Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, Supernatural
Ho, ho, ho, Deaniacs and Samaholics, Supernatural (9 pm/ET, CW) hasn't forgotten you at you at holiday time. Exec producer Eric Kripke is gifting you with a very gory Christmas episode tonight and he's telling us all about it — there's some revelations fans should eat up — as well as offering up some hints of episodes to come.

TV Guide: So what is the Supernatural take on Christmas?
Eric Kripke:
I grew up loving Christmas specials; Rudolph, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town. I got it into my head that I wanted to do Supernatural's version of a Christmas special. We wanted to be the first — and I'd imagine only — Christmas special complete with impalements, cannibalism and torture scenes. [Laughs]  What I really rub my hands together in glee about is that we are far and away the most violent Christmas special in the history of television. That's really fun. As we researched legends for the show, we came across this worldwide one about an anti-Claus — if God has the Devil, then Santa Claus has this creature. He stuffs his victims in sacks and takes them off to eat them. 

TV Guide: Oh no, a really, really bad Santa!
Kripke:.
One of the things I'm really proud of in this episode is that the legend is one of our most accurate, not just in discussion of the anti-Claus, but also when you research Christmas you discover that the vast majority of Christmas traditions are actually pagan. So is Easter.

TV Guide: Isn't that a little gutsy of you to point out on American TV?
Kripke:
[Laughs] We just report the news. 

TV Guide: Where do the pagans fit into the story?
Kripke: The implication of there being an anti-Claus means that there actually is a Santa Claus and the writers and I couldn't quite bring ourselves to say that there was such a thing as Santa Claus. So we moved on to the Pagan god, which is called Hold Nickar. Generally thought to be the  precedent to Santa Claus.

TV Guide: You have the violent cynical pagan holiday story but then you have moving flashbacks to the young Winchesters, don't you?
Kripke: Yeah, it felt like such a natural to tie it into the Christmas episode. Those kids — Ridge Canipe plays Dean and Colin Ford, Sam — are-terrific. We love exploring the childhood of the boys and to be able to tell the story of the day that Sam lost his innocence not just that there was no such thing as Santa Claus but that there was such a thing as everything else, was too good an opportunity to pass up.

TV Guide: What kind of revelations are there in the boys past?
Kripke:
It explains where Dean got his necklace that he wears in every single episode. It explains the beginning of Sam's estrangement from his father and his indoctrination into the supernatural world. It's quite a big moment.

TV Guide: How many episodes do you have left?
Kripke:
Christmas will be Episode 8 and we will have four more before we go into repeats. If it ends in December, I think we'll be able to pick back up in January without missing too many episodes, only one or two. If the strike heads off into January or God forbid, February, then we really need to have a conversation about how scaled back the season is going to be.

TV Guide: Will Sam's quest to keep Dean alive be ongoing in those four episodes?
Kripke:
Yeah. We actually spend a little more time with how Dean himself feels about going to Hell because right now he's accepting that he's going to Hell and he's unwilling to do anything to stop it. That changes 180 percent in Episode 10. Something big happens to him that makes him realize he desperately wants to live and he desperately doesn't want to go to Hell. We also have a great  Groundhog day episode coming up.

TV Guide: Where a day keeps repeating itself?
Kripke:
Sam basically wakes up every day and it's the same day and Dean dies at the end of every single day. It's actually quite funny. Dean dies maybe 10 different ways on camera, and off camera, maybe he dies 200 different ways. Sam doesn't go through just three or four Tuesdays, he goes through something like 150 Tuesdays. We have a great witch episode and we have a big mythology episode where we pay off the Agent Hendrickson storyline in a very climactic way.

TV Guide: What's happening with Ruby and Bella?
Kripke:
Ruby is appearing in that episode with Hendrickson; she's also appearing in the witch episode. We reveal something pretty surprising about her backstory. She's a demon, and we learn a lot about demons and how they came to be demons. Bella makes an appearance in a dream episode, where Sam and Dean take this medicine man drug where they go dream walking, which is going into other peoples' dreams. So we spend the majority inside Bobby's dreams, inside Dean's dreams,

TV Guide: Your fans seem to hate any woman who comes on the show. Are they coming around?
Kripke:
My fans are a protective bunch. I hope we're winning them over. Last season, they had such issues with the character Jo. And privately, I thought the character as we wrote her wasn't working out. This season, I love both these girls and both these characters. They're really interesting and bring something different to the table.

TV Guide: I have to ask you about Katie Cassidy's (Ruby) arrest-underage drinking, lying to a cop. How has that affected the show?
Kripke: I don't have anything to say about that. It hasn't affected the show at all.

TV Guide: Are you planning for Dean's future to be resolved this season? If the strike allows it, of course.
Kripke:
We have this storyline that we're building towards — whether Dean goes to Hell and what's really happening to Sam, dovetails together in a really surprising and satisfying way. If we have a full season, Dean's time will come up and we'll definitely answer what team Sam is going to be fighting for. If we have a half a season, stay tuned for Season 4. So we're excited by that story and we hope to tell it this year.

TV Guide: What can we look forward to with post-strike eps?
Kripke:
There's a fun one where we bring back the Hellhounds, the bumbling ghost hunters back from Season 1. The whole show is an episode of their reality show. So we're shooting an entire show on hand-held video Blair Witch-style. Like when X-Files did their episode of Cops. It's our loving tribute to Ghosthunters on Sci Fi.

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