4:47 pm EDT, July 25, 2016

‘Supernatural’ at SDCC: Andrew Dabb is ‘aware’ of season 11 criticism, wants to avoid ‘nostalgia cycle’

At San Diego Comic-Con 2016, new Supernatural co-showrunner Andrew Dabb admitted that the season 11 finale was divisive for fans, but insists the show has to keep trying new things to avoid getting stale.

The season 11 finale of Supernatural was certainly not to everybody’s liking, something Andrew Dabb is very aware of.

However, at SDCC Dabb spoke to us about just why it was important to wrap up the season in a happy way for once, and why he and Robert Singer want to take more chances with the show going forward.

“Saving the world looks great on paper, but sometimes can be a little nebulous in telling the story. It’s important to us to keep the stakes [raised], but in a little bit more of a contained way,” says Dabb of his and Singer’s approach to season 12.

Going back to the season 11 send-off, Dabb explains, “the idea was always that the season finale [was] gonna be a much smaller, emotional story. And I get that people may not have been as into that as a viewer, and that’s certainly fair, but I do believe that it’s something that… you know, sometimes you try things, and you hope they work. And that one, you know… it didn’t necessarily work for everyone, and I’m certainly aware of that.”

Related: Supernatural season 11 finale review: That which you want most

“But at the same time,” he adds, “if you start doing things you only know people are gonna like, and people are gonna be like, ‘Oh my god I love it,’ then that limits you, storytelling-wise. At this point in the show, those stories are easy to do. It’s easy to tick three boxes and know that the fans on Twitter are gonna go crazy for them. It just is. And I think we all know what those three boxes are, or we all have different three boxes, but I think the question is: If those are the only types of stories you’re telling, then are you really allowing the show to grow, creatively? Because really, then it becomes a nostalgia cycle.”

Although Dabb clearly wants to keep the show fresh in season 12, we can still expect plenty of callbacks. “We have our share of nostalgia, and we certainly go to that well,” says Dabb, adding, “but if that’s all you’re going for — if all you’re doing is repeating — then it becomes a real problem. And it puts a clock on things.”

After literally sending God on vacation in the season 11 finale, we can expect Supernatural season 12 to continue telling smaller-scale stories about the Winchesters and their familiar relationships. Says Dabb, “with the guys and these relationships, we have places to go that are really interesting. And I don’t wanna ever get to a point where I’m like, ‘You know what, we’re not gonna do this because I know Twitter’s not gonna like it.’ I just don’t think that’s ever a good way to run a story, or to run a show.”

“And I also think that the truth of the matter is, the thing people like the most is the thing they wanted that they didn’t know they wanted,” he says. “And our hope is this season, some of the stuff we’re doing — again, not so much the big mythology but the characters — we’re hoping there’s some stuff there that people are really gonna grab onto.”

Check out our interviews with Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki to find out more about Dean and Sam’s journey in season 12. Supernatural picks back up in the fall on The CW!

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