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Comic-Con Q&A: 'Supernatural' Cast Interviews & Panel Highlights (VIDEO)

by Maureen Ryan & Laura Prudom, posted Jul 24th 2011 10:45PM
Jensen Ackles The boys of the CW's 'Supernatural' are back in town (San Diego, to be precise), and this time they took over the monstrous Hall H, Comic-Con's big kahuna.

But before the stars took to the stage, we caught up with them in the press room -- it was a double-team effort, actually, with Mo Ryan on the press line and Laura Prudom doing roundtable interviews. Together we were able to glean a few hints about what's coming up in Season 7, so watch and read carefully.

First, check out our video interviews with Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins and Jim Beaver, including talk of Castiel's new role ("Aw, sh*t, how am I gonna do that?," Collins said with a smile), the show getting dark ("It's always gonna get back to the root of these two brothers," Ackles said) and getting things done ("We'll figure out some sort of proactive approach," Beaver said).

Then read highlights from our chats with Jared Padalecki, Sera Gamble and Ben Edlund and a bit more with Beaver, including hints about next season's big bad, Castiel's future and how Sam and Dean will deal with an ever-changing landscape when all of their old tricks are rendered useless.

And there's more! Scroll all the way down for highlights from their shriek-filled Comic-Con panel as well. Yep, everything 'Supernatural' from Comic-Con is all right here.

The big bad, geographical shifts & more
"'Supernatural' has a habit of having our big bad, so each and every year we have an ultimate bad guy -- or girl -- but we obviously have to deal with that and with Cas and Crowley," Jared Padalecki said. "We're gonna encounter another big bad creature, or set of creatures -- I'm trying to dance my way around what it's called, but there's gonna be another big bad to deal with. But this season is taking us ... Sam and Dean are kind of Thelma and Louise -- or I guess Butch and Sundance would be more appropriate. We're kind of off on our own again. One thing you find with 'Supernatural' is that we certainly answer questions but also bring up further questions that often get bigger and bigger until they can't get any bigger, but we have a good nucleus and bring it back to the boys. It's Sam and Dean, on the road, on their own, against all odds."

"Sheriff Mills [Kim Rhodes] is coming back for an episode or two," Jim Beaver said. "The new big bad for the season is really going to show its face in the second episode, and sort of by coincidence, Sheriff Mills is going to get caught up in that, and she's going to rely on Bobby a bit to help her out of the situation. What happens after that I don't know, because I haven't read the script past that ... there are things I do know that I can't talk about that make me put a big 'maybe' on that, 'cause there's going to be some interesting infrastructure and geographical shifts in the show, so a lot of things that Sam and Dean and Bobby and the audience have counted on are gonna get reshuffled. [Cas is involved] only indirectly. It's a lot of what the guys have counted on in the past isn't gonna work the same way, so they're gonna have a lot of figuring out something that does work. I don't know how the writers are going to do it!"

Jared PadaleckiSam
"His wall just broke," Gamble said when asked about Sam. "He managed to pull it together to help his brother at the lab and try and stop Cas, but we will start to see what that really means, that the wall is down. We were pretty specific about the repercussions of the wall coming down. We're not gonna let him off scott-free, of course, and this becomes a pretty major storyline. What's wrong with Sam's head? This is a true break in Sam's psyche and perhaps something that can never be fixed. It's something that the boys have never faced before, it's an interesting problem to look at and figure out how to work into the season."

"I've only read the first four episodes of the season," Padalecki said, "and we're only shooting the second, but I'm really happy with what's going on with Sam's character. There's gonna be some meaty stuff and it's challenging, so it's definitely like picking back up at a run, when we pick up after the cliffhanger."

Jensen AcklesDean
"Dean has a lot to deal with in the first part of the season ... Dean has suffered an enormous amount of loss coming into this season," Gamble said. "If he wasn't worried about running and gunning to try and save the world at all moments, he would probably just collapse. Or just drink and pick up chicks, but that would be his version of collapsing. We find him in a place where he has a lot of soul-searching to do, he has to ask himself why he does what he does, in the face of everything that's happened to him, the losses he and his brother have seen, all the stuff that just happened to him in Season 6. We've brought him to the point where he has to ask himself why he's a hunter, I think."

The Castiel situation
"This was one of the most fun collaborative processes we've had in a while, actually, to open the floor to all of the writers and say 'so you're God, what do you want to do?' because that's part of what Cas gets to be," Gamble shared. "He's declared himself God, he's really pissed at his dad who never came home, he sees a lot of problems everywhere, he went looking for him in that storyline back in the day ... so before crap goes horribly awry as things do on television, we have some fun with the things he might do with unlimited power."

"What's happening with Castiel is I think so different from what the audience may expect," Beaver shared, "and it's kind of hard for me to talk about how ... yeah, I can't!"

'Supernatural' Comic-Con panel"Dean just feels like Cas is completely lost to them," Gamble said. "Sam is more likely to try and give someone another chance, in this instance, but for Dean this just comes from a place of despair that he's lost this person, 'cause he doesn't have that many people! They don't have a lot of friends on Facebook."

"The first piece for Cas is that he's our new God," Ben Edlund said. "His story is about stabilizing this God complex. I can't really talk too much about it because the cliffhanger is so about Cas, it's so about where his character is going to go and the ramifications of what he's done, that basically, in a sense I feel like ... the first episode of the new season is, in a sense, the 23rd episode of the last season. It's another crescendo. We can't really talk about it because it's the other big set of shoes dropping -- we're dropping eight shoes in that one."

Fresh blood, new challenges
"We need to repopulate so that we can kill more people," Edlund said. "We've talked about various possible characters we can bring in -- we always want to have a ground of people for them to relate to, so new characters will come. They're gonna have a tough year, Sam and Dean, and we're really looking at how have they been operating all these years. What have their tools been? What have their methods been? How can we take those things and make them difficult for them to use? And they have to learn new tricks and have to evolve, too. The season's about challenging them as hunters. Previous seasons have been about challenging them as brothers or as humans or as men, and in this one, they're going to have professional difficulties because the world is going to try and eat them."

"We're doing similar monsters of the week," Padalecki said. "We had that big arc, the 100-episode arc of the first five seasons, bringing in angels and demons and God and Lucifer ... But now we have to go somewhere else and continue in another direction. We'll go back to monster of the week but with some through-lines to get us to the end of the season."

Yes, 'Supernatural' completists: we didn't just get awesome interviews in the show's Comic-Con press room for you. We also figured true 'Supernatural' obsessives would want a report from the panel as well.

So here, in bullet list form, are the highlights on the panel that packed Hall H on Sunday (mild spoilers follow).

Misha Collins & Jim Beaver* The burning issue in 'Supernatural' fandom concerns the fate of Castiel and how much Misha Collins (who is not a series regular this season) will be in the show. At the show's Sunday Comic-Con panel, executive producer Sera Gamble said the 'Supernatural' brain trust had been getting that question "every minute of every day" since the news emerged about Collins' status, but fans would have to wait a little longer to find out what the angel will be up to in season 7. We will see him in the first two episodes, she confirmed, but beyond that we'll just have to wait and see. "You saw the cliffhanger, it was very cliffhanger-y," and she didn't want to spoil any of the new developments in season 7. ("Wow, that was really informative," Jensen Ackles cracked.)

* She confirmed that Mark Sheppard, who was on the panel, will be in Season 7 as well. "I'm in Season 7? Yay!" Sheppard crowed. The demon does indeed figure into Cas' "big plans" going forward, and "we're going to tell you those big plans from the jump," Gamble said.

* Jo Harvelle is returning in season 7, as is Sheriff Mills, who'll be back for "an episode or two," Gamble said. Good to hear, but I was positively thrilled at this news: Death will be back as well.

* Ben Edlund was asked what nutty idea he's pitched for the new season -- and he's pitched space ships, obviously! He also said he thought the show had gone about as far as it could with directly meta episodes, but that it could still "play with form."

* The panel was preceded by a clip from the Season 7 episode that Jensen directed -- it's Sam-intensive hour and the scene we saw contains a flashback to a sweet kiss between young Sam and a young woman who, in the present day, is played by Jewel Staite. So many fandoms collided in that brief clip: A 'Firefly' star was on 'Supernatural' and her character was using the alias "Amy Pond," which is a 'Doctor Who' shout out. Nerd brainmelt. (Attention indie rock fans -- the band on the soundtrack in the kiss scene was Belle and Sebastian, far from the show's usual classic rock.)

* Directing was actually harder the second time around, Jensen said. The first time, "ignorance was bliss," he joked. The second time, he was in the episode more, so that presented some challenges.

* What did Misha Collins think of playing God? "As an actor, I'm surprised that no one has written a God role for me in my career" prior to this, he said. "It just seems like such a natural fit and Sera saw that and wove it into the scripts."

* Gamble said that the writers were exploring the idea that Castiel, who felt abandoned by God his father, would get to try to be a better father to his "children." "You get to be your dad, and what are you going to do differently? Before everything goes to hell, he gets to do what God would maybe do if Cas were God," Gamble said. Collins added that to stay in character, he's been "smiting more than usual."

* Jared Padalecki said it was exciting to play "a Sam who doesn't know which reality he's in," referring to the multiple Sams that were united in the season finale. "We now get to play with Sam's healing," he added. "The Winchester brothers have always reacted to things with courage and bravery... but Sam is way out of his league. It's kind of scary, I was getting chills [as I read scripts]. What can scare the Winchester boys? We get to play with that."

Jensen Ackles & Jared Padalecki* Shirtless Castiel scares the Winchesters, Ackles noted. "I think you're confusing fear with jealousy," Collins replied.

* There are no plans for Chuck, whom some fans thought was God, to return in the early part of the season.

* Gamble said that she did have to regularly call recurring actors and guest stars to tell them that their characters' death did not necessarily mean they were never going to be on the show again. She said Jensen and Jared didn't have to worry about that, but other actors did get nervous about it. "We don't worry about it?" Jared asked. "You don't know how many times [Jensen] has cried in my arms!"

* Edlund was asked whether the Winchesters would use more of the cool weapons in the trunk of the Metallicar -- weapons like the ninja stars and the grenade launcher. He heartily endorsed the idea of using the ninja stars, but he said that the use of the grenade launcher in an episode would probably mean that it would end "about two acts too early." But of course, Edlund has recently pitched a story in which the boys would fight ninjas. (Personally, I think they should intervene in a battle between ninjas and fairies, but maybe that's just me.)

Follow Mo (@moryan) and Laura (@LauinLA) on Twitter

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"We've brought him to the point where he has to ask himself why he's a hunter, I think.""

So even about this tiny bit of information about Dean, Gamble is not sure? This is all she said? While we have clear outlines storywise for all other characters, this is all there is for Dean?

To me the fact that one of the main characters, i.e., Dean, is once again ignored, that TPTB are completely unwilling to even mention his name and almost complete silence is surrounding this character raises a lot of questions. Frankly I'm baffled that no one from the media is questioning this.

And no, this is not about not wanting a story for Sam or Castiel, this is wanting a story for Dean also, even Jensen Ackles wished for a solid storyline for Dean in S7. So, why no spoilers for Dean during Comic Con? Why again no storyline coming season? And why isn't Sera Gamble asked? Some answers would be greatly appreciated.

July 25 2011 at 1:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ninjas...Ben Edlund what are you doing to me?! Now I will be disappointed if there are no ninjas this season.
Thank you Mo and Lauren! :D

July 25 2011 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Liz T

More Jo! I'm so glad to hear she's coming back, and at this point I don't even care there's a revolving door in heaven, since it's unfair if it only works for the boys. Plus, Sheriff Mills, and I hope Tessa comes with Death. (I love the boys as much as the next Supernatural fan, but it does get to be a bit overwhelmingly male) And hey, Adrianne Palicki needs work now, right?

I never knew how badly I wanted Edlund to write a Ninja episode until this moment...

Thanks for the roundup!

July 25 2011 at 3:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

haha I love the line "We need to repopulate so that we can kill more people." Only on Supernatural in the writer's room do they seriously have to talk about repopulating the cast just so that cast can get killed. I love it. I love this show. I can't wait for season 7. Thank you for all the wonderful coverage from Comic-Con for those of us who we're way too far away to attempt to attend. Oh and spoilers they help me get through the summer hellatus without too much insanity, so thanks for those.

July 25 2011 at 1:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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