Great storytelling has kept viewers coming back to Supernatural year after year. The cast never misses a chance to share the love with their fans at a convention. They’re regulars at San Diego’s Comic-Con, where attendees had a chance to learn what, and who, to expect during their 12th Season of Supernatural on The CW.
The panel was moderated by the Kings of Con team of Richard Speight, Jr. (Gabriel) and Rob Benedict (Chuck Shurley/CarverEdlund/God). The 2016 Comic-Con panel featured new showrunners Robert Singer and Andrew Dabb, and stars Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester), Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester), Misha Collins (Castiel), Mark Sheppard (Crowley), Samantha Smith (Mary Winchester), and Ruth Connell (Rowena). The panel was the last in Hall H for this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, taking place on Sunday, July 24, 2016.
Back to the Basics
When asked how the series will follow the return of God and his sister Amara in Season 11, Robert Singer noted, “You don’t get bigger than God.” The focus during Season 12 will be telling smaller stories, including “some good old-fashioned horror.” As well as Monster of the Week storytelling, the series will explore the British Men of Letters, the disappearance of Lucifer, and the return of Mary Winchester.
Other characters returning for Season 12 include Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes), Donna Hanscum (Briana Buckmaster), Claire Novak (Kathryn Newton), Alex Jones (Kathrine Ramdeen), Crowley’s son Gavin MacLeod (Theo Devaney). Despite a gunshot cliffhanger at the end of Season 11, Padalecki confirmed that “Thankfully Sam Winchester is alive because he’s not a Losechester.”
Mary Winchester is Back
With the sudden appearance of Mary Winchester, how will the boys respond to her return? Jensen Ackles noted that “the children that she knew are now men.” They have to bridge the gap of the last 30 years. How will she get involved in their lives? Ackles suggested that based on the Winchester history of taking extreme action to protect family, that her presence could make the brothers more vulnerable.
Jared Padalecki pointed to the dynamic between two sons with their mother as an opportunity to explore new complexities in their relationship. Padalecki noted that the series will continue to explore what it means to be family: “Does blood make you family or is it more than just sharing the same DNA?” Padalecki looks forward to this new dynamic because the Winchesters grew up on their own, raising each other while their dad was hunting. He noted that Sam and Dean “never had a proper family dynamic as far as them being sons.”
With Mary’s return, Supernatural returns to its core theme of family. Andrew Dabb pointed out that Mary has been mythologized and that the boys don’t really know her. When talking about what she hoped for her character this season, Samantha Smith would like to see, “Anything except the perfect mom persona. Everything else is open because that’s all there’s been… Just being a person, a fully actualized person.” Mary was raised like a hunter and Ackles is eager to see “the hunter side of Mary”–how she deals with the supernatural and how it compares with how Sam and Dean approach hunting.
Dabb discussed Castiel’s relationship with Mary Winchester. Castiel knows how important Mary is to the Winchesters, which creates a special dynamic between them. Misha Collins joked Samantha Smith is one of the few people on set who is both good person and a good actor. On a more serious note, Collins added that there is an interesting dynamic between Mary and Castiel because they are both outsiders of sorts. Collins noted that Castiel is back to the Cas of Season 4: “He’s angry, and he’s in a fighting spirit, and he’s after Lucifer. And now that Mary’s back he’s also tattle telling a lot.”
MacLeod Family Reunion
There’s been a hint that Crowley’s family will return but on an expanded scale. Not only will mummy Rowena return in Season 12, but so will son Gavin. Ruth Connell commented, “I don’t think Rowena knows that she’s a grandmother…. I’m not sure she’s not ready to be a glamorous grandmother just yet.” Rowena will be changing her path from last season. According to Dabb, Rowena has made some big moves trying to be the power behind the throne, but in Season 12 she’ll take a step back.
As for Crowley, he’s still not the King of Hell and the series will explore what he ultimately wants. Dabb noted, “Crowley’s relationship with the guys has evolved very nicely over the course of the last two seasons. We want to keep that going.” Singer joked that at least once a week Mark Sheppard asks, “Are you killing me yet?” Fortunately for Sheppard, and viewers, we can expect to see a lot of Crowley in Season 12.
Lucifer on the Loose
Since being expelled from Castiel, Lucifer is looking for a vessel, but he needs a strong one. Lucifer got what he wanted last season – one-on-one time with dad. Dabb explained, “For him he’s kind of out in the world. Ruling heaven, ruling Hell, lacks appeal. We’re seeing Lucifer as kind of on vacation and he wants to have some fun, but he realizes is that when your name is Lucifer it carries a certain amount of baggage.” The first vessel he feels comfortable in is an aging rocker, played by actor/musician Rick Springfield.
Dabb was asked how much of the Season 10 episode “Fan Fiction” was based on real fan fiction. Dabb stated that though it wasn’t based on a specific fan fiction, it was based on what they’re aware of because of their fans. He described the episode as a tribute to the fans.
In closing Singer shared with the audience that the showrunners and writers are inspired by the fan base:
“I don’t think you ever get into a year 12 if you don’t have incredible fans like you people out there. Not only with the ratings of the show and all the support, but that you encourage us to keep making the show as original as we can and to not retread storylines and not sit on our laurels, but to keep the show fresh. I think to get up every day, especially for me being her e from the beginning, and to try to do that you have to draw inspiration from the fan base and what you guys expect of us. We think season 12 is a great testament to you we thank you for that.”
To see the panel, watch below.
Supernatural San Diego Comic Con 2016 panel Part 1
Supernatural San Diego Comic Con 2016 panel Part 2 Fan Questions