HuffPost TV caught Jared Padalecki, Jeremy Carver, Ben Edlund, Jim Beaver and Mark Sheppard on the press line (sadly no Misha Collins or Jensen Ackles this time) to discuss what's coming up for the Winchesters, their allies and enemies in the next season.
On Sam's mindset and emotional stability going into Season 8: "He's happy; he's Winchester brother happy! [Laughs.] Nothing's ever going to be lollipops and candy canes, he's obviously had a lot of hurt and a lot of loss in his life; obviously he's had demon blood in him, he's done it all. He's able to finally resolve himself to get out of it, to get away, to say 'listen, I've lost everything -- I got it back and lost it all over again, it's too much.' He's wanted to live a normal life for a long, long time, so he's able to finally go 'You know what? I'm gonna go try to live a normal life and walk away from it, to get a job and get a dog.'"
On his new love interest: "We do see his love interest but we see it only in flashbacks. This one's not a demon, she's not going to end up on the roof, the Yellow Eyed Demon is dead, Sam's out of the life so he's not putting anyone in harm's way as far as he's concerned. But he has a relationship with this girl. It's not gonna affect Sam and Dean's relationship because Sam and Amelia are done by the time Dean shows back up."
How he approached coming back to the show after being with "Being Human": "The most significant change for me is that for the last two years I've been telling stories from the monsters' point of view, and this year I'm telling stories from the perspective of two guys whose mission in life is to kill monsters so that's the biggest shift. [Laughs.] But truly, it was an honor to be asked back."
On the broad strokes of next season: The boys have spent a significant amount of time apart from each other, when they reunite they're coming from slightly different perspectives -- or renewed perspectives on life, it takes a special sort of quest to get them back in the mire together and it's one that again, is very near and dear to their hearts and they're very much interested in going on the offensive.
On bringing it back to the emotional core of the characters: "For me, the main attraction to the story has always been the emotional connection between the boys. After seven seasons, we have such a deep, deep mythology that it can be a little hard to keep track of. My idea was to reel it back just a little bit and make the mythology almost a reboot, so that everyone can catch their breath and so that we can set up a -- hopefully -- seasons long mythology."
On where we'll find Sam and Dean mentally next season: "Maybe a little shocked to realize that in this profound period of separation, they've figured out how to survive without each other. That's part of it, a little bit growing up and realizing that they can't be the only things to each other or they have too closed a world or too closed an emotional complex. [They'll meet] new people, have new relationships, and are looking outward from this partnership that is both highly functional in terms of saving the world but also highly dysfunctional in terms of how you might relate to the world."
On Castiel's arc next season: "I think he's -- in the most general sense -- he's moving back towards his roots in a way. He's an angel who's had all these strange experiences with free will and he's actually starting to gravitate back towards ... towards home in a sense, but that's gonna be a different home because the angels' home has been destroyed. He's got a story to play, but it'll take a little longer than the other ones because we kind of front-load it with the boys and then bring him in."
On his conversations with Jeremy Carver: “I have had conversations, I offered to paint his house and wash his car … he was noncommittal. Well, he wanted me to paint his house and wash his car, but he noncommittal about whether anything was going to come back my way from that. [Laughs.] Anything’s possible. I will be very surprised if it’s the last you’ve seen of Bobby -- I would hate to be the one guy in the history of 'Supernatural' who actually dies and stays dead.”
On Bobby’s exit: “It seemed touching; I don’t think it needed the same Viking funeral feel that Bobby’s initial demise got. There were enough things about that scene to leave questions: Where was the leather case that was around the flask; why was Castiel sitting on the steps watching so intrigued? Anything’s possible!”
On whether Crowley will be playing puppet-master yet again, or in the same position as the boys: “Ben kind of hinted [in the panel] that Crowley is nothing if not prepared -- maybe I’m still puppet-master, you never know.”
On the broad-strokes of Season 8: “There’s gonna be a conflict, as Jeremy was saying, between the boys and myself at this point. We’re chasing the same thing, which could be fascinating. The best part is, I like the show, I’m a fan of the show; I’m still interested in watching.”