'Supernatural': Fred Lehne returns as Azazel, plus Jensen Ackles is 'a great director'

supernatural-fred-lehne.jpgWe thought we'd seen the last of him, but he's back!

At this weekend's Creation Entertainment Salute to "Supernatural" convention in Parsippany, N.J., Fredric Lehne himself affirms that he will return as the series' original baddie, the Yellow Eyed Demon - also known as Azazel. Zap2it is still awaiting studio confirmation, but for now, we'll take Lehne's word for it.

Lehne says he'll start work on Wednesday, July 14, while the cast and crew is working on the season premiere. Though he has had the most screen time as Azazel, the demon has also been portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Rob Labelle, Mitch Pileggi, and very briefly by Lindsey McKeon.

Warner Bros. has confirmed that Mitch Pileggi will also return to the show -- though whether he'll appear as Azazel or Samuel Campbell, Sam and Dean's grandfather, we don't know.

The demon was killed by Dean in the Season 2 finale, so we're guessing he's returning for a flashback or a time-travel episode. Either that, or Azazel's back from the dead... which isn't exactly a rare occurrence on "Supernatural." It happens just about every Thursday, give or take.

Sera Gamble, who has taken over for Eric Kripke as showrunner for the series' sixth season, has mentioned that this year "Supernatural" will return to a format that closely resembles its first season, so it seems appropriate to bring back the first season's biggest villain.

Meanwhile, the cast and crew have been busy shooting the season's fourth episode, "A Weekend at Bobby's." Series star Jensen Ackles is taking his first big step behind the camera as director, and so far, he's getting rave reviews.

"Had lunch my buddy who just shot SPN episode. NOT saying anthying other than this: 1) Jensen was a great director...2) Blood everywhere!" tweeted Samantha Ferris, who played Ellen Harvelle until she was killed off last season.

The shoot hasn't been all bloody fun and games, though. Zap2it fave Jim Beaver worked a 17-hour day as Bobby Singer (hear that, Katherine Heigl?) and the following day updated his Facebook status to read, "The heatwave hit Vancouver today, and between being sunbaked and allergy-stricken, I'd just as soon have skipped today." Sounds brutal -- but we'd endure it to spend the day getting bossed around by Jensen Ackles. Just sayin'.

Expect some serious violence in the episode. "Haven't had a major all-out fight scene in years," says Beaver. "Halfway through this one and I'm feeling pain in places I didn't know I had places. Fun!" Shooting a fight scene during a heat wave under TV lights doesn't exactly sound fun. "Home at 1 a.m., we'll finish the fight tomorrow," he writes. "When you pull off your shirt and it drips onto the floor, you know it's been a warm day."

Gross!

Gleeks will notice another familiar face in the episode -- Jennifer Aspen, who plays Terri Schuester's enabling sister Kendra on "Glee," makes a memorable appearance.

[Update] Aspen shared the following photo of herself from the "Supernatural" set via her Twitter, @givekendraasong. Looks like Ferris' "Blood everywhere!" tweet was no exaggeration.

jennifer aspen supernatural.jpg

Countdown to the Sept 24 premiere: 75 days. Tick-tick-tick...

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Photo: CW