Brian Truitt of USA Weekend moderated one of the last television presentations at the Comic-Con International 2010, replete with a full panel of guests, to discuss the upcoming sixth season of The CW's cult-hit series "Supernatural."
The panel included stars Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester), Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester), Misha Collins (Castiel) and Jim Beaver (Bobby), and producers Eric Kripke, Sera Gamble and Ben Edlund.
The presentation started with an exclusive as Ackles introduced a clip from the fourth episode of the season, called "Weekend at Bobby's," which he directed.
In the short scene, Bobby is seen performing a ritual to summon the demon Crowley, who bargained for Bobby's soul last season. Crowley agreed to return Bobby's soul, but is now going back on the deal. Bobby traps Crowley in a protective circle as the demon brings in a hell hound to collect Bobby, setting up a stalemate.
Truitt then charged into the questions, starting with the one perhaps most on the minds of "Supernatural" fans: Given that Kripke handed over the reins to the series he created, "What's up with the rank and order, and will you stay involved in some capacity?"
"Yes, I am the official loving pain in Ben and Sera's asses," Kripke replied. "I am like fuzzy hemorrhoids. Yeah, first it felt like the right time. There was a five-year plan, a sense of how the show was going to end. ... The story has to end. So, I said, 'Let's just end it. ... And then next season will be kind of like the sequel to a movie. It won't be weighted under the same mythology.' I just didn't want the continuity of the show to suffer. ... Now I'm in the room … for episode ideas, trying to help out."
Turning to the new direction for the show, Truitt asked why he keeps hearing about monsters for next season.
"There are more monsters this season," Gamble said. "You know, the last couple of seasons was a lot of apocalypse stuff, very epic. ... We enjoyed it, but we were thinking we really want to shoot some monsters in the face. ... For the first time the mythology loops the monsters in … so you're getting monsters of the week, and a bit of mythology."
Referring to the end of season five, Truitt asked how the character Sam escaped hell.
"I don't know how Sam got out of hell," Padalecki answered. "Maybe practice? We've been to hell, we've been to heaven, so my best answer is practice … I'm in the dark."
To Collins, Truitt asked what the angel Castiel's role will be on the show. "He's sort of on clean-up duty now," Collins said. "Heaven was sort of like post-soviet Russia, only more boring. ... This upsets Castiel, so he's forming a coalition to sort of bring order up there."
"What is that, Yeltsin?" he said, turning to the producers. "I just wanted to pitch to you a bit that Castiel should have a Russian accent this year," Collins added, using a fairly good Russian accent.
Beaver was asked, "Which will happen first, Bobby finds a girlfriend, or gets his soul back?" "Hell will probably freeze over before Bobby gets a girlfriend," he answered.
"This is 'Supernatural,' so that could happen to hell," Collins said with a laugh.
Turning to Edlund, who has been responsible for some of the series' more offbeat episodes, Truitt asked what he has in store for next season. "I'm working on something that's going to have a bit of the fairy in it … and also, little people will be involved," Edlund said. "I'm looking forward to ... I see a moment when the boys have to fight the tiny pinprick of light that is Tinkerbell. I see Jensen saying 'that's so beautiful' … so rich absurdity, I promise."
To Gamble, Truitt asked, "What indulged you to hang around on 'Supernatural,' and any plans for a new female role on 'Supernatural'?"
"I've been here since season one," she said. "I have a plan for a couple of female characters. I don't think we've had a [female] character on this show that has lived … but we are introducing a female relative of Sam and Dean's."
Concerning plans for a "Supernatural" anime series, Kripke said, "Yeah, they are making episodes that we don't have to write … and stuff we cannot do on the show. And then these two guys [pointing to Ackles and Padalecki] are doing voices for a couple of the episodes. So that's what we know about it. There will be a writer's screening and we will get wasted and watch it, but it's up to you guys to demand it."
Asked whether God will ever be seen on the show, Kripke said, "We're not going to say ... that would be M. Night-douchie ... we're not going to say if Chuck was God. It's open for people to debate amongst themselves."
Asked about his directing debut, Ackles said, "It was a lot different than I thought. When you're directing you have to make creative decisions on every word of every page. It was refreshing, new and exciting … it was very cool. I'm anxious to see it."
As for the best thing about his directing experience: "I got lucky because Jim was carrying the weight of the show, and Jared was not, so that was the biggest bonus for me," Ackles said.
"I wanted to give Jensen a sense of what it means to be a director," Beaver said, "so I thought about staying in my trailer for 30 minutes on the first day. So instead he is telling me how to pick up a phone and I [yelled] 'I know how to pick up a phone!' Seriously speaking, I've been doing this for 312 years and I've worked with a lot of directors, and I never felt more secure than when I was directed by Jensen Ackles."
Asked if there was any Jeffrey Dean Morgan could come back to the show for another episode, Gamble said, "We love the character, we would love to work with him, of course, we're not stupid, but he's a very busy man."
Padalecki was asked whether it was challenging to play both Lucifer and Sam last season. "Yeah, you know how to play your own character … but it’s tough," he said. "I can either look into a mirror, or I can have another actor say the lines that I sort of talk at … so I ended up using Jensen."
Turning to the audience for further questions, Kripke was asked whether he made any changes to the season finale once he knew there would be a sixth season.
"Yes, had it been a true series finale, there wouldn't be as many living characters as there are," he replied. "And so, I had a vision of what the end point was, and maybe when the show does end we will get there. ... And I would say 80 percent of it, maybe 70 percent, I would have done anyway."
Gamble was asked whether she was surprised that the audience for "Supernatural" has been overwhelmingly female.
"I have always loved horror movies, and so have a lot of my friends, and a lot of them are female," she said. "I think that genre is very appealing to women. I think there is a large segment of that audience that is female, and has always been female. I think some of the hardest core of fans of sci-fi and horror is female."
Asked about his favorite episode, Padalecki said, "We've done 107 episodes. You want me to pick one? I'm going to let someone else take this … well, really, I love all the finales, and all the premieres."
Collins, the consistent joker on the panel, chimed in with, "I loved that one episode where you guys were chasing this sort of monster-demon thing! You know, I don't remember the name of the episode, I'm sure someone out there will remember the name. ... I think the guys had their car?"
"I love the funny ones," Ackles said. "'Babylon,' 'Fever,' 'Changing Channels,' 'Monster Movie' …"
Asked about the finale episode, Kripke said, "I put a lot of love into 'Swansong.' It was a chance, how rare ... every issue that I personally thought the show was about, to be able to work it out, to talk about it. And I go online and people are saying 'that was a piece of shit,' and I was like 'awww.' ... It was never about the apocalypse or scope, it's about these two guys -- the emotional bond between the two."
Asked how his character will progress next season, Ackles said, "We pick up a year later, and he is domesticated, living a somewhat normal life, and it's how he gets pulled back into the situation, and dealing with the past and who he really is".
"Will you be kissing any more humans?" an audience member asked
"Only my own. ... I don't know, Sera, is Dean kissing any demons?" Ackles said. "Not so far, no," Gamble answered.
Asked what his favorite monster of the week was, Padalecki said, "I do love the shapeshifter, ever since season one."
"I am looking forward to killing some vampires properly this year," Ackles said. "You know, there are a lot of vampires there days, and I'd love to show them how it's done. ... Cut this pasty-waify shit out!"
The complete fifth season of "Supernatural" will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Sept. 7. The sixth season premieres on Sept. 24.