If one relationship on Wynonna Earp garnered a reaction among its fans online, it is the one developing between Wynonna’s sister Waverly and Purgatory Police Officer Nicole Haught. Almost as soon as Nicole introduced herself to Waverly at Shorty’s in episode two, the hashtag “WayHaught” appeared and a new ship set sail.
But showrunner Emily Andras told Bleeding Cool she did not expect the response to be so immediate. “I can’t pretend it was what I planned all along,” she said. “It was the most delightful shock of my life.”
“LGBT representation is important to me in my work. I like to put people who do not appear on screen often on screen,” she explained. Her previous show, Lost Girl, was embraced by the lesbian genre community and Andras said she was “struck by their passion” when the show included lesbian characters.
“I knew this could get some traction as soon as I saw dailies of Dominique [Provost-Chalkley] and Katherine [Barrell] together.” She said. But the reaction to the two-minute scene in the second episode was a still a surprise.
“I’m pleased people have taken it in the spirit in which it was intended,” she added. “There’s a sweetness to it and a genuineness to it on top of the sexiness of it. These are two good people having an interesting romance and they’re full fleshed out characters.” She also called it a joy and a terror to have it immediately resonate with the fans.
The couple also stands in contrast to some of the other lesbian relationships on television in recent months. After the deaths of characters like The 100’s Lexa and Person of Interest’s Root, Andras took the rare step and revealed to fans that the WayHaught relationship would not be torn asunder by death in the remaining episodes of the season.”It’s something that goes against all my instincts as a showrunner,” she said, adding that there is a responsibility “not to cause devastation” or bait and switch the viewers when the relationships become so personal.
“It turned out to be a tricky year with lesbian characters getting shot and killed [on other shows],” she said. “If anything good came out of it, it’s that people are aware of the trappings of that trope. It’s important we’re talking about the challenges when representing a community that hasn’t always been positively portrayed on television.”
Though it is always possible death itself may not be the reason Waverly and Nicole’s relationship might dissolve someday. “It’s a dangerous world full of demons and lots of crazy stuff will happen,” she teased.
For the moment, though, the traction of WayHaught online is bringing people to the show and Andras said she was “delighted” many stuck around for the rest of the show. “They’ve stayed for Melanie [Scrofano]’s portrayal of Wynonna. They’ve stayed the storytelling and that’s what you want,” she said. “You want there to be a couple to ship, but you also want viewers to enjoy the show as a whole.”
“But if WayHaught is your gateway drug,” she added, “I’ll be your pusher.”
Wynonna Earp‘s season finale airs tonight on Syfy.