Hall H finally opened its doors to CW show Supernatural this year, and fans easily filled the hall with their screams, cheers and constant enthusiasm. The cast and producers on the Sunday panel perfectly reciprocated by delivering an energetic and at times goofy discussion.
Star Jensen Ackles was the first to take the stage as he introduced a clip from Season 7 episode “The Girl Next Door” (more on that later). Screaming for the actor, the crowd showed no signs of running out of air, even as Ackles said, “Wow, you guys never cease to amaze me.”
Each panelist’s first time speaking during the discussion was met with more rousing cheers. When it came time for Mark Sheppard’s turn, he did a little smug dance in his seat and then screamed back at the crowd. Eventually actor Jared Padalecki shouted, “Let’s hear some more screaming! It smells like Robert Pattinson up here!”
The shocker of a finale with a cliffhanger for Misha Collins’ character, Castiel, left the Supernatural actors and writers with plenty to discuss with the crowd. While showrunner Sera Gamble was tight-lipped when it came to what happens next with Castiel, there was no short supply of teases and spoilers about Season 7. Here are ten highlights from the panel to whet your appetite for more Supernatural:
1. Past guest stars confirmed to return: As Ackles put it for THR in the press room Sunday morning, “There’s never really any definitive closure for anybody on the show – you can always come back.” And Gamble delivered the goods with a list of three characters we’ll see come back and sometimes even come back from the dead in upcoming episodes: Jo Harvelle (Alona Tal), Death (Julian Richings) and Sheriff Mills (Kim Rhodes). Mills will be “returning for an episode or two at least,” Gamble said. Also coming back – even though he’s been apparently killed by Castiel twice – is Crowley, whose real-life counterpart Mark Sheppard rounded out the panel, much to the delight of the Comic-Con crowd.
2. Ackles talks about the upcoming episode he helmed. Yes that aforementioned episode is directed by Mr. Ackles himself (and guest stars Jewel Staite!). It also brings Colin Ford back to the show as young Sam. “We’ve actually kind of watched him grow up a bit,” Ackles told THR. “Each time he comes back to the show he’s a little bit better, a little bit smoother, a little bit more confident. It’s really cool to see a young and a budding actor evolve in front of your eyes.”
The episode is the second Ackles has directed for the series. He revealed during the panel that he appears more in this one than “Weekend at Bobby’s” which “proved to be a bit of a challenge,” he said.
3. Stakes will rise. Scares will really scare. The Supernatural team is upping the ante with Season 7. Padalecki said of reading Season 7 scripts, “Sam is way out of his league. I read it and I was actually getting chills – and I was scared. I was really excited about making the show scary again, and we get to see what can scare the Winchester boys.”
Gamble talked to THR about how they plan to make things more difficult for Sam, Dean and Bobby: “We really want to give them the sense that there’s no way they can win, and the best way to do that is take away everything that they’re comfortable with. There may come time in this season when they have to pack the Impala up for a day. We’ve been discussing that. We really want to get Dean in the heart.” Actor Jim Beaver also told THR, “An awful lot that the characters have come to count on is going to be cut out from under them.”
4. Gamble used the f-word. No, not that one. “Franchise.” With Supernatural launching itself well beyond creator Eric Kripke’s original five-season plan, with an anime version of the show coming out on DVD this week, and with ten episodes of the Ghostfacers spin-off web series online, “franchise” is certainly becoming an apt descriptor for Supernatural. Gamble told the Comic-Con crowd, “Eric did create a perfect franchise to keep going… We have a firm plan in place if this is the last year, and we have a firm plan if it isn’t.”
5. Ben Edlund wants ninjas on the show. Gamble revealed that writer Ben Edlund pitched a ninja episode recently. “I think Sam and Dean should fight the ninjas!” Edlund exclaimed.
6. Don’t rule out the possibility of another meta episode. It may seem like Supernatural can’t break down the fourth wall any more than it did in “The French Mistake” last season, but the Supernatural team doesn’t see any reason to stop there. “There’s still lots of room to play with form,” Edlund said, though he admitted he’s “not sure what could top” their last try at it. To that Padalecki yelled, “That’s fatalist! Let’s top it!”
7. The Season 6 gag reel features the boys frolicking in a forest clearing and catwalking through a locker room. Yes, be excited. Season 6 DVD hits stores Sept. 13. Mark those calendars.
8. Ackles talks about Dean’s painful departure from Lisa and Ben. “He comes to the realization that that’s never going to be his life,” the actor explained, also revealing that the goodbye moment “was a tough scene to shoot.”
9. Supernatural: The Anime Series reimagines key moments of the show. The Supernatural anime – made by Warner Home Video Japan and Madhouse – doesn’t come out until Tuesday, but those in Hall H got a sneak peak at the series. The clip screened was a scene inspired by Supernatural’s Season 2 finale, with the Colt and the gate to hell in all their animated glory.
10. Serious talk and silly jokes about what’s up with Castiel: While Gamble didn’t reveal any details on what we’ll see Cas do in Season 7, she supplied her take on the angel’s decision to achieve God-status: “He felt really strongly that his father abandoned them all… You get to be your dad. You thought your dad did a crappy job. What are you going to do differently?” Collins joked that he’s approaching his character’s shift by going “very method.” Padalecki’s response? “Smiting!” Not too far from the truth: the Comic-Con panel made it clear that the Supernatural fandom continues to be utterly smitten with the show and the talent behind it.