Interview: Supernatural Showrunner Andrew Dabb Talks Romance, Returns, Roadhouse and More in Season 15
We also asked about Sam's visions
We have a lot of thoughts about that season premiere of Supernatural, and a lot of feelings about the legendary show ending. Thankfully, we found someone to talk to about it: showrunner Andrew Dabb. Dabb took the time to answer our burning questions regarding Sam, Jack, Dean and Cas, and more about what to expect in this final season.
The Mary Sue: So we had a really great premiere. One of the things that caught my attention was Sam and Dean theorizing that God has abandoned this experiment to die in a ghostpocalypse. So, has God left the building?
Andrew Dabb: Knowing God, Sam and Dean are being very optimistic thinking he has fully left our story.
Last year when you decided to make God the final villain, did you get any notes or concerns from the studio or network along the lines of “Um, you can’t make God the bad guy?”
No … The studio and the network are very trusting of us, I guess you would say, More than they should be, maybe. But no, I think they really trust our instincts and I think we’ve done a lot over … many seasons to differentiate this, our God, from any one that anyone out there in the actual world worships, if that makes sense. He’s a character on a show, he’s not meant to be a representation of any deity that anyone is in any church praying to … It never came up as an issue.
There’s always been this meta narrative of the show where Chuck is an author and the avatar for you guys, the writers. Chuck (Rob Benedict) left when Eric Kripke left, for example. Now he’s been revealed as this cruel god that lives off suffering, so how does that reflect you as the writers?
(Sarcastically) I think accurately. It’s a mirror image.
No, I think that, you know when you’re writing a writer—there’s a real danger to making it too authorial, if that makes sense. And we really wanted to ground this in, again, ‘Chuck’s a character.’ He’s not meant to be me or anyone else on this staff. He’s meant to be a character we’ve created over a number of years.
And the type of writer he is, I don’t think that’s a very good type of writer … A good writer will tell you that if you write good enough characters they’ll go their own way and talk to you themselves. And we’ve seen that on Supernatural with Sam and Dean over the years. I think Chuck is the kind of writer who just wants his characters to do what he wants them to do and he gets frustrated when they – because they have a little bit of agency – kind of refuse.
So I don’t think he’s a particularly good writer. I would like to think that all but one of us on the show are good writers, so I don’t think he’s an accurate representation.
Did you say all but one of you? Are you the one?
You know what, I’m going to let twitter decide.
Speaking of meta, are we getting any big meta episodes this season?
Um, I think so … probably not in such a dramatic way as say “The French Mistake.” But I do believe we have an episode coming up that’s speaking to Sam and Dean’s role as heroes of this story and how being a hero is sometimes a very good thing and sometimes a very bad thing. And that will be our tenth episode of the season.
Will that be the midseason premiere?
Nine is the premiere, so it will be after that.
So what the heck is wrong with Sam (Jared Padalecki) and his injury from the equalizer. Will that continue to be a quite literal thorn in his side?
It will be, yes. And I think we’ll kind of dive in more as the season go on in terms of…it awakens some things in Sam that have been dormant for a long time and puts him into contact with a very prominent character in a way that will allow him to understand said character – God – a little bit and kind of get some insight in to God’s – for lack of a better phrase – creative process.
How did you guys arrive the decision to bring a demon into Jack’s (Alexander Calvert) meatsuit and how is that going to continue to play out?
We wanted jack’s death to mean something … and to weigh on our guys and it felt like bringing him back immediately or doing a time jump didn’t really make a lot of sense, so it made sense, as we did with Castiel a few seasons ago, keep him off-screen a while little longer.
But obviously we love Alex and we wanted him around on the show, so it was like “okay let’s have a little fun by shoving a demon in him.” And to his credit, Alex has really stepped up and done a great job playing a really different character.
Can we trust Belphagor at all?
I imagine you can trust him as much as you can trust any demon in our story. Belphagor has more layers than the cog punching company man demon that he represents, though I don’t think that will be a huge surprise top the fans of the show.
Joining in the fight this week is Rowena (Ruth Connell). How is she going to figure into this fight to stop the ghost apocalypse?
Sam and Dean are really reaching out to whatever kinda of high-powered allies they have. And Rowena kind of tops that list. Hell is obviously not going to help them. Heaven is in a bit of disarray. There are no archangels around any more … so if you’re looking at your top three, top five most powerful characters on Supernatural at this moment, Rowena is definitely on that list.
You said no archangels are around, but we heard last week that the door of the cage is open and we know Jake Abel is returning as Adam and Michael so how will that figure in?
Yes, I think an archangel will be around very soon but not yet. In terms of Michael; you’ve got a character Michael and Adam. You’ve got character that has been through what for us is like ten years but by hell math is about a thousand years [of torture and isolation].
I think what we’ve found is they’ve formed kind of a very odd relationship. It’s two guys trapped in a cage together for a long time, and at first it was violent, angry relationship but eventually became something that they could kind of both live with. And with that door open…if and when they step outside what does that mean, and what’s their agenda and that’s something that we will explore before the mid-season.
Speaking of relationships, folks are very curious to know if and when Cas and Dean (Jensen Ackles) will work out their differences any time soon or if they’re going to continue to be in conflict?
Certainly, they’re not going to see eye-to-eye any time soon. Dean is in some ways – and Sam is too – are kind of still reeling over what happened to their mother, and I think Cas is his own way is also still reeling, not only over what happened to Mary, but about what happened to Jack…and I think it’s a matter of they’re both in a pretty raw place right now. The ghost apocalypse kind of puts that on a back burner a little bit because it’s a crisis they have to deal with. Once that crisis is dealt with I think some of those emotions will come back to the surface.
You mentioned at SDCC that we were going to see Amara back. If we’re going to see Sam’s connection to God are we going to see more of Dean’s connection to Amara?
I think when Amara makes her triumphant return…she’s more focused on herself than Dean Winchester. But certainly the Dean-Amara connection is something that exists and is something that we will explore later in the season.
Kind of speaking of Dean and Amara. Looking to the endgame of the series, do you think that romance of any kind, or finding some person or celestial entity to settle down with, is going to be part of these guys’ endgame at all? Or will the show remain literally the platonic ideal?
If you’re talking settle down in terms of ‘settle down have a white picket fence, have a family,’ I don’t know that that’s the ending for these guys. I think that they have relationships that they’ve formed over the course of many years and through many battles, and those are important. But if you’re talking about riding off into the sunset, I don’t know that that is, again, in the card for these guys.
So we have Amara back, we have Adam back. Can you tease any other returns this season?
Without giving too much away, I think especially as we get to the back half you’re going to see a number of character coming back; some I think people will be able to guess at, some I think maybe they won’t…in some case we’ll be seeing character who we obviously know and love and have seen fairly recently in a little of a new light…there’s still more fun cameos to come.
We know that Osric Chau is back tonight as Kevin. How is he doing?
Of all the people that have encountered the Winchesters, Kevin had – I don’t know if it’s the bumpiest ride but a pretty bumpy ride. And that will continue as we kind of realize that Chuck said he sent Kevin to heaven, but turns out that’s not accurate.
Are there any standalone episodes coming up that you’re excited for?
There’s kind of a Roadhouse episode that I think will be very cool. In the back half of the season, our guys are going to uncover some secrets about the bunker, that will kind of allow us to do five episodes in one.
So, to wrap up, you’ve been with the show for over a decade. How are you feeling steering this ship into port?
Other than the abject terror it feels great.
No…I think all of us are in the same place which is: we’re moving toward an ending, we’re confident in the ending we have, and it’s kind of bittersweet. And I think once we get into writing and filming the last run it’s going to feel that way even more. But I think at the same time we’re all kind of excited, if you know what I mean.
We get to tell some stories that we’ve been keeping on the back burner for a long time, and there’s nothing after this—and I mean that in a good way. There’s nothing that we have to do that kind of invalidates the ending we’re writing. There’s nothing that we have to do that’s any kind of cliffhanger at all. We’re writing a true ending. I think just kind of giving these guys the ending they deserve is something that’s really exciting for all of us, despite the stress of trying to do it right. That stress will, I hope, make it better.
Supernatural airs Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m. on The CW.
(featured image: Dean Buscher/The CW, Additional images: The CW)
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