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In Supernatural season 8, fans saw the series return to its former glory. In season 9, Castiel (Misha Collins) will be returning with a (much) larger role than we was given last season. But what about Bobby (Jim Beaver)?

For many fans of the series, Bobby’s death felt more like an awkward attempt at eliciting some emotion during the “Leviathan incident” (that shall not be spoke of) instead of a realistic departure for one of the series’ favorite characters. And though Bobby did receive an emotional, well-written farewell in season 7, and a surprise saving from Hell in season 8, fans still wonder whether or not we’ll see the official return of Bobby sometime soon. After all, Heaven and Hell haven’t been an endpoint for any character in quite some time. (Plus, the season 8 finale did return to Bobby’s junkyard, albeit briefly.)

When it comes to bringing Bobby – or anyone else – back from the dead, it’s showrunner Jeremy Carver who makes that decision. Luckily, we had a chance to speak with him about all things Heaven and Hell. Here’s how he decides who to bring back:

I never think, ‘Oh wow, who can I bring back?’ I always think of it in the sense of, ‘Oh wow, who would be right for this particular story.’

So does this mean that Bobby will be “right” to bring back in Supernatural season 9? Perhaps. According to Carver, a path has been created to allow them to do just that, if they so choose:

You know, we were saying all season, ‘You never know what’s going to happen to Bobby,’ and I think we’ve found a – I can’t believe I’m going to say this word – believable way to bring him back from Hell. I think now that Bobby is presumably in Heaven that it certainly does open up the question of whether or not we might see him again.’

Although this isn’t really a confirmation of Bobby’s return, there’s one thing that’s certain: Bobby is an important character in the story that is Supernatural. It may have been John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who helped lay the foundation for Sam and Dean to do their hunting, but it was Bobby who took over, stood in as a father figure and helped them along the way. Though Sam and Dean could have continued with their father, the relationship could have – and likely would have – slowed Sam and Dean’s character evolution.

With Supernatural season 9 setting itself up for a Heavenly battle, thanks to “Marv” (Curtis Armstrong), there’s more than enough opportunities available to bring Bobby back, somehow. And if they do, in whatever way they can think up, it’s doubtful that fans of the series will complain about how it was done, they’ll just be happy that it actually happened.

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Supernatural season 9 premieres September/October 2013 on CW