“Wynonna Earp” creator Emily Andras talks WayHaught survival

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AfterEllen: Were you expecting this kind of fan reaction, particularly from LGBT fans, in how they’ve embraced Waverly/Haught?

Emily Andras: No, I was completely blown away, and I come from one of the most passionate LGBT communities of all time–which is Lost Girl. So I know how passionate my girls can get. Like, I get it. But I was still blown away. I was so delighted. I think overall I have been quite genuinely moved by fan response to the show.

It’s this weird little show, Dorothy. It’s a weird, demon-hunting feminist cowboy show. I can’t believe it got made, and I can’t believe that people get it. I’m not even kidding; it’s such an anomaly on television right now, so that has been so gratifying. I did talk to (Dominique Provost-Chalkley, who plays Waverly) and (Katherine Barrell, who plays Officer Haught) a lot about the passionate LGBT community and how important it is that they see themselves represented on television as people, not as tropes. And the one thing I talk about a lot is I really want to make the relationship about the relationship. Not every lesbian or gay or whatever relationship is the same in the same way not every straight relationship is the same. That’s one thing I really learned from Lost Girl. Conflict should come from whom the characters are, not the fact that they’re gay or straight or other.

So we all talked a lot about the fact that, yes, they were hopefully going to be embraced by LGBT community. But, oh my God, the response after that one two-minute scene, when Nicole Haught walks into Shorty’s and Waverly sprays herself with beer blew my mind. I just love that people understood the spirit of it. Like that Nicole was sort of unapologetic, she knows what she wants and who she is, but she isn’t a predator. And that Waverly was so delighted and baffled and turned on and freaked out. The fact that people just responded to that scene and completely lost their mind–I think Tumblr went insane–was so gratifying. It was amazing. And just knowing what’s coming, it just makes me really happy. We had already shot the whole season so if people said, “Well, I don’t buy this relationship or these characters,” well, that’s the danger of cable because it’s already done. But I could see that they could see the chemistry between these two actresses. It made the kiss in [episode] 9 that much more satisfying.

AE: Did you know from the start you wanted the show to be LGBT-inclusive? How early in the creative process did that happen?

EA: Yeah, I knew from conception, so that was about three years ago. Representing the LGBT community is really important to me, and I would hope that anything I ever create has elements of that–if not at the forefront than certainly on the fringes. So Waverly was always going to kind of find herself and maybe explore her sexuality and what she wants out of life. And I always knew that Nicole was going to be gay. So, yeah, right from the beginning I knew it was important.

I am lucky enough that I come from Canada, I worked on Lost Girl. I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that if they hire me, it’s going to be part of my work. I’m very up-front about the fact that diversity and representation is important to me. But, as always, you have to fight for those things. But it’s getting easier.

 

AE: So it sounds like you always wanted Waverly, who is not in the original comics, to be the character to explore–or possibly more accurately discover–her sexuality. How would you define where she falls on the LGBT spectrum right now?

EA: Right, we definitely always knew she was the one who would explore her sexuality, just because it spoke to so much about how Waverly is as a character. Especially with her growing up in a small town. I feel like I have a lot of friends who have personally gone through that in their own life. There are a lot of people who knew they didn’t exactly fit on the straight spectrum from a very young age. But I have an equal number of friends who came to recognize their sexuality later in life–like in their 20s or even 30s or even 40s. And I feel like that is a story that isn’t always told on television, and I thought that was interesting and felt like new ground to cover.

Where Waverly is right now on the sexuality spectrum, I actually don’t want to put a number on it right now. We should be with Waverly as she discovers it. I don’t know–is she pan? Is she bi? Is she gay? I don’t even think that she is thinking in those terms. She just knows she really likes this individual right now and is feeling things she hasn’t felt before. So no spoilers on the spectrum.

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AE: But Nicole then, she’s definitely L on the LGBT spectrum.

EA: She’s definitely L. She’s full L.