In the paranormal realm of TV’s “Supernatural,” being murdered in Season 12 doesn’t mean the witch Rowena MacLeod can’t reappear in Season 13. In some form or another, she’ll be back.
Played by Scottish actress Ruth Connell, Rowena is the longest-running female character in “Supernatural” history. By popular demand, Connell travels the world, attending fantasy and sci-fi conventions featuring members of the “Supernatural” cast.
Connell, Stan Lee (Marvel Comics), David Tennant (“Doctor Who”) and Jason Momoa (“Game of Thrones”) are among dozens of celebrity guests at this weekend’s Wizard World Comic Con at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Connell’s previous trips to New Orleans include a 2016 visit to attend the New Orleans Film Festival. The festival screened “Hara Kiri,” a romantic drama that characteristically stars Connell as a bad mother. Appropriately, “Hara Kiri” writer-director Henry Alberto booked his entourage into the Garden District mansion that served as home for the witches in “American Horror Story: Coven.”
The Vancouver-filmed “Supernatural,” which debuted in 2005, stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as Sam and Dean Winchester. The brothers roam the country on a never-ending mission to extinguish evil. Rowena has been both their enemy and ally.
Playing Rowena, Connell said from Edinburgh in December, “is the most fun you can have in an evening gown. I can bring my naughtiest self to the table.”
Despite being a powerful witch, Rowena is not unlikeable, Connell added. “And she loves magic. Magic is her religion.”
Actors and actresses often relish their opportunities to play villains.
“There’s fun in devilment,” Connell said. “One of my favorites things about Rowena is that she never says sorry."
In real life, Connell, a dancer turned actress, is far from being a wicked witch.
“We all have our moments, but I try to be kind,” Connell said after arriving home to Scotland following a convention appearance in Australia. “I think kindness is the most important thing. I’ve had so much kindness shown to me by the ‘Supernatural’ fans. I’m sitting here now unpacking my suitcase and the gifts from the fans in Australia.”
Connell joined the “Supernatural” cast in 2014 for the series’ 10th season. She said she is delighted Rowena will return in the new season.
“Season 13, and we’re still going strong,” she said “That’s largely due to Jared and Jensen, the leads. They have such excellent attitudes. They work hard, but they make sure it’s fun. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we really get the work done. Jared and Jensen and the writers and producers keep it going. We’re all aware of how lucky we are.”
Like Connell, series stars Padalecki and Ackles often appear at conventions.
“There are a lot of conventions, but Jared and Jensen know how important it is to meet the fans and have that relationship,” Connell said.
Appearing solo onstage at conventions in front of hundreds or thousands of fans has been a confidence-builder for the naturally shy actress who grew up on her father’s a cattle farm near Bonnybridge.
Based in Los Angeles, Connell’s pre-“Supernatural” credits include dance and theater in the United Kingdom and video game and TV voiceover work as Merida, the Scottish princess in Disney-Pixar’s animated feature film “Brave.” She is Disney’s official voice match for Merida, the young heroine in the 2012 film originally played by Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald.
“Doing voice stuff is so much fun,” Connell said. “But I wasn’t a confident speaker, so for me to earn money through my voice, it’s been a big journey to doing that. I usually kick my shoes off when I do Merida. She’s feisty and brave. A great character. And there’s no vanity in voice work. You really get to act your socks off.”
When she signed on for “Supernatural,” the world of fandom and fantasy and sci-fi conventions was totally new to Connell.
“The casting agent told my agent, ’We don’t think Ruth quite understands the impact her role might have or the way the fandom works,’ ” Connell remembered. “And I really didn’t. It’s turned out to be this whole other life, traveling to conventions and meeting the fans. These past couple of years, it has been the biggest part of my life.”