of this outsider. He’s a guy that rebelled against his family in a way that I think we all kind of do. No matter how much you love your family, or not, there’s gonna be a little bit of friction there. I just try to find whatever aspect of them that I can relate to, and then I try to defend their point of view, even if it’s, you know, I wrote on shows with demons and monsters. You gotta defend their points of view. Again, it’s kind of a pretentious answer, but I try to, like actors do, I try to inhabit the character as I’m writing them and be their advocate, and be like, “No, no, no, they would say this, they wouldn’t say this, they wouldn’t do that.” I think if you can find that sort of sweet spot, where you’re kind of advocating for them but not just totally taking dictation or whatever, then I think that you’re in a good spot to steer them in the right direction.
Nerds and Beyond: You wrote some phenomenal women characters, I believe.
Robbie: Thank you, that’s very nice of you to say. Thank you.
Nerds and Beyond: Like Shoshannah (Stern), she has her own show right now.
Robbie: Yes, she does. She’s amazing. Very talented.
Nerds and Beyond: And I loved that character, personally.
Robbie: Yeah, she’s a great actor, and we had worked together before on Jericho. She had a very difficult episode where her character on that show gets killed off, and she really attacked it in a way that I thought was very interesting. It was a heartbreaker. And we fought about that in the writers’ room. I was just a writer’s assistant, and I remember my boss saying, “Hey, if we’re fighting about it, then the audience will, too. And that means we’re in the sweet spot.” But she just has this inner strength that I think really good actors have, where she can play strong and tough and all the things that she needed to, but she also has a vulnerability that makes her accessible. And she can do so much with so little. I thought she took what was on the page and completely elevated it. She and Jared, I think, just had a really… I mean, she had good chemistry with both boys, and with Dean, too, who was amazing in the episode, but she and Jared just found this fun chemistry almost instantly. You could see it in the dailies. And there was a couple of lines that they improvised at the end… John Badham the director just had them riff on. And that’s the kind of thing that you can really only do if you trust somebody, and they clearly trusted one another. She was just.. I would write for her again in a minute, but she doesn’t need me to write for her ‘cause she’s a fucking great writer herself. Her show is fantastic.
Nerds and Beyond: I’m excited about this question, and Nerds and Beyond loves Star Wars. What was it like writing the Poe Dameron comic, and especially since you’re such a huge fan of Star Wars, and also it’s been recently revealed that you’re gonna be writing for Han Solo, or you have already…
Robbie: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m writing the Solo adaptation, and then we’re doing a little spinoff. Star Wars: Han Solo – Imperial Cadet. So, if you saw the movie– spoiler alert– there’s a sequence where he joins the Imperial Navy. And then he is very quickly demoted. And actually, on the DVD now, they have a couple of the deleted scenes. But we’re unpacking some of his Imperial years in the mini-series, which is super fun. With the Poe Dameron thing, it was great. Heather Antos, who was my editor on the book, and Jordan White. Heather reached out to me and I was like, “Oh my god, yes, I’ll write anything you want.” She’s a fantastic editor. I’m forever in her debt, especially because she said that General Organa was gonna be in the book.
To get to write for Leia was really overwhelming. I’m a huge Carrie Fisher fan. I always will be. To get to try to write for what I thought would be her performance… ‘Cause you know the Star Wars books, they try to be accurate to the movie, ‘cause they want the characters to look like the characters we all know and love. Nik did an amazing job illustrating that book. Yeah, that was… The biggest thrill was when I got the color pdf of the final version right before it came out, the cover page. To see… this is very egotistical, so forgive me, but to see my name in the blue font was extremely exciting. If I ever needed business cards, I would just cut that part out and just use that. And just to get to play in any corner of the Star Wars universe, is a thrill. I’m a lifelong fan. That’s my OTP fandom, or how do you say that? That’s my one true fandom? My OTF? Is that a thing?
Nerds and Beyond: We can make it a thing.
Robbie: Yeah, my OTF is definitely Star Wars. So, you know, when Mark and Thomas, I know them from over at Marvel, when they came to ask me about the Solo, I just jumped at it. I mean, I would have written it for free. I’m glad they’re paying me, but it’s… The only drawback to it, is sometimes I know spoilers and as a fan I’m like, “Oh, I don’t wanna know spoilers.” But I love working on it. I have one more issue left on the Solo mini. I’ve finished the adaptation already. To get to see how they build stories at Lucasfilm, and then how they collaborate with Marvel, is really awesome. It’s just awesome. It’s really exciting.
Nerds and Beyond: Have you been to the Ranch?
Robbie: No, I’ve never been. Never been. Maybe someday. That’s above my pay grade. But I did go to the offices, the Disney lot, to read the script, which was really cool. Again, I was bummed, ‘cause I was like, “Oh, shit. Spoilers.” But it was super cool, and the script is great. Both the Kasdens, Lawrence, who is one of my all time favorite writers, and his son, Jonathan, collaborated on the script, and you can feel their love of Han on the page. And also their love of the relationship between Han and Chewie. It just… I was really excited to see the movie after I read the script. I thought I was gonna be bummed, ‘cause I was like, “Now, I know what’s gonna happen,” but I was like, “I wanna see how they executed it.” I was a big fan of the movie.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you get to write anything in relation, I don’t know if this is too spoiler, but about his feelings… I feel like he’s so relationship driven.
Nerds and Beyond: So, with Chewie, with Qi’ra…
Robbie: Yeah, we dove into some of that stuff in the Imperial Cadet book. Chewie’s obviously not in this part of the story, but we wanted to keep Qi’ra, even though she’s not in the book, alive in the book. I really love their dynamic, and I would love love love to see more stories about Qi’ra and what happened to her. I think I tweeted this out at one point, I was like, “I wanna see Helen Mirren play Qi’ra in Episode IX.”
She’d be all grown up, and I don’t know, some sort of master criminal or something like that. I just loved their dynamic. I think the concern I had was just, is this gonna be a damsel in distress. But she had her own story. I really responded to that, and I really loved that she made her own decision in the end, in sort of a bittersweet ending. That’s, again, my kind of a jam. We get into some of that stuff a little bit in Imperial Cadet. We wanted to keep, she’s not in the story because obviously he’s left Corellia, but we find ways to keep her alive in the story.
Nerds and Beyond: That’s exciting. Did you freak out when you saw Darth Maul?
Robbie: I did. When I read the script that wasn’t in there. It just said “our mystery guest arrives” and I was like “who…?”. And there was no one to ask, ‘cause you just go into this office and they give you a copy of the script, and you can’t leave with it, you can’t take pictures, you surrender your phone and your life, and sign all these documents. But, like, I didn’t know who it was, so that was the one surprise I had, when he showed up. I was like, “Oh, this is great,” because from the animated series, they really have built that character out in a really interesting way. Dave Filoni is, I think, a genius, and I’m super excited he’s directing the new live action series.
Nerds and Beyond: So we ask nerdy questions since it’s Nerds and Beyond, so what color would your lightsaber be?
Nerds and Beyond: Do you want to elaborate? You don’t have to.
Robbie: Oh, no, it’s just my favorite color.
Nerds and Beyond: It’s your favorite color?
Robbie: Yeah, that’s literally it. I don’t know what it means in terms of like, you know, being a jedi or a sith or something like that, but green. Totally green.
Nerds and Beyond: If you could go anywhere, anytime, in the TARDIS, where would it be?
Robbie: I would love to see the Old West. Or, I would love to see the 60’s in America. My parents would tell stories about, especially the late 60’s. There was just sort of a vibe that I think got mythologized for people my age about what that era was like, and having read some history and obviously met people who lived through it, I would love to experience it and see what it was like to go see a rock show back then, to go see the Beatles, you know, when they originally came over. Probably something like that. Probably something boring. I mean, I should say I would go back and kill Hitler, but you know, I wanna go hear the Beatles when they first came over.
Nerds and Beyond: Have you heard of or ever seen Westworld?
Robbie: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. I mean, I would also go shoot guns in the Old West, in a very polite manner.
Nerds and Beyond: That’s fair. Which two fictional characters would you like to share a meal with, and why?
Robbie: I would like to share a meal with Jabba the Hutt.
Nerds and Beyond: Oh my god.
Robbie: Because I wanna eat one of those little weird frogs that he has. And I love that there’s actual Huttese, like you can actually learn how to speak it. So I would want to learn Huttese and eat frogs with Jabba the Hutt. And then I would wanna…. Another fictional character…. You know, I would love to hang out with Captain America, but Marvel Cinematic Universe Captain America, just ‘cause Chris Evans is so dreamy.
Nerds and Beyond: Can’t disagree there.
Nerds and Beyond: Like, all his tweets are phenomenal.
Robbie: Even IRL. He’s just a… he’s an actual Captain of America.
Nerds and Beyond: He is.
Robbie: Yeah, Marvel Cinematic Universe Captain America.
Nerds and Beyond: A little out of order – but, in Spider-Man Versus Deadpool, you had the opportunity to bring back characters. Which ones did you enjoy bringing back the most?
Robbie: There wasn’t one specifically. It was really more Matt Horak, who’s here and is just an awesome artist. I would to say to him in scripts, put whoever you want in, make it as crazy as possible and as obscure as possible. It was more fun to see what other people were having fun bringing back, ‘cause that would kind of jog my memory of, like Death’s Head, who is this obscure British character. I like to give room for the artists to play and then react to what they do.
Nerds and Beyond: You have that one frame where one of the murder sharks is just biting someone. It makes no sense.
Robbie: Yeah, I think that was Matt. Or Flaviano. I’ve been really lucky, I’ve worked with artists who take advantage of that or they add little moments like that that aren’t scripted, that are just fun. It’s always the collaboration that’s the fun part.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you have any thoughts on the upcoming Captain Marvel film?
Robbie: Oh, I can’t wait, for two reasons. Number one, I thought the trailer was amazing. Brie Larson is an incredible actress. But I love Skrulls. I’ve always loved Skrulls, and I think the potential of bringing Skrulls into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you know, a shape shifter, that can lead to a couple of storylines that they’ve done in the comics, where it’s like, is it really that person or is it a Skrull? I can’t wait. I cannot wait. I thought the trailer was phenomenal.
I’m also working on a new book now for Marvel now that will be out in March, called Meet The Skrulls. It’s about a family of Skrulls living undercover in the suburbs, so I’m obviously biased toward Skrulls! Niko Henrichon is doing the interior art and colors and Marcos Martin is doing the covers. It’s sort of The Americans but in the Marvel Universe. With Skrulls. It’s a ton of fun to work on.
Nerds and Beyond: Finally, any thoughts on Felicia Day, Charlie, being back on Supernatural in that AU?
Robbie: I love it. I want to see her in a million more episodes. When I heard about the AU– is that what the kids call it now? AU?
Nerds and Beyond: Yeah.
Robbie: It’s such a great way to bring back characters in ways that you won’t expect. And you can bring back anybody. You know, like, literally anybody could come back because of that dynamic. So, to get to write that character and to get to write that character from a different point of view and show what overlapped with our world and their world and what is just their own world, I think would be a ton of fun. And it’s also great for the actors, I would imagine, to be able to get to play different versions of the character. So, you’re not totally out of your comfort zone, but you can also keep creating and evolving your character. Because, you know, Charlie was a character that was going to be a one off, but it was very clear from the dailies that there was a special human that we wanted to work with, and that character grew because of her performance. Felicia gave us permission to really grow out her character. It was so great.
Thank you to Robbie for this interview!