It was Syfy's idea to have a gay character on Warehouse 13

One of the many cool things about Warehouse 13 is that the cast now includes Steve Jinks, a gay man who's a three-dimensional character and isn't defined by his sexuality. And Steve is apparently here to stay, after a very close call a while back.

When we were on a conference call with the showrunner and stars of Warehouse 13 last week, we were surprised to learn that the idea to make Steve gay came from the network. Syfy asked, and the writers made it happen.

Some spoilers for upcoming episodes ahead...

We asked about the relationship between Pete Lattimer and Steve Jinks — now that both men have difficult relationships with their moms to bond over — and showrunner Jack Kenny responded with this surprising tidbit:

The notion for Steve being a gay character came from the network initially, which we jumped on.

We had actually kicked it around a little bit in the room and we thought, "Well, let's not try to define this guy yet. Let's see who he is and how he operates." And the network said, "Well, what if he was gay?" And we're like, "Oh, yes, cool. We thought about that, but if you guys are cool with that, we'd love that."

And Kenny added that the key to the Pete-Steve relationship was the idea that Pete is "the absolute coolest straight guy ever," who has no problem with Steve being gay, especially since now there's finally someone to appreciate everything Pete's got going on. "It's really about people relating to people as human beings as opposed to their labels. But I did feel like it would be cool for Pete to be the coolest straight guy ever and I'm sure that Breitbart.com is just going to go wild with that statement, which is fine with me," Kenny joked.

Meanwhile, we also asked how the show was coping with having a 20-episode season split into two halves — instead of the 13-episode seasons it's had in the past. How do you fill those extra seven hours, and how do you structure that? Kenny responded:

We knew we were doing 20 [episodes], thank God, early on. I was told, I think, in the fall that it was going to 20 and that they we're going to do two sets of 10, and the way that changes story breaking is [that] it's a good way, actually.

We get to do a 10-episode arc, rather than a 13-episode arc — which is always a little bit harder, stretching it out over 13. I'm sad that we lost our Christmas episodes, because it's two sets of ten as opposed to a set of 12 and a Christmas [story]. But we basically arced out two seasons. One heavily affected by the other and the whole arc of all 20 kind of having a theme of mortality and dealing with ... our own mortality.

And then able to - we were able to arc out the "evil" arc, you know, already having created something in the first ten in a really nice cool way that culminates in a hugely important season finale [which airs tonight], but then also starts another boulder rolling down a hill for the second 10 in several different ways — our characters dealing with the aftermath of that evil. [The events of tonight's episode launch] the new arc for the second 10.

So I'd say, on the whole, it allowed us to do shorter more concise, more fun arc — because, you know, when you don't have to take up a lot of time, you get to really explore the arc every week and to do two big season arcs rather than just one.

Other stuff we learned on that call:

  • The whole "Steve Jinks is dependent on a metronome and Claudia to stay alive" arc has been resolved, apart from the ongoing relationship between Steve and Claudia
  • Saul Rubinek spoke passionately about how much freedom Syfy has given Kenny and the other writers to try new things and push the show in new directions, instead of resting on their laurels. Given such a big hit show, it would be easy to stick to a formula, and the show hasn't done that.
  • People were asked when they knew the show was a hit, and Eddie McClintock responded that he knew "when I was putting a dollar in this girl's G string and she looked down from the stage and said to me, 'Hey, you're that guy from Warehouse 13.'" Added Kenny, "And the next thing she said was, 'A dollar?'"

The midseason finale of Warehouse 13 airs tonight at 9 PM on Syfy.