It’s the last day of the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con, and per usual, we’ve saved some of the best for last. Today we chatted with cast members Mark Sheppard, Misha Collins, Jared Padalecki, and Jensen Ackles plus co-executive producer/writer Andrew Dabb of “Supernatural”; and while we didn’t have much time with each of them individually, we do have a few scoops about the upcoming 11th(!) season and, per usual, this year’s gag reel.
We started things off with the King of Hell himself, Mark Sheppard, who reminded us that Crowley died at the end of Season 10. Why was he at the convention then? There was no way they could keep him from coming! When someone mentioned that Dean killed Death so maybe he’s not really “dead” dead, Sheppard said that killing Death “doesn’t stop the process” so we’re back to square one.
When we asked him about his bitch of a mother, Rowena, he said that she definitely “has the upper hand” after being underestimated. As for what we can expect in S11, he said if S10 was about relationships and expansion of the characters, S11 is “back to a reset.”
Next we had a few minutes with our favorite angel, Misha Collins, who talked about the charity he supports, GISHWHES (the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen). He joked about the title being “full of hubris” and said they’re “trying to make it greater than the year before.” He wants to “blow the participants’ minds.” If you’re at all interested in joining in, there’s only one week left to register.
Turning his attention back to “Supernatural,” we asked about one of the biggest controversies among the fandom: Charlie’s (Felicia Day) death. Misha said you just cannot have “scared cow” characters who are unkillable (except of course Sam and Dean). Viewers “need the palpable drama” of knowing “anyone can die,” and the writers need to “unfold the story in a free, unfettered manner” in order to raise the stakes.
Jared then sat down with us and reflected back on how when he was filming the pilot, series creator Eric Kripke said not to make “a big deal out of” the monsters in the closet, but to act as if that sort of thing is normal and he’s “known it for his whole life,” and now that’s how he, as Jared, feels about it. Oh, “another demon, we’ve gotta go take care of it.” He’s not really focused on directing any episodes and said that he “really loves my position… where I am as an actor… having the director and having the writers. They guide the ship, and I have freedom within that guidance. I love Sam Winchester; we’ve been pretty close for over a decade now!”
As for what he’s excited about leading into the new season, it’s that “the boys are back on the same page.” He feels the show has been able to sustain its fandom over the years because of “really great writers… it has become greater than the sum of its parts… sacrifice, love, loss, teamwork, loyalty… greater messages that are everlasting.” His character has really had “no boundaries”; he’s been soulless, played Lucifer, played himself… and the fandom sticks with them. They have become a family.
We were then joined by Jensen, who said that as we’re “tiptoeing into the 11th season,” we’re facing the Darkness and could see some surprise alliances for “the greater purpose.” He really likes the format of the upcoming season: The “brothers [are] together, back to Sam and Dean, fighting a common purpose,” which is, “What are the brothers going to do?” They are “joined together on a mission.”
When asked how Castiel might figure into their mission, given that we’re back to Sam and Dean as a twosome, he said that now that Cas “has his mojo back,” he’s a “secret weapon,” and it would be “foolish not to utilize him.” We wondered how much time will have passed between the S10 finale and the S11 premiere, and he said it’s “going to seem like a direct pickup,” but then the brothers will face “the question of ‘How long were we out?'” And they’re actually still asking that question after the first four episodes, which is how many outlines he’s seen so far.
He’s directing the third episode of the season, and when asked about the challenges of acting and directing at the same time, he said they use “two parts of the brain” so he’s had to learn how to “switch them on and off,” but he’s “getting better at it.”
We wrapped things up with Andrew, who is probably one of the fastest talking men on the planet so he was able to squeeze a lot of info into a little bit of time. He recapped where we stand: “The Darkness is out, Sam and Dean are doing their thing, Crowley is dead…” Having the Darkness out is “a galvanizing event” that “will touch everyone… demons, angels.” We’ll see bad guys working together. Might we see the long-awaited return of fan favorite Jeffrey Dean Morgan sometime soon? He said an appearance like that “carries so much weight” that “it’s about finding that moment.”
A spin-off was previously in the works, and Andrew said it’s still “on the table,” but it’s all about “what you bring to the party that’s new.” “Supernatural” has its own “blue-collar, Middle America” flavor to it, “if an idea came along that had that same energy, that same aggressiveness and appeal, we’d jump all over it,” but this season they’re not planning it. Might we see any facets of the characters we haven’t seen before in the upcoming season? Dabb joked that we haven’t seen them as “song and dance men.” He then said they’ve “been through the ringer”; it’s “very easy and very understandable to take them to a very dark place,” but it’s important that they “keep a sense of humor, a certain lightness, even if it’s gallows humor, and I think both Jensen and Jared do that very well.” That’s a side they didn’t explore as much last season because so much “deeply dramatic stuff” was going on, and this year there’s a lot of that as well, but “certainly as writers, we’d love to be injecting more of those human, brotherly moments.”
Our last question was if there’s a “theme” to S11, and Andrew said yes: “You can’t escape your past.” For Dean, Sam, Cas, and Crowley, there are bits and pieces of their past the fans are aware of that are going to “come back” that will hopefully be both “surprising and gratifying.”
Executive producer/showrunner Jeremy Carver was whisked away before we had a chance to talk to him, but we nabbed some quotes from him during the panel courtesy of ScreenFad.
In S11 they’re going back to more of an “epic feel” with a big bad and a quest for the brothers to unite on. He thinks they have a pretty special big bad for this year. It’s a pre-Biblical story that’s never been told. Most importantly, he said, “I feel like the brothers are going to be really, really united” in defeating the Darkness. As far as prior characters who might be coming back, Jeremy said, “They’re coming back in surprise ways,” but he wouldn’t provide any more details.
One final tidbit came from Andrew during the panel with regard to a potential “theme” episode in S11. He said that the fourth episode will be in the same vein and should be fun.
And that’s a wrap on our “Supernatural” coverage! Enjoy some eye candy below the gag reel.