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Moderated by Supernatural guest stars Richard Speight Jr. and Rob Benedict, the duo kept fans (and panelists) laughing throughout the panel. (There was an extended running gag about a toy hamster — meant to be the hamster Mark A. Sheppard‘s Crowley spent time with last season — asking questions with an ever-changing accent.)
“We’re really proud of last season,” showrunner Jeremy Carver said. “We had a lot of intensely personal character stories. This year, we have more of an epic feel with a Big Bad, and a quest for the brothers to unite on. I think it’s a special Big Bad we have this year. It’s a pre-biblical story that’s never been told. I think it’s going to be a fun, epic feel. And most importantly, I think the brothers are going to be united in their need to take this thing down.”
“Now we’re left with the cleanup,” Jensen Ackles (Dean) previewed. “Getting rid of the Mark of Cain was [just the first step] … now it’s figuring out how we have to deal with the decisions we’ve made. What I like about where we’re going is the brothers are united, similar to the way we were in season one when we were looking for dad. … We’re back to normal, so to speak, and we have a common target. I’m excited about that, I’m excited to get back to our original format.”
“I’m excited to see the boys working together again,” Jared Padelecki (Sam) gushed.
But who will be there to help Team Winchester? While Misha Collins (Castiel) will be around — and he and Carver said Castiel’s relationship with the Winchester brothers would be solid — Sheppard played coy about whether he’d be returning.
“I’m pretty dead. … It’s kind of what happens,” Sheppard said. “It’s been an amazing journey. I showed up as a guest star kissing a tall man on a bridge, and it’s been the best experience … even if I knew what happened, I wouldn’t damn well tell you.”
But the panel took a bit of a turn when a fan asked about the decision to kill off Charlie (Felicia Day), who was a fan favorite — and one of the only females in the show’s world who was alive as of season 10.
The actors, clearly uncomfortable with adding their input, opted to push back from the table, or turn their chairs to face away from the crowd.
“That’s an excellent question, and it’s tough, because any time you have a favorite character on the show … people die on the show, unfortunately,” Carver said. “There’s so many ways to answer that; it’s tough for me to answer. She’s an absolutely beloved character in the show. But when we’re in the writers room, we have to go where the story takes us.”
After Carver joked, “And I’d like to thank everyone up here for the support,” Ackles did point out that Day was, originally, intended to be a one-off guest spot, and they were “thankful for the time we had her.”
Looking toward season 11, Carver teased there will be the return of a few fan-favorites next year, but kept mum, only allowing that “they’re coming back in a surprise way.”
And with the show specializing in out of the box hours, writer Andrew Dabb teased that they have something special coming up in episode four “that will be really fun.”
With the show going into its 11th season, it was clear the audience was as invested as ever: The most emotional moment of the hour came when fans turned on tiny electric candles (which were passed out by fans pre-panel) to honor Padalecki’s #AlwaysKeepFighting movement.
A surprised Padalecki (who didn’t realize at first that the candles were for him) was visibly touched, and took a moment at the end of the panel to pay his tribute. “I don’t have the proper words to say thank you,” he enthused.
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