Of Death and Impalas: Supernatural Season 11 shakes things up

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Jul 27, 2015, 7:52 PM EDT (Updated)

Demon hunters Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) have crossed paths with just about every creature you could imagine -- from archangels to wraiths -- over 10 seasons of Supernatural.  But seemingly killing Death and releasing the Darkness upon Earth in the most recent season finale, "Brother's Keeper," might be one of the show's biggest game changers yet.

Executive producer/writer Andrew Dabb teased Blastr and other reporters at San Diego Comic-Con that the show will pick up where the finale left off in the aftermath of Dean scything Death and the Mark of Cain released Darkness washing over their Impala. Is Death really dead, and what does that mean?

Dabb said, "Well, there has always been a Death. Once he goes missing, it creates some issues, particularly among souls, particularly among reapers. [His disappearance] is something we want to pace out over the course of our season, or at least the first half of the season, to really dive into that."

Darkness will also quickly take the form of Amara (Emily Swallow) and have an agenda to pursue on Earth. Executive producer/showrunner Jeremy Carver said that by the first episode back "it becomes fully apparent what the Darkness wants, and it's not just a threat for the boys, but a threat to angels and demons as well. In some ways, it's a more global threat. It sounds big and comic-book-y almost, but there's certainly incredibly relatable things about the Darkness that grounds it in the way Supernatural does. Once we fully start to understand what the Darkness is all about, everybody is going to realize there is a very relatable story about a lot of unfinished business for the Darkness' side."

Known for taking storytelling risks with one-off episodes and exploring odd subplots and characters through its entire decade-plus run, Carver said the show will continue with that in episode four. "We are doing an entire episode in the Impala," he laughed. "You know how the boys decide they are going to do their case and you cut to them in suits walking up? Well, what if you stayed in the car another 10 minutes and watched them talk about what regular people talk about? It's a very bonding, very real, grounded look at the brothers. That's something we know the fans wanted, and we love that stuff, too."

Season 11 also puts the brothers working on the same side, which has been a rare occurrence. Padalecki said he's thrilled they get to work as a united front again. "They don't know what the Darkness is. It's pre-biblical. It predates God and Castiel (Misha Collins) and Crowley (Mark Sheppard). They are completely out of their world, but they are there together. That's super-cool for me. [In real life] I am a brother. So is Jensen. I have two sons. Now the brothers are a team again."

And what about perennial fan favorite Castiel, who was compelled by witch Rowena's (Ruth Connell) spell to attack Crowley in the finale? Actor Misha Collins teased, "We pick up with Cas still being under Rowena's spell." Just how long that will last is a secret. But he did add, "I think it's going to be a good season. I like that we are changing what's happening on the show. Last season was more about the personal tribulations of the various characters. This season is going to be reuniting us against a Big Bad, which is something we've done before, but it's changing it up and giving us a new focus."

As to Rowena's role in that, Dabb added, "Rowena is an interesting character. She's kind of been sidelined for most of her witch career. She was never the top dog. She was always someone who had to scheme and manipulate her way and survive by the skin of her teeth. Suddenly she has more power than she's ever had, maybe even more than any witch ever had. It's interesting to see that now that you've got what you want, do you really want it?" -- with additional reporting by Jen Boyett.

Supernatural returns Oct. 7 on The CW.