6:30 pm EDT, July 26, 2017

‘Supernatural’ at SDCC: Everything we learned about season 13 from the cast and showrunners

Supernatural absolutely dominated SDCC on Sunday, and in the press room they shared a lot of great hints about what to expect from lucky season 13. Videos below!

The Supernatural fans who made it into Hall H on Sunday morning were in for a mind-blowing shock at the presentation that WB television put on for their longest-running series. Attendees were gifted with a free tee-shirt, displaying the Impala and the famous “driver/shotgun” quote on the front and a tour date style list of every Supernatural SDCC appearance, including the season, date, and venue, on the back. This in and of itself would have been quite enough of a treat, but there was still more to come.

The panel was introduced with a video of Sam and Dean in their car, making a plan to drive to Comic-Con, and discussing how they’re kind of superheroes themselves. (A clear highlight was Sam’s quip about Dean being more like Wonder Woman than Batman, and Dean subverting the joke by saying, in all seriousness, “Thank you. She’s awesome!”) They pop in a Kansas cassette, and the strains of the show’s iconic unofficial theme song, “Carry On, Wayward Son” begins to play — for real.

The band themselves arrived onstage and treated the audience to a live performance of the anthem, while a gorgeous video recap of the show’s entire 12 seasons played around the entire room — Supernatural utilized the giant three-wall screens usually only used by WB for their film presentations. It was gigantic, immersive, joyous, and it’s safe to say that nothing like this has ever been done for a TV panel in Hall H before.

Given that the footage on all available screens was different at any given moment, it was almost impossible to take it all in, but Supernatural alum Osric Chau, who was in attendance, posted a video of the introduction that gives somewhat of an impression of what it was like.

The panel itself was hosted, as it has been since 2015, by recurring actors and hosts of the Supernatural convention tour Richard Speight, Jr and Rob Benedict, and was comprised of showrunners Andrew Dabb and Robert Singer, stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles… and eventually Misha Collins, who joined a few moments later, dragging his own chair, as part of a gag at being left behind, due to his character Castiel recently being killed off. Collins will, of course, be returning in season 13, and after perhaps a shade too much teasing from the other panelists, EP Singer eventually swapped chairs with Collins, placing him back with the other stars.

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Related: Exclusive: Richard Speight, Jr. chats ‘Kings of Con’ and his return to the ‘Supernatural’ director’s chair

Without the customary table — the guys were placed in director’s chairs after Kansas departed — and packed full of the banter and injokes that the cast engages with on a regular basis at smaller conventions, the panel felt much more intimate than a standard Hall H presentation. Some news was dropped — we got a basic summary of how Sam and Dean will handle the presence of Jack Kline, the fast-aging nephilim son of Kelly Kline and Lucifer. (The main hint there being “differently” — Sam wants to help it, Dean wants to kill it — “Hell’s version of My Two Dads.”)

Andrew Dabb related Jack’s moral dilemma to Sam’s original destiny, and rather casually dropped that there were “a lot of years left” to play with that journey. Given that a few rumors were swirling about the show’s hard end date being announced at this panel — it wasn’t — this was a rather exciting thing to hear.

We learned that Dean will be the pessimist in regards to the loss of Mary — he accepts it as a permanent loss — whereas Sam’s determined to get back into the other world and find her. Spoiler alert: Mary is very much not dead, and will have her own journey in that Apocalypse world. Dabb also announced that we’ll see old characters return, both alt-versions such as the appearance of Bobby Singer in the season 12 finale, and people the boys know in the real world too, including, surprisingly, Missouri Moseley, whom we haven’t seen since season 1.

The panelists also talked rather emotionally about what it’s like to have been a part of such a long-running series and what the relationship with those characters is now like, which included Collins recounting a conversation about a dream that Ackles had shared with them, which had made the three stars get choked up while discussing it.

Chau also posted a video of the entire panel for fans to watch – see for yourself exactly went down.

The stars and showrunners shared more information about on this news when we spoke with them in the press room later that afternoon.

‘Supernatural’ season 13 SDCC 2017 video interviews

We caught up with the stars and showrunners at their roundtable interviews, where we asked them about what we can expect from Supernatural season 13.

Jensen Ackles

Season 13 will pick up directly where 12 left off, and Ackles describes how Dean just does not know how to process losing everything – so he’ll try to cope by shooting something (Jack) in the face. However, Jack will escape, so there’ll be somewhat of a manhunt, and he fact that Jack has the power to open the rift to the Apocalypse world becomes the only thing keeping Dean from emptying a clip into the being’s head.

The brothers will have a difference of opinions about what to do regarding Jack, Mary and the Apocalypse World, but it won’t be a direct “head to head” conflict like it has been in the past, and Ackles outright admits that Dean will acquiesce to Sam, perhaps an indication that the shift in the power dynamic between the brothers, as came to light very satisfyingly last season in the penultimate “Who We Are,” is a permanent one.

Ackles also shared his excitement about the huge Hall H presentation he’d just been a part of, and about the creation of the animated Scooby-Doo episode that’s coming up – expect to see some footage of their voice recording session on the DVD special features.

Misha Collins

Describing Castiel’s relationship with himself and how that’s changed over the past 100 episodes in which he’s appeared, Collins says that his character goes through varying different degrees of self-loathing over time, and that a lot of Castiel’s actions are motivated by him trying to pay penance for past failures, and that this quality was very present in his actions at the end of season 12. However, he gets a little bit of a reset at the beginning of season 13, because he’s able to accept that the circumstances weren’t anybody’s fault –- though Collins jokes that he supposes Cas could still find a way to blame himself for pretty much anything.

In what Collins has seen so far, Castiel is not carrying that burden, and will be uniting with Sam and Dean around a common purpose. This all seems to indicate that the Cas who’s eventually reuniting with Sam and Dean is in fact the Cas we know, not an Apocalypse version of him, and while Collins lets slip that we may see different iterations as well, he promises that the Cas who comes back is not a totally different Cas.

In regards to the bond between Cas and Jack, who chose Castiel as his protector, we won’t see them in scenes together until episode 6, but that there is some sort of strange surrogate father imprinting thing going on for Jack. But whether Jack’s actually on their side or not –- that’s the big question. Collins also spoke about his last-ever GISHWHES scavenger hunt, which has recently extended its sign-up deadline to Wednesday, 26 July -– we recently covered his latest world-saving initiative with that project.

Jared Padalecki

Padalecki’s Sam will be very much pulling himself together in terms of finding solutions while his brother grieves and tries to shoot things. We can expect to see Sam attempting to nurture Jack and to help him make good choices and handle his power, with the endgame of having Jack be able to intentionally re-open a rift to the other world in order for the guys to save their mother. Sam, in this circumstance, very much believes in nurture vs nature, and relates the situation to his own history possessing demonic power.

It’s also this factor that’s made Sam afraid of accepting power in the past, Padalecki explains, comparing the situation to that of an addict, however the rather more healthy shift towards leadership at the end of season 12 is somewhat of an “awakening” that we can expect to see remain in play for the character — he’ll be taking the lead in regards to Jack and the new tasks at hand. Padalecki also shared a few thoughts about former characters he’d love to see back on the show, without any direct spoilers!

Sam’s empathy towards Jack may cause friction between himself and his brother — as we already heard from Ackles, Dean very much sees Jack as a foe, and Sam will become flustered with him in regards to this attitude — there’s a vibe of “Hey man, so you wanna kill me too?” Given season 12’s focus on the brothers’ objection to the British Men of Letters and their attempts to murder even innocent supernatural people, it will be interesting to see how that choice-making element plays out.

(To view footage of the first few moments of this interview, you can check out another video here.)

Andrew Dabb

The showrunner spoke at length about the potential for the recently announced Wayward Daughters Sisters female hunter spin-off. This backdoor pilot will be episode 10 of the new season, the first week back after the winter hiatus, and the first half of the season will include aspects of it as well –- we’ll meet new characters who will come together for Wayward as soon as episode 3.

Related: Female-led ‘Supernatural’ spinoff ‘Wayward Sisters’ greenlit for backdoor pilot

The potential for this new show has been discussed internally since the re-introduction of Claire Novak, has been simmering, and this season, feels right to go ahead with, and the build to it evolves very organically over the first half of the season. He contrasts this to Supernatural’s first attempt at a spin-off, “Bloodlines,” which he himself wrote –- which by design was not meant to feel like Supernatural, a gamble that ultimately didn’t pay off. Wayward Sisters is meant to feel very much like an extension of Sam and Dean’s world, a different set of stories within it -– “very much the same sensibilities, the same driving forces, the same core themes.”

Dabb also revealed that Jack is not the season’s big bad -– the biggest threat they are dealing with will appear in the form of an Apocalypse World version of an old “friend” (read: could very much be an old enemy) who we haven’t seen for many years. While the show doesn’t want to do a gimmicky “alt-verse character of the week” thing, we can expect to see quite a few more sorely missed old favorites brought back in ways we won’t necessarily expect.

Robert Singer

The show’s long-running executive producer explained that this year’s story will deliberately be a little smaller and more personal than the scope of the British Men of Letters -– now that Mary’s established, they wanted to create a story with a lot of emotional possibilities in regards to the family being torn apart, something Dean will get a little dark about. In terms of time spent each episode in the Apocalypse world, Singer promises that a little goes a long way, but that it’s really not a pleasant place -– Mary will immediately try to get away from Lucifer, something that doesn’t turn out so well for her.

Regarding Jack, Singer mentions Kelly’s influence regarding the thumb drive of videos she left – that Jack’s human side really doesn’t want to hurt anybody, but that at least at first, he can’t really control his powers, somewhat akin to the Hulk. Singer thinks that Sam and Dean have really changed in terms of wanting a family and a wider safety net after spending so long only relying on one another. Losing Mary — “It’s like Obamacare -– people were against it, but once they got it, they were like “well, maybe, yeah. Now you wanna take that away?””

We’ll see the different ways people cope with this kind of loss, and it sounds like Dean in particular will get pretty dark and existential and withdrawn. The loss of Cas, and even to an extent Crowley, will all play a part in this grief. The boys will be in a strange place, emotionally, while trying to deal with Jack as well -– it’s going to be pretty intentionally complicated. “It’s a season based on emotion, not on big [external] stuff,” Singer explains.

He also revealed more details about the return of Loretta Devine, who played the psychic Missouri Mosely in the beloved season 1 episode “Home.” We’ll see Missouri in episode 3 -– she’s the grandmother of Patience, one of the new Wayward girls played by Clark Backo, who has inherited the psychic skills as well.

Just one more question: is it October yet???

‘Supernatural’ season 13 premieres Thursday, October 12 at 8/7c on The CW.

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