For whatever reason — be it the writing, or the fans, or the chemistry — “Supernatural” has not had the best of luck with female characters. It’s very rare that women in the Winchester world win over the audience, and it’s even more rare that they survive beyond one episode. Charlie, the delightfully geeky, courageous lesbian who we first met last season, is an exception to that rule.
She’s almost universally beloved, which is largely due to Felicia Day‘s enthusiasm and commitment to the role, and her unparalleled understanding of female fans of genre TV.
When we last saw her, Charlie was on the run from the Leviathans after helping the Winchesters hack into Dick Roman’s computer and save the day.
In tonight’s new episode, “LARP and the Real Girl,” Sam and Dean happen upon her once again while investigating a series of strange deaths, as they do. Last season, Dean had to teach Charlie to flirt — but this season, the Winchesters are in her world. Charlie is, quite literally, the Queen of the live-action role-playing game that the boys have to infiltrate in order to catch their bad guy… who just might be a fairy.
We chatted with Day about returning to set, getting her hands on some weapons, and some favorite moments between Charlie and Dean.
Zap2it: I feel like I should congratulate for playing the most beloved female character — and, to some degree, the only beloved female character — that we’ve seen on “Supernatural.” What is it about Charlie that makes her the exception?
Day: People keep saying that to me! I’m honored, I guess. You know — I think it’s pretty simple. Charlie is a very three-dimensional character. She’s a geek girl in a really authentic way, her nerdiness doesn’t feel contrived or mocked. There are a lot of ways to connect with her, which is what drew me to the role in the first place.
Zap2it: When we chatted with you last year, you said that your first impression of the “Supernatural” set was that it was very testosterone-driven, and it was a bit overwhelming. Was it a little more comfortable this time, now that you had the lay of the land?
Day: It was definitely something that I felt much more comfortable in. Any set you walk onto for the first time, it’s a whole new world, and it’s a family. As welcoming as they are, and they’re very very welcoming, as a person you have to get used to the rhythm and the sensibility of a set. Coming back, it was so easy, in a way, to do your best work, when Jared and Jensen set the tone of the set to be so welcoming and comfortable and creatively free. I loved working with the guys again. Specifically, there are some great moments between Charlie and Dean that I personally felt like were some of the highlights of my acting lately. I think the fans are going to love it.
Zap2it: What was your reaction when you read the script and realized that LARP was a theme in the episode?
Day: I was thrilled when they called to have me back on the show, and I had actually seen some of the launch press, some spoilers that the showrunners had talked about there being a LARPing episode. When they called me, though, they didn’t actually tell me it was the LARPing episode. So when I saw the script, and I saw “LARP and the Real Girl,” I was so excited to see the title on the front page. It was my secret hope they would ask me back for that episode! I knew I had no control over it, but it was just in the back of my mind. I was like “Oh, gosh. They’re doing LARPing? I want to be in on it.”
Zap2it: There’s always a fine line on this show, between showcasing fandom and mocking fandom. Where does this fall?
Day: I’m not actually a LARPer myself, but I’ve always been fascinated by that sub-culture. I really love the way the script deals with it. It highlights it, it has fun with it, but it doesn’t make fun of it. I think it’s a really hard tone, but a perfect tone, to show people why people LARP and why it would be fun, and why Charlie, in particular, is drawn to this.
Zap2it: When we last saw Charlie, the WInchesters told her to make herself disappear. What’s she been up to over the last year-plus?
Day: I think the Charlie that you see in this episode is a little bit more jaded, and a little bit more protective of herself. She’s kind of put down roots in this world, and when Sam and Dean show up, she knows that there’s going to be some danger, and that’s what she was running from. It’s an interesting dynamic between them at first, but I think she’s not one to be easily thrown. She quickly decides she’s going to do what needs to be done, especially because the thing that she loves, this LARPing world, is being threatened.
Zap2it: You’re obviously familiar with elaborate costumes, but Sam and Dean tend to be jeans-and-boots kind of guys. How did Jared and Jensen like wearing all the costumes?
Day: It was definitely fun to, ah, have fun with Jensen’s discomfort. I have to say that he wears it very well. I’ll say this — this episode, you’re going to want to be ready to screenshot it. There are some amazing moments you’re just going to want to preserve.
Zap2it: From the photos, it looks like Charlie might have a love interest. Was there some romance in her life?
Day: Well, I definitely can say that I did some things I’d never done before! Get those screenshot programs ready, seriously.
Zap2it: Last season you did some fight scenes — did you get to get in on the action again this time around?
Day: I got to put my hands on a lot of weapons, which is great, and once in this episode I even got to show off my dagger skills, which I learned on my project “Dragon Age: Redemption.” I’m extremely proud of being able to handle a dagger that well, so it was fun to use those skills again.
Zap2it: Any chance Charlie will be back again? Please tell me she doesn’t get killed off this time around.
Day: I can just say that I have no information about anything right now, but I can tell you that Charlie is a girl that I love to play, so if the phone rings, I will be there.
Zap2it: You always seem to have so many projects going on at once. What’s next for you?
Day: My web network, Geek and Sundry did a whole year of content, and we’re gearing up, hopefully, for another year, so I’m putting my producer and network-runner hat on for a little while. I’m not only creating my own projects, but I’m going out and sourcing other people’s projects. That’s the thing I love about producing. I can help make somebody else’s world come to life in the web series world.
Zap2it: The Season 6 finale of “The Guild” just aired a couple weeks ago. Is there a Season 7 on the table?
Day: Yes, Season 6 just ended, and fans have been a little bit concerned, thinking it’s the end-end. I’ve been really touched by some of the fan responses. I can just tell everyone that I love the characters, and there are a
lot more stories left to tell with “The Guild.” It’s just a question of maybe changing the format a little bit to reinvent the way that we’re doing the show. Six seasons is more than most TV shows get, so I will be looking forward to that once I get Geek and Sundry Season 2 off the ground.
Tune in to “Supernatural” Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. EST on The CW.