For a series that was only supposed to last five seasons, Supernatural has really shown some legs. The first five seasons tell a coherent, linear story before the show sort of muddled through seasons 6-8 until they course-corrected with season 9. Having touched on God, there appears to be a better path forward after the more recent seasons. Filming has kicked off for the 12th season of The CW’s longest running series (if you count time prior to the UPN/WB merger), and with a fanbase as rabid as this one, there’s no telling how much longer Supernatural can go.
The cast may have its own thoughts on how the long-running series should end, but first, they’ve got to rescue Sam from the British Men of Letters. The Winchester brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles), have faced just about every supernatural beast imaginable over the course of 11 seasons, but executive producer Bob Singer says that season 12 will be a return to the basics.
At San Diego Comic-Con, Singer told Variety that the 12th season would be more comparable to the show’s first two seasons. The focus will be on family as the brothers deal with their mother, Mary’s (Samantha Smith, reprising her role from the series pilot) return/resurrection. Where Padalecki thinks Sam questions whether or not blood is enough to make people family, Ackles shares what head space he thinks Dean is in. On their mother’s return, he said:
“It presents a dynamic we haven’t had. How is she going to plug herself into their lives? For the longest time, the way to get to one of them was if you trap or make one suffer, the other comes running. Now there’s a third element in the mix that could make the guys more vulnerable.”
The first season of Supernatural saw the boys chasing their father, which drove a wedge between the two of them. Dean had always done what was asked of him, while Sam was the rebellious one and tried to quit the family business and attend law school instead. The two brothers viewed their father in very different ways, and as showrunner Andrew Dabb notes, they hadn’t known their mother long enough to form their own opinions of her. On Mary, he says:
“[She’s] been mythologized to them; Dean’s memories of her are spotty, Sam’s are nonexistent. It’s about reforging that connection. She has a lot in common with Sam and Dean, she was raised a hunter, like they were… It’s interesting how Sam and Dean both respond to her — this is something that they deeply want, but they know family can be a vulnerability.”
Mary will obviously be a big focus for this 12th season, but the boys do have other pressing concerns. Lucifer is still on the loose, and after having used Castiel (Misha Collins) as a vessel in season 11, will be looking for a new home. Supernatural introduced the Men of Letters secret society back in season 8, but sibling organization British Men of Letters will pose a threat as well. As for Crowley, fans can always count on him to put himself first, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t got family issues of his own to deal with.
Supernatural returns for season 12 (with another day-of-the-week change) on Thursday, October 13th at 9ET on The CW.