The following is about the Classic Gerosha version of Chris Kennal from the original Blood Over Water miniseries. For the Cataclysmic Gerosha version, see Purge-Flare. For the actor who portrayed the original character, see Chris Wilson.
Chris Kennal is a villain in the miniseries version of Blood Over Water, which is canon to Classic Gerosha and Comprehensive Gerosha. He was originally co-created by the Dozerfleet founder and by Star Power Marketing and Entertainment founder / VH1 associate Chris Wilson for the miniseries, which was intended for the Ferris Access Channel and Dozerfleet Studios.
Chris, born in late 1982, grew up with a mixed family background in northern Georgia. With half his family religious and the other half not, Chris was often confused about what his purpose in life could be. He eventually met Mark Stefflin, and the two of them quickly became best friends. Both of them in 2006 took a job working for Bob Lusital at the Sleet Mountain Lower Northern bottling plant. While living in the Big Rapids area, Chris also got to know Mark's twin brother Aaron Stefflin - though Mark and Chris seldom spoke of Aaron at work. In Big Rapids, Chris felt he could safely discover himself. He began living out all sorts of hedonistic ambitions, the likes of which he learned from back in Georgia.
Blood Over Water
Main article: Blood Over Water
Chris and Mark had worked together at Sleet Mountain for three years. Somewhere along the way, the new CEO Clyde Spendelworth got greedy and decided that it'd be easier to pollute a pond nearby the bottling company's property rather than actually spend the money on legitimate waste disposal.
By engaging in some fraudulent paperwork, Clyde was able to trick the EPA. As such, Sleet Mountain saved itself millions of dollars. He and a small inner network of conspirators stood to benefit directly from this scheme.
Clyde initially called three employees in from Sleet Mountain to partake with him in the conspiracy; and to share in the embezzled funds acquired through cleanup fraud: Chris, Mark, and George. All of them initially went along with the plan, though only out of fear. Mark, deciding that he didn't want to be responsible for such felonious behavior, revealed in confidence to Chris that he wanted no part of the conspiracy; and that he wouldn't accept any bribe money.
Knowing how close Mark and Chris were to each other, Clyde decided to have George spy on them. George's eavesdropping revealed that Mark wanted out; and Clyde agreed with George that this was too dangerous: Mark had to die for even suggesting wanting out! George soon hired a hitman, in the form of Vance Lingolin, to off Mark. However, Vance wound up in an accident in which he himself wound up dead. This failed assassination attempt tipped off Mark that somebody wanted him to die, and he took measures to secure some confidential folders - hoping he could take them home and expose the company's plan on an off day.
Fearful after learning the incriminating documents were missing, Clyde ordered Chris go to Mark's house and personally kill him off for being a snitch; luring a newcomer named Ashley Phillips into the conspiracy. Fully aware that she was not someone whom Mark knew very well, Clyde suspected Ashley's ruse to trap Mark would work.
Clyde gave orders to Chris to instruct Ashley on how to set a trap. Together, Chris and Ashley successfully killed Mark; but they ransacked his house in vain trying to find the "Confidential" folder. Soon afterward, Ashley was never seen again. What none of them counted on was that Aaron would grow curious as to why Mark didn't call him back on his phone; and that Aaron would go to the apartment and find Mark's folder. Behind Chris' back, Clyde had George lure into the conspiracy his business partner Kyle Tugrass. Kyle was to be there just in case Chris tried to double-cross everyone.
Chris spends the rest of his time keeping half an eye on Aaron, in the hopes that Aaron doesn't get too close to solving the mystery. Things take a turn for the worst when George and Kyle try to set a trap for Mark (whom they believe Aaron to be, due to the events in Part 2.) This results in them capturing Aaron, and inadvertently exposing everything to him. Amidst their debate about which one of them was to murder Mark (still believing Chris failed his job,) Aaron escapes. This forces Chris to reveal to the other two conspirators that Mark had a twin named Aaron. Also, fearing that they won't trust him, Chris decides that he must earn George and Kyle's trust by agreeing with them to kidnap and murder Aaron. Secretly, Chris decides that Aaron was an innocent outsider who shouldn't have to die; but he decides he must go along with the plan until the time is right to stage his redemption.
He is tempted to simply kill Aaron and call it good; but then he realizes that the innocent outsider Monica has been inadvertently dragged into the mess. Unwilling to murder an outside innocent with a family, Chris decides to trick George and Kyle into believing he will go along with Aaron and Monica's execution-style murders. At the last minute, he decides to knock them out instead - and misfire his gun. He takes advantage of George and Kyle being distracted as an opportunity to betray and murder both of them.
He leaves Aaron an apology note for everything, flees with his share of the money, and vanishes. The end credits reveal Chris to be "still at large," as authorities have never had any luck apprehending him.
Chris is portrayed as being a (usually) calm, rational, calculating individual. He is understood as being very close friends - almost like a brother - to Mark and Aaron. All the same, he is very unscrupulous and greedy when it comes to money. He is also portrayed to be a bit cowardly, fearful of double-crossing Clyde while his goons George Lawence and Kyle Tugrass are still alive. He is, however; willing to resort to deception, fraud, and even murder to get his hands on a little extra cash. He likes to believe that he can have it all: close friends and family on one hand; while living in greed and villainy on the other.
- Comprehensive Chris Kennal (Earth-G6): This version of Chris had a virtually identical history to that of his Classic Gerosha counterpart. As such, he is never mentioned as joining the Abolished. It is unknown if anything of significance after the Blood Over Water timeline ever did or would happen to him.
- Cataclysmic Gerosha Purge-Flare (Earth-G7.0): This dramatically reimagined version of Chris eventually becomes an antihero dubbed the "Purge-Flare," and goes to war to take down Clyde Spendelworth after Clyde's Gleeful-N'-Young child sex trafficking ring is bought out by the Hebbleskin Gang. Chris models his costume to make himself look like Extirpon, using public fear of the latter to deceive his enemies about who is actually attacking them - since Extirpon has also gone after Gleeful-N'-Young personnel. Chris has teamed up with Sniperbadger on one occasion, and helped the Sodality of Gerosha with taking down Victor Nanale of the Kerpher Gang. He later joins the Sodality of Florence.
See also: Development of Blood Over Water
The character of Chris Kennal began as the brainchild of actor Chris Wilson, who portrayed him in the miniseries. The character's existence emerged every bit as much out of necessity as anything else, in spite at-the-time accusations of narcissism. Someone was needed to play the part of the tall, smooth-talking, friendly associate and company insider whom Aaron trusted. Kyle was all pumped to play a bad guy, and Chris' directorial vision ruled that there had to be two main bad guys plus a CEO villain. Therefore, the Dozerfleet founder was to be cast as George Lawence. This meant that Zach had to fill in as Clyde, with only his obscured back side being shown in order to obscure the fact that it was Zach playing the part. Initially, there were plans for instructors Clayton Rye or Nathan Meadows to play the part of Clyde. Both either declined or were unavailable.
Even as such, Chris didn't show up on screen until the second episode. The first episode featured only two actors: Zach, and a Ferris DPS officer. While Zach played the part of Aaron Stefflin, the officer played as himself. Chris argued that it would be good practice for Zach throughout the miniseries' run, as they needed the star to be the most convincing actor. Chris was as self-conscious and concerned as everyone else in development that his own acting skills were not very great. The Dozerfleet founder's attempts to alleviate the casting issues by sending ads to theater students proved fruitless, thereby forcing everyone in the crew to also serve as cast. Most students, Chris included, preferred being behind the camera to being in front of it.
Chris hinted around the middle of production of Part 2 that he intended for his character to be playing both sides in the struggle. By the end of Part 2, as planning commenced for Part 3, Chris made it clear his character would be a bad guy. However, a final plot twist was worked into Part 4 so that the episode could end happily. This was to be the end of all such efforts to show Chris as riding the fence. But Part 5 took the twists and turns further, due to class instructor Nathan Meadows' objections that the original ending made Chris "look too cold-blooded." In spite the actor's protests, several shots at the end were re-shot to portray Chris as being slightly remorseful about having committed three homicides. The original ending seemed to contradict Part 4's ending, showing Chris as having little to no remorse and caring only about his own fate. Outtakes of both ending versions were shown on the blooper reel.
Chris Kennal's appearance has always been modeled after the appearance of the real-life Chris Wilson.
- Blood Over Water
- Aaron Stefflin
- Monica Shelly
- George Lawence
- Kyle Tugrass
- Clyde Spendelworth