The CW's "Supernatural" has one of the most loyal, avid fanbases of any show currently on air, so it's no surprise that the spooky series returned to Comic-Con's gigantic Hall H to preview its eighth season.
Stars Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Jim Beaver and Mark Sheppard joined returning executive producer Jeremy Carver (who has taken over showrunning duties from Sera Gamble) and consulting producer Ben Edlund to tease what's certain to be another rollercoaster season for the Winchesters, their allies and enemies.
HuffPost TV was in attendance during the packed Comic-Con panel, so check out the liveblog below for real-time updates direct from San Diego. You can also read our interviews with the cast and producers from the press room for more spoilery tidbits, and scroll down to the bottom of the post to watch the full video of the panel.
07/15/2012 3:15 PM EDT
Ending with a gag reel
Shirtless Ackles; lots of Padalecki ruining other people's takes; dancing; fake humping; a "Wayne's World" spoof; the usual. That's a wrap!
07/15/2012 3:12 PM EDT
On the move to Wednesdays:
"That's because of you guys -- most shows go to Friday nights to die, so thank you for sticking with us," Ackles says.
07/15/2012 3:11 PM EDT
Will we ever be formally introduced to God?
Carver: This season will actually ... We're gonna pull back from the heavy, heavy mythology, we're going to give a chance for our brothers to come out from the mythology a little bit. We're opening it up to other areas. There will be an overarching mythology that we hope will go on for many more seasons."
07/15/2012 3:09 PM EDT
Things that they got bored of doing on screen
Sheppard says Padalecki picks him up and shakes him for minutes at a time. But on screen, Padalecki says he used to hate having to fake being stuck to a wall all the time. "We haven't done that for a while -- luckily we get tied up more these days." Ackles says "it gets tiring to stand there acting like you're stuck against the wall. And all the blood, we complained a lot -- the end of Season 3 with the hellhounds ... When your wardrobe has plumbing, it's not gonna be a good day."
07/15/2012 3:05 PM EDT
Characters they'd resurrect
Gabriel and Chuck -- Dick Speight and Rob Benedict are in the audience. Collins says they're happy to give free hugs and autographs to everyone. Speight emailed Ackles last week saying he hoped Ackles was campaigning to bring Gabriel back. "I would love to have them back, I hope there's a way to make that happen," Padalecki says. Jim Beaver says Jeffrey Dean Morgan wanted to sneak in and ask a question but had to catch a plane.
07/15/2012 3:02 PM EDT
Ackles: We don't know much yet because it's going to be revealed over the season -- I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.
Collins: I could add something about the storyline but I don't know anything.
Edlund: You go into Purgatory, there's a whole body of events that go on there -- a whole subterranean storyline. it happens in the past but affects the future. They're going to meet some badasses down there.
Carver: Purgatory makes strange bedfellows.
Collins: So we're going to be sleeping with a lot of people in Purgatory?
07/15/2012 2:59 PM EDT
Anything they'd change for their characters
Ackles: I was always jealous of when Sam drank the demon blood and had all the mind powers -- it was a cool storyline. I wished Dean could have a superpower. Just to have that power would be cool, but we've got to keep these guys human -- if we start matching powers with the creatures around us, we lose the humanity of them.
07/15/2012 2:57 PM EDT
A characteristic in their characters that hasn't been explored yet:
Beaver would like to finish up with Sheriff Rhodes. Padalecki says there have almost been too many aspects of Sam: "I don't think there's been a lot that has not been explored with Sam, which makes it interesting for Season 8. We've seen these characters through 149 episodes grow and evolve and change, the characters have grown up in front of you, now we get to see who the characters want to be." Collins says "the characters have been through so many journeys now, we're all kind of damaged and worldly -- I'm damaged, so is the character that I play. There's a ton to mine right there. The character has been through so much that ... I don't know what I'm saying." Sheppard says we need to explore his loveliness.
07/15/2012 2:54 PM EDT
What can Jensen tell us about his episode:
"It's kind of a one-off, they catch wind of something, they go off and save the family. I love the one-offs." Edlund says it's bloody.
07/15/2012 2:53 PM EDT
Jensen on directing:
Ackles: It's probably more of a technical thing -- directing the first time was kind of trial and error. This is gonna be boring, but the pace of a scene is very important. Because Mark has that wonderful voice and wonderful performance, I can sit there and watch as an audience member, forgetting that the scene is now taking nine minutes.
Padalecki: The pace he's going at right now, you wanna speed it up.
Ackles: Yeah, I've lost half the audience. I'm in the midst of directing my third one right now [Jared starts snoring]. I'm trying to cut as much as [Jared's] stuff as possible. Directing TV is very difficult though, you've got time limits, budget limits, it's a challenge.
Watch the "Supernatural" Comic-Con panel in its entirety below: