The final day of San Diego Comic-Con 2013 kicked off with demons and demon hunters as the "Supernatural" panel cast a spell over Hall H in the morning. Series stars Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester), Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester), Mark Sheppard (Crowley), and Misha Collins (Castiel) took the stage alongside Executive Producer and showrunner Jeremy Carver and Executive Producer Bob Singer. Felicia Day (Charlie Bradbury) made a delightful surprise appearance as well.
Before the cast appeared, though, a video of highlights from Season 8 and a sneak peak at Season 9 played on the large Hall H screen. Honky-tonk rock and roll played as the brothers Winchester sliced, smashed and shot their way through dozens of supernatural beings. It's safe to say there were more beheadings during this highlights reel than the rest of Comic-Con combined.
The finale of Season 8, in which angels fell from the sky, played before the Season 9 footage began. The new footage includes a "Hunger Games" joke as Osric Chau's Kevin Tran shoots a crossbow at Dean, who recommends he exchange his weapon for a gun. Sam appears with a prisoner, who turns out to be Crowley. The brothers demand he give them the name of every demon on Earth, but predictably he doesn't want to play ball. "You've got no leverage," he says. "You're not going to close the gates of Hell because you didn't, and you're not going to kill me because you haven't."
But the brothers know how to get to him -- it just might take a while."Being stuck in solitary with no one to talk to?" Sam says. "We figure that's pretty much your own personal hell." They shut the door and the tied-up King of Hell looks bored as the shot fades to black. Other footage shown during the panel included a segment from the gag reel that will be included on the Season 8 DVD and Blu-ray when it releases on September 10.
The new footage looks great, but the biggest surprise came when Day, who previously guest starred in three episodes as the nerdy Charlie Bradbury, took the stage partway through the panel.
"Obviously Felicia will be back," Singer teases. "We love her. We have big plans for her this year, and she is a delight."
"I am thrilled to be back [on the show]," Day says, adding that it's her first time in the cavernous Hall H. "I think it's always amazing when you have a gift of a character that you just want to play all the time, and I'm so blessed to be working with these very amazing men with excellent hair."
The discussion began with a tease for Season 9. "We're going to learn pretty quickly that a world full of fallen angels is pretty much a free-for-all," Carver says. "It's not one unified body. We've got lots of angels out there with lots of different agendas and many are feeling lost and scared and vengeful, and I think it's lending itself to some really exciting and wonderful character moments for all of our characters to be dealing with."
"A world of fallen angels is a dirty, bloody, scary, and in some ways very human world," he continues. He also promised that fans will learn more about the Men of Letters in Season 9 and that the Winchesters will be "knee-deep" in angels this year.
At the end of the last season the brothers Winchester chose one another instead of closing the gates of Hell like they intended. "That has left them stronger than ever but also has created a tremendous amount of fallout for them to be dealing with, particularly at the beginning of this season," Carver says.
"Thankfully we have fans that want us to keep fighting the fight," Padalecki adds. "You all really kick ass."
"It's a remarkable shift for Castiel," Collins says of his character, whose powers are diminished in Season 9. "There's a shift in the dynamic there in terms of how he can be utilized by the brothers at the outset of the season, and I think that for Castiel's arc as a character this season it is going to be an immensely rich tapestry to explore, his becoming human."
"Now he's really down in the dirt and filth of being a human," he says. That includes learning to eat -- "and learning what happens after you eat." He promised a "great bathroom scene" in Season 9.
The producers and cast dodged several questions about the show, including the rumored return of Jim Beaver (Singer), where angels and demons go when they officially die, the possible return of the antichrist character Jesse Turner, and whether Crowley's breakdown in Season 8 was genuine.
"Whatever happened to Crowley at the end of Season 8 has had a profound effect on him, whether he likes it or not," Sheppard says. "And hopefully we'll go on a little journey to find out what kind of effect."
Ackles spoke about his character as well. "Dean has been through quite a lot," he says. "I think what keeps him motivated or keeps him pushing on is -- really it's his sense of duty to fight the good fight. It's his duty to his brother, his family, and it's what he signed on to do."
"Supernatural" Season 9 premieres October 15 on The CW.
Photo/Video credit: The CW