Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Rob Benedict (inset)
Let's not sugarcoat it: Things on Supernatural are a mess right now. Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) have split up, there are no more prophets coming to lend a hand, and Earth is caught in the middle of full-on wars for control over Heaven and Hell.
Maybe it's time for some divine help.
During his time masquerading as The Prophet, Chuck (né God) rewarded those who had the bravery to defy his plan (Team Free Will FTW!). But he wasn't above stepping in to save his favorite creations when the situation got too dire, either. Yet as the lines between Heaven, Hell and Earth continue to blur, God is nowhere to be seen and rarely even discussed. So what's the deal?
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"Selfishly, Jensen would love to have [Rob Benedict] come back to the show because he's one of my favorites of all time," Ackles tells TVGuide.com. "I mean, God would not be too happy at the disarray that has become his creation, so to speak. It's utter chaos. It's everything but the Apocalypse."
Then again, God was happy to watch Michael and Lucifer nearly incite the Apocalypse in Season 5, putting full faith in the Winchesters to prevent it. It's possible that the current situation is simply another test of the brothers. But the Winchester Gospels are completed and Sam and Dean already more than proved their worth to the deity. Chuck called himself a "cruel, capricious God," but this would be crossing a line, even for him.
No matter the reason behind God's absence, any potential return would bring up a new problem for the show to tackle: the anticlimax of absolute power. "I think the risk we always run with Supernatural as a show is ... if you got God on your side or an angel on your side, you're never really in danger," Padalecki says. "So, part of the story we try to tell is humans [are] fallible and we're not immortal and we do have to watch out for each other and watch out for ourselves. And when you bring God into the mix, either he destroys you or he doesn't."
Supernatural helped combat this same problem with Castiel (Misha Collins) by temporarily turning him human earlier this season, but for God there's no such option (that we can imagine at least). As Padalecki rightly points out, it would be easy for God to become a failsafe for the Winchesters and provide far too simple a solution for the complex war that's been building all season. Though Ackles does see some potential in an entity who "is able to really light the fire and put fear into every being on the planet," the actor notes, "I think it could be interesting, but I haven't read it yet."
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Showrunner Jeremy Carver admits to TVGuide.com that the God debate is a constant topic in the Supernatural writers room, but the timing just isn't right. "We talk about it all the time," Carver says of Chuck's return. "And I think we have all determined that up until this point at least, God has always served our story best as an absent father. It's a very understandable characterization."
And one that helps cement one of the core themes of Supernatural: daddy issues. Sam and Dean's relationship and enduring problems with John is one of the things that have always bonded the brothers together. By reinforcing the notion of an absent father through God's own absence, Supernatural highlights the strength of Sam and Dean's relationship and how they've overcome every obstacle in their path with only each other to count on. It's also created an interesting parallel with the angels, who handle their own father's absence drastically different.
So maybe Supernatural doesn't need God anymore, after all. Especially in light of creator Eric Kripke's departure at the end of Season 5, which — not coincidentally — was also Chuck's final appearance. The Prophet was an avatar for the former showrunner that he used to comment on the writing process and add to the show's already rich meta-appeal. But now that Kripke's gone, it seems Zachariah was right and God truly has left the building.
"Kripke's sort of parting words were, 'No more God.'" Padalecki recalls. To revive Chuck, a stand-in for a creator who's no longer around, could do injustice to the Kripke's legacy. But if the chaos on Earth continues to escalate, we wouldn't mind one last appearance by our favorite deity to help the Winchesters out of a jam. Or at the very least, finally confirm Chuck's true identity in canon.
Do you think God should return?
Supernatural airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.
(Full Disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)
Additional reporting by Natalie Abrams.