WATCH: Celebrate the legacy of Wynonna Earp

This Friday, April 9, Syfy's hit supernatural drama Wynonna Earp will wrap its run on Syfy with its fourth season. GLAAD, Syfy and The Advocate hosted a special extended panel looking back at the queer legacy of the series, the power of the Earper's, the impact the series has had on both fans and the cast and creators, and more. Check it out now below; moderated by Tracy E. Gilchrist, Editor in Chief of The Advocate, with Creator, Executive Producer and Showrunner Emily Andras, stars Dominique Provost-Chalkley (Waverly Earp) and Katherine Barrell (Nicole Haught), and GLAAD's Director of Entertainment Research & Analysis Megan Townsend.

Wynonna Earp - developed by Emily Andras from the IDW comics series of the same name - centers on the descendants of legendary gunslinger Wyatt Earp. Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) reluctantly returns to her hometown after years away and an estrangement from her family to take up her responsibilities as the Heir of Wyatt: protecting Purgatory from the resurrected demon souls of the men he killed. There she reunites with her younger sister Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) who joins Wynonna in working to break the Earp family curse and defend Purgatory.

Waverly eventually falls in love with local Sheriff, Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell), and the two become a key part of the series. The idea of found family is at the center of Wynonna Earp, and Waverly is the glue that holds that family together. The series also features several other queer characters, including Jeremy, another member of the team fighting to protect the citizens of Purgatory.

Wynonna Earp is a three-time GLAAD Media Awards nominee, and has twice been named “Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show” of the year at the People’s Choice Awards. Speaking on the panel actor Kat Barrell said of the series, “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… I would bet anything that this show changed the landscape. […] And it was like lightning in a bottle.”

Provost-Chalkley spoke on the impact of Waverly’s journey coming out as bisexual and falling in love on the show and the real-life impact that story had on her, saying, “I don't think I would have got to where I am now, at this point in my life, had it not been for Waverly, for Waverly and Nicole's beautiful relationship that I got to experience. […] I got to live it through Waverly and then meeting the fans of the TV show and being kind of immersed into queer culture, that I had never been a part of before, was so eye-opening. I've said this before but meeting the fans and having people come up to my table and share these unbelievably inspiring stories about how, because of Waverly, they would say, because of you, I've had the courage to come out to my parents. […] I have largely, down to Waverly, really, and Emily for writing this character and allowing me to play her. 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.”

Wynonna premiered in April 2016, during an unprecedented wave of several TV series killing off queer, bi+, and lesbian women characters. As a series that deals heavily in violence, peril, and high stakes, queer fans have flocked to the show which has adroitly balanced the drama of danger while also creating a safe space. The series is also notable for being one of few with an outstanding bisexual central character in Waverly. While bisexual+ people actually make up the majority of the community (52 percent), GLAAD’s most recent Where We Are on TV study found that only 28% of LGBTQ TV characters are bi+.

As fans prepare to watch the finale tomorrow night, Andras hopes they take one key message away from the series.

“And lastly to the Earpers, I'll get so emotional, but if you take something from this show, please be brave enough to live who you are, whatever that means to you and however long it takes you to get there, whether it's 21 years or two minutes or you've always known. I think it's so important that you try to define yourself by who you are and who you want to be rather than who people tell you to be. That has been a joy for me, and I really hope the audience takes that message because only then, I think, can you find peace and be happy. And that will make me feel like we really did help you and it was worth it. It was always worth it, but please take that message. That would mean the world to me. If you went out into your own lives and tried in your own way to be as brave as Waverly and Nicole. So, thank you,” said Andras.