The "Supernatural" Season 9 premiere is only a week away (Tues., Oct. 8 at 9 p.m. ET on The CW), and when we last saw the Winchester brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) was looking a little worse for wear after Dean (Jensen Ackles) talked him out of sacrificing his life to close the gates of Hell.
According to the stars and executive producer Bob Singer, Sam's predicament will get worse before it gets better this season, leading Dean to make a decision that "he'll have to live with for some time," according to Singer. We spoke with Ackles, Padalecki and Singer at Comic-Con to find out what fans can expect from the Season 9 premiere, titled "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here."
"When the season premiere starts, Sam's in bad, bad shape, and it was a purposefully misleading finale where it's like 'oh, good, he's not gonna finish [the trials], he's not gonna die.' But then we saw something happen to Sam, we don't know what," Padalecki previewed. "We pick up and he's in worse shape, initially, than he was at the end of last year. They have to employ some help, so to speak."
Although the Winchesters have arguably always had different motivations for sticking with the Family Business, expect for Sam and Dean to be firmly back on the same page in Season 9.
"We ended last season with Sam doing the trials and Dean really, really harboring a lot of guilt over the fact that he wasn't the one spearheading that campaign, so the fact that that has now subsided and the brothers essentially chose each other, I think gives Dean a little bit more of a sense that he's in the driver's seat with what's going on," Ackles explained. "Sam is still extremely affected by what the trials did to him; Dean has found a rather unusual bandaid for the situation that will probably come back to haunt him, but for right now, it puts [Sam] together so that they can get back in the car and go fight the good fight. So the fact that Dean has that clarity gives him a little more sense of purpose [this season]."
Padalecki agreed that the brothers will need to rely on each other more than ever to face the rising tide of foes building against them this year: "Demons are never our friends, and now the angels, obviously, are not super excited with us, so we've got to figure out how to marry the two," he said. "We have possession of Crowley [Mark Sheppard], so we now know how to cure demons and we have possession of the number one demon, so we're going to try and make good on the promise we made to each other in the church and make the world a better place, one demon at a time."
As Jeremy Carver told us at Comic-Con, the season will also utilize far more of the show's recurring players than ever before. "We're really including some of our supporting characters in big ways this year," he said. "We're doing a lot more B and C stories than you've ever seen from the show before, and we're really maximizing the new position that some of our favorite characters are finding themselves in."
Because of that, Singer was prompted to compare the season to a certain hit HBO series. "[This season is] a multi-character, multi-level character drama. Obviously not of the scope of 'Game of Thrones,' but you have all these different worlds going on simultaneously and they cross-pollinate," he explained. "We left so many balls in the air and we have so many great characters that we haven't paid off that we're kind of telling a … I hesitate to say 'soap opera,' but that kind of character-driven, multilayered storytelling."
As Padalecki pointed out, the fallen angels will present a whole new type of challenge in Season 9, one that Ackles admitted the brothers aren't particularly well-equipped to deal with. "We don't quite know how they're going to navigate the [angel] situation because it's a new situation, and I think it's out of the scope of Dad's journal," he said. "They still have the Men of Letters at their fingertips to utilize any knowledge that they might have, but I think it's going to be a lot of trial and error. They're not quite sure what the angels' intentions are; we don't know if they're friend or foe; we don't know if it might be a case-by-case basis. So I think they're under the impression 'if we stick together we can make it through anything, so here we go.'"
Expect for the duplicitous Metatron (Curtis Armstrong) to remain a major threat in Season 9. "Once Metatron realizes that it's lonely up there, he's going to get back in the game," Singer previewed. "There's a couple of angels on earth that are vying for power on earth and trying to find a way to fight Metatron to get back into heaven, or court Metatron and get back in that way. Demons are running crazy because they don't know where their king is, so there's power struggles within the demon world. So we're seeing demon-on-demon war, demon-on-angel, angel-on-humans, it's really a mishmash and there's some really rich stuff."
But where does that leave Castiel (Misha Collins), who had his grace stolen by Metatron in the Season 8 finale? "His story, at least in the first run, or up to midseason, is adjusting to being human -- which is a really hard adjustment -- coming to terms with his humanness," Singer said. "And as things start to escalate, and he realizes 'my god, there's an angel war going on out there -- I'm partly to blame for this, do I get back in the fray, do I try to somehow get my grace back and become an angel? I like being a human, but I feel duty-bound ...' So he goes through quite an [existential crisis]."
When we spoke, the actors had yet to film scenes of the brothers dealing with Castiel's newfound humanity, and Ackles was intrigued to see how they'd handle it. "Are we gonna have to teach him how to load a gun, how to use the toilet? We're not quite sure to what extent he's incapacitated," he said, laughing when reminded of Dean's attempts to help Castiel lose his virginity in Season 5. "This is true, he has not taken to some of the 'Dean lessons,' so we'll see. Sam might have to be a little bit more fatherly."
As for whether Dean's plan to keep Crowley captive will come back to bite the brothers, Ackles mused, "It's probably not the best idea that Dean has had. [But] if things go well, he could be a valuable informant -- you never know!"
"Supernatural" Season 9 premieres Tues., Oct. 8 at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.
Are you excited for Season 9 of "Supernatural"? Share your hopes and predictions below!