To the delight of Supernatural's fans, the CW horror show — TV Guide Magazine's first Fan Favorite cover last year — is returning to its seventh season on Friday, September 23. "This year," says executive producer Sera Gamble, "we were really inspired by one of our touchstone movies when we think about Dean [Jensen Ackles] and Sam [Jared Padalecki] and their relationship — Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. We wanted to pit them against a force that's much greater than them with great resources and take away the tools that Sam and Dean are used to having. They feel outmatched and cornered. It's very much a thriller." With that in mind, TV Guide Magazine caught up with Ackles for more scoop on the upcoming season.
TV Guide Magazine: Congratulations. Your little show is about to start its seventh season. Can you believe it?
Jensen Ackles: No, I can't. It was unbelievable we made Season 5, then 6, now we're doing 7 and they're already looking into the future of 8, so I'm just like, "What?" It's not gonna be, "Sam, get me the salt and the gun." It's gonna be, "Sam, throw me my walker!"
TV Guide Magazine: Where does Season 7 start?
Ackles: It's a direct pick-up from where we left off [in May]. Castiel [Misha Collins] looks at Sam and Dean and tells them that they're essentially ants in the scheme of things. Now that he's God, he has no need for them and to stay out of his way... When they track Cas down, they realize that when he took in all those monsters souls from purgatory, there were much older things that got into him as well. There's a new, basically unknown, enemy in the world. It's something that the guys have never dealt with.
TV Guide Magazine: That doesn't sound good.
Ackles: No. [laughs] We're going to start taking things away from Sam and Dean that they've relied on in their hunter life. There's no lore to help them out and no book to tell them what to do. Bobby [Jim Beaver] throws his hands in the air. At one point they might even have to stash the Impala, because it's too recognizable. The lead problem this year, is that all their little tricks that they've used to exist, credit card fraud and gambling, those are ways for this evil to track them down. It poses a bit of a challenge for the boys. They throw everything they can at Sam and Dean and they have to wriggle their way out.
TVGuide Magazine: We know Crowley [Mark A. Sheppard] is back. What's the King of Hell up to?
Ackles: He's been hiding from Cas, who was his partner. There is a little "I'll help you if you help me" going on.
TVGuide Magazine: Who else is back?
Ackles: Death [Julian Richings] is in the season opener. He's the one that gives Sam and Dean the information they need about Cas and the new evil that will loom over the guys for the first half of the season. There's more than one. They could be anywhere. They don't only want to kill the brothers, they want to take over the planet.
TV Guide Magazine: So the boys have to save the world again?
Ackles: Yes, they're essentially going to have to save the world again.
TV Guide Magazine: Isn't Sam still struggling with the breakdown of the wall in his brain that kept away his memories from Hell?
Ackles: Definitely. He's getting these flashbacks from Hell now that the wall that Death built is crumbling. There are visions and hauntings. It's almost like he has to overcome a drug problem. Dean and Bobby are very concerned because he checks out every now and then.
TV Guide Magazine: Now that Dean is single again, will he go back to being catnip for the ladies?
Ackles: Well, in one episode I do walk into a bar and hit on a waitress and say how it's been a long time! I don't know that there's going to be a lot of room for that. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: You're directing your second episode. When will it air and was it easier this time around?
Ackles: It will air third [October 7] It was much more challenging than last year. There was a lot of story going on. And flashbacks. [This time] it's a one-off. Sam takes off on his own. He catches a case that he's familiar with back from 1998. He was left home to do research while Dad and Dean were off hunting creatures, and he wound up running into the creatures himself. He had to make a very tough decision when he meets a girl and he's smitten. Now he's tracking her as a grown up. We have a really cool guest star playing her — Jewel Staite, who I've known since she was on Firefly.
TV Guide Magazine.com: We hear the hunter Jo [Alona Tal] is returning, despite her death back in Season 5.
Ackles: She's brought back as kind of a materialized blast from the past when Dean is put on trial by an ancient Egyptian god who calls a few witnesses to the stand. It's a heartwarming scene between the two of them.
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