This chapter of the beloved Syfy series Wynonna Earp is coming to a close with the 12th episode of its fourth season, premiering April 9. To bid farewell to the groundbreaking queer series, creator and showrunner Emily Andras and stars Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Katherine Barrell, who play the queer characters Waverly Earp and Nicole Haught, joined a panel presented by GLAAD to reminisce about the series and its impact on LGBTQ+ representation.
In the panel “Wynonna Earp: A Look Back at the Series’ Queer Legacy,” which also included Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s director of entertainment research and analysis, and was moderated by The Advocate’s editor in chief, Tracy E. Gilchrist, Andras, Provost-Chalkley, and Barrell spoke candidly about their journeys with the show.
Wynonna Earp premiered in 2016, and by the show’s second episode, there were undeniable sparks between Waverly and Nicole. The series imagines Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano), a descendant of Wyatt Earp, as the heir who’s the only person who can put the supernatural revenants (the villains of the Old West that Wyatt killed) into their final resting place. There’s horror, humor, and heart in the series, which has resonated with fans who saved it with a grassroots campaign when the studio had it on the chopping block. And an important portion of the fan base includes queer women who identify with and cheer for WayHaught, a couple that has defied the tropes and pitfalls that have long defined lesbian and bisexual female characters in TV and film.
In the discussion, Andras, who also created Lost Girl (with a bisexual lead character), confirmed her desire to continue with the kind of storytelling that has been so meaningful to LGBTQ+ people.
“I think I'm only interested now in telling stories about people who maybe don't see themselves on television and particularly in the queer community,” Andras said. “I think there's such an audience for it, and I think of all the young people it could help and save, but also people who maybe aren't even in the community, just to see these kinds of complicated, human, warm, fun, heroic portrayals of people who identify as queer is going to help change the world.”
During the run of the show, Provost-Chalkley and Barrell spoke out about their identities within the LGBTQ+ community. Provost-Chalkley credited the role of Waverly with helping her on her journey.
“It really enabled me to step into my truth and the shoes of the queer woman that I am, the queer human being I am, and really have the courage and the confidence to embody that,” she said.
Throughout the discussion, Andras, Provost-Chalkley, and Barrell all shouted out to the fans and also shared their experiences working with the show’s amazing anchor in Scrofano. Barrell spoke about the show’s lasting effect on LGBTQ+ TV.
“I think so strongly there was this 'meant to be' quality of the show, the people that were involved, and the way it all came together and the fan base, and just like the time that it came out, and how much change we've borne witness to in the past five years, especially when we're talking about queer representation…,” she said. “I would bet anything that this show changed the landscape. It did, and there was something in the universe that shifted and was like, now we need this show. And it was like lightning in a bottle.”
One thing they all agreed on was that Friday’s series finale is the close of a chapter. They all held space for more Wynonna Earp to come.
Watch the full panel below.