Supernatural fans at San Diego Comic-Con had a special treat this year. Not only did Misha Collins (Castiel) bring donuts to those waiting in line, but the panel opened with Kansas on stage playing “Carry on Wayward Son.” As panel hosts Richard Speight, Jr. (Gabriel) and Rob Benedict (Chuck) pointed out, it felt like a sign that Supernatural has really made it. Apparently, they weren’t the only ones excited to see the band because Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester), Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) and Misha Collins surprised fans when they stood in the back of Hall H to watch Kansas perform. You never know you might see in the crowd at San Diego Comic-Con, especially at a Supernatural panel.
Who Will Return for Season 13
Showrunners Bob Singer and Andrew Dabb participated in the panel, alongside Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. If it seems like a smaller panel than usual, it was. After all, as Ackles noted, the Season 12 finale “was a bloodbath.” Rob Benedict started things out asking Bob Singer, “Did you really kill Castiel?” As Singer (jokingly) described Misha Collins as a bit of a prima donna, Collins showed up with his own chair in tow:
“I was back there, but they never told me to come out. But I heard my name, so I assumed….”
When Ackles asked what it’s like to not be on the show anymore, Collins assuaged fans’ fears by telling the audience, “I’m not going away.” Fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Castiel will return to Supernatural in some form or another.
Bob Singer also confirmed that Mary Winchester (played by Samantha Smith) would be returning: “Spoiler alert, mom is not dead.” The audience may know Mary has survived, but Sam and Dean can’t be sure what happened to their mother. Dean believes that she’s gone, while Sam thinks that because she went through the rift alive she could still have survived on the other side. These different perspectives place the brothers at odds because Sam’s first priority is a mission to find Mom, while Dean thinks they have to focus on Jack.
The alternative universe where Mary and Lucifer are trapped opens the doors for dead characters to return to the series, just as Bobby Singer did in “All Along the Watchtower.” Dabb confirmed there are some cool characters coming back both in our world and in the Apocalypse world. Sheriff Jody Mills will return, and Missouri Moseley, who we haven’t seen since Season 1, will make an appearance. He added that, “Some people who have been long dead on our show are less dead in the Apocalypse world, and much different characters.” Supernatural always keeps us hoping that our favorites will come back.
While Season 11 concluded with the boys saving the world without having to sacrifice anyone, Season 12 ended with huge losses. Dabb pointed out that Season 12 centered on building community:
“It was really about how Sam and Dean impact each other, but also other people. So you saw how they impacted other hunters, you saw how they impacted Crowley, and Rowena, and Castiel, Jody Mills … a lot of people stepping up and essentially helping the Winchesters in the ways the Winchesters have helped so many people. That was really important to us—to build a sense of community, and then, because it’s Supernatural, you tear it all down.”
Jack and Nature vs. Nurture
Now that Lucifer’s son is in the picture, the Winchester brothers have different perspectives on moving forward. Dean, who likes to shoot first and ask questions later, believes Jack has to go. But Sam, ever the optimist, wants to explore options. Dabb points out that Sam himself was once destined to end the world, but was able to choose a different path.
The panel discussed Padalecki’s Twitter account getting hacked last week, which he jokingly blamed Misha Collins for. Padalecki protested that the only person to tell him was Matt Cohen, who messaged, “Dude. Twitter.” Two years previously, while at Comic-Con, Padalecki nabbed Collins’ phone and posted “I hate fans.” When Benedict pointed out that Padalecki has done something like that to almost all of them, Speight added, “Yeah, that’s why you didn’t get a lot of warning phone calls from friends.”
Starting its 13th year, Supernatural is the longest running science fiction show in North America. Speight pointed out that the show continues to reinvent itself with fun stories, driven by outstanding performances. The panel talked about how the show and their characters have evolved over time.
Ackles noted that he loves that they’re never doing the same thing twice. He’s proud to be involved with something that has lasted so long. Padalecki talked about how he and his character have had a similar experience. Initially, things were hard and there wasn’t a lot of support, but “gradually, as the show was going on, both Sam and Jared have realized this is life, and life is pretty great.” Misha Collins described a moment earlier in the week when Ackles talked about a dream he had in which Sam died at the end of the series:
“The amazing thing about it was that when he was describing this dream, the three of us kind of got choked up because we all know these characters so well, they’re so a part of us, that we have actually sort of taken them into our own emotional family. If that makes any sense. They feel real to us. And so the thought of Jensen as Dean losing Sam is actually, like, heartbreaking—which is kind of amazing. And that can only possibly happen with a show that’s been running for this long.”
Benedict pointed out that when you visit the set “the enthusiasm is all still there. The writing is still 100 percent.” He also noted that Ackles and Padalecki continue to be strong performers, which makes the show consistently great. Singer described how they once approached him about flipping the dialogue in a scene because it made more sense for them as characters:
“They’re always in the moment like this and thinking about what they do. And also that I think they feel comfortable enough with the producing staff to come up to want to make this honest change. And that we are comfortable enough with the actors to know that this is not about ego or anything else; this is just about making the show better. The relationship that I think we all have is really special. And getting back to why I’m still here—I think it’s because these relationships are really dear to me. I just appreciate every day I can work on the show.”
Padalecki pointed out that their relationships are genuine. They truly enjoy and trust each other. Speight explained:
“The show is about family, but the show is a family. It’s clear when you see it from the outside—when you visit as an actor, when you visit as a director. From the whole crew, from you guys, all the way down the list, and in LA—it’s a family. And it’s an impressive thing to witness. It truly is. And the other member of the family, by the way—the fans.”
Richard Speight, Jr. has not only played the archangel Gabriel on the series, but has directed several Supernatural episodes (“Just My Imagination,” “Stuck in the Middle [With You],” and “Twigs & Twine & Tasha Banes”). Bob Singer gave him kudos for his outstanding work as a director on the series. We couldn’t agree more.
An audience member asked, “Which character would make the most interesting spin-off?” With all the rumors of a Wayward Daughters spin-off, it’s a question that’s been on a lot of people’s minds. Dabb responded:
“We very much feel that we have some really, really strong female characters on the show—Jody Mills … Donna Hanscum, and Alex Jones. And we feel they would make an extremely exciting addition to the Supernatural universe.”
Dabb’s response confirmed what several news outlets have been reporting—that during Season 13 fans can expect a backdoor pilot for a Wayward Sisters spinoff starring Kim Rhodes as Sheriff Jody Mills. Casting has already begun, and Digital Spy reported that the new series will include Sheriff Donna Hanscum (Briana Buckmaster), Claire Novak (Kathryn Newton) and Alex Jones (Katherine Ramdeen), along with new character Patience Turner (Clark Backo).
Though it wasn’t discussed at the Supernatural panel, Ackles, Padalecki, and Collins did talk about the Scooby-Doo episode fans have been buzzing about at an Entertainment Weekly interview at Comic-con. Jensen initially thought the episode would be Scooby-Doo-esque, but he was excited to learn that it was a legitimate crossover episode in which their animated characters would appear alongside the cartoon character cast from Scooby-Doo. Collins noted that when they were doing the voice-over work there was palpable excitement amongst the Supernatural cast. Ackles shared his excitement about the Season 13 episode, pointing out how great it is that after 12 seasons the writers still throw them curveballs.
Collins pointed out, “No live-action drama has ever co-opted an animated show and aired it within the one-hour segment. It’s really genre-bending.” The CW network is known for their crossovers, particularly among their DC Comic properties like Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. Ackles noted:
“They’ve often talked about Supernatural crossing over into something. I love that it’s Scooby-Doo. It’s such a random choice and I love it.”
These are the creative choices that remind us why Supernatural is one of the most innovative shows on television today.
Supernatural Season 13
Hope you’re as excited for the new season of Supernatural as we are. Tell us what you’re hoping to see in Season 13. Which characters do you think could return in the alternative universe of Supernatural?
Supernatural Season 13 premieres Thursday, October 12 at 8pm ET on The CW.