It’s hard to believe, but The CW’s Supernatural will be kicking off its 10th season this month with no apparent end in sight — and the show is still pretty interesting, to boot.
This show was actually a stalwart of The WB’s schedule before the merger with UPN happened, so how on earth have they kept it entertaining 10 years running? By keeping the focus on the characters we know and love, not being afraid to take a few risks and successfully building a mythology that gets richer without absolutely drowning new viewers in it for no reason. It's a simple formula, but it works.
With season 10 debuting Oct. 7, we’re taking a look back — and forward — as we try to figure out what to expect from the new season. From karaoke to Demon Dean, it looks like we’ll have more than enough to keep us entertained this fall.
Cue up the AC/DC and let's get this show on the road.
The story so far
Oh, where to begin? Supernatural has been on the air for a decade, and along the way it’s created a positively massive universe full of friends, foes evil baddies and a-hole angels. Despite all the ancillary stuff, the series still boils down to a nice one-sentence logline: Two brothers travel the nation fighting demons. You have to love the elegance of the pitch.
But it’s not exactly that simple. Along the way, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) have died, been resurrected and fought each other more times than we can count (seriously). But some of those ancillary characters have also grown into full-fledged regulars, with friendly angel Castiel (Misha Collins) and top demon baddie Crowley (Mark Sheppard) expected to have key roles in year 10.
The Mark of Cain: Looking at where season 9 left off, it makes sense that these two supporting characters will be major players. Long story short, Dean sought out the super-powered Mark of Cain and First Blade in season nine to have enough juice to take out the season’s big baddies. But, by embracing the allure of the Mark of Cain, Dean started flirting with the dark side. After being killed while doing battle with the angel Metatron, it looked like it might be the end for Dean …
… but it turns out the Mark of Cain wasn’t quite ready to let him go. So the Mark brings Dean back as a full-fledged demon, black eyes and all. The season ended with Dean going missing with Crowley, with it largely implied he’d be going full-on evil in the new season.
Castiel's role: Fallen angel Castiel also had a lot to do last season, getting a chance to learn more about humanity and finding himself in the midst of an all-out war for heaven and the loyalty of the angels. With Metatron in prison and no longer in control of heaven, and a power vacuum likely, it sets up a ton of great storylines for Castiel to dig into. Castiel grew a great deal in season 9, and we can’t wait to see where he goes next. Plus, with Dean turning evil, we’d think Sam will definitely be calling in some angelic assistance.
So, where do we go from here?
The past few seasons, Supernatural has done an excellent job of using the season finale to wrap up some storylines and set up a nice cliffhanger for the next year — and the latest closing shot was no exception.
We don’t know how long it will last, but it seems the Demon Dean storyline will be a huge driving force in season 10. Much of last season was leading up to that transformation, and it stands to reason it’ll last a while. But we do wonder how long they can keep the brothers apart. The majority of the season, you think? That'd be gutsy.
When season 10 begins, the producers have revealed Sam has no idea what’s happened to Dean, since the demon awakening happened off-screen from him. For Sam, all he knows is that Dean has disappeared. So Moose will apparently have to spend a bit of time during the premiere figuring out what the heck is going on.
Demon Dean: As we’d expected, executive producer Jeremy Carver notes the driving question this season is: “How do you stop your demon brother?” From the footage we’ve already seen, it seems Dean might make one heck of a good Big Bad himself. But he’s still Dean — i.e. his affinity for porn, burgers and hot chicks remains — just evil. It’ll be interesting how that plays out.
Dean has always been a survivor, but by turning him into a demon they’ve ratcheted up the darkness, subtracted the conscience and given him superpowers. That’s a recipe for pure evil. The Mark of Cain will also remain a factor, pushing Dean even further to satisfy the Mark’s bloodlust. The writers have also teased Demon Dean will be so dark he might even go too far for Crowley himself ... which is unsettling to imagine.
Though Dean is supposed to be the evil one, Carver noted Sam will be pushed well outside his own comfort zone in his quest to find and save his brother. According to him, Sam will have to “do some questionable things that will make him, and certainly the audience, wonder which one of these guys is the true monster.” Just watch that clip above if you need proof.
So, what’s up with Castiel? Ackles says the angel will serve as a “voice of reason” in the search, reminding Sam that Dean might not be redeemable at this point since he’s not possessed — which they’ve faced before — but is actually a demon himself. “Even though it might be hard to hear, it might be hard to say, he tells Sam, 'Listen, you know what you have to do if things don't go right,'” Ackles said. Castiel will also have to grapple with his fading grace in the early parts of season 10.
It won’t all be serious: Though the series skews dark, Supernatural has never been afraid to go meta for a good boundary-pushing episode at least once per season. Considering the new season will feature a milestone 200th episode, the writers are cooking up something big. Describing it as “musical-ish,” Carver teased the ep will feature “just about every character — I’ll say they will be represented — that you’ve ever loved or hated on the show, and I say that very obliquely on purpose. So, they will be there in spirit.” Rumor has it the episode will feature a stage performance of the in-canon Supernatural book series. Hmm. Yeah, we’re intrigued.
New hunter comes to town, old friends return
A new hunter: They’ve kept a lot of the guest stars under wraps for season 10, though we do know a new hunter named Cole (Travis Aaron Wade) will be running afoul of the gang in the search for Demon Dean. It sounds like he apparently has a history with pre-Demon Dean. Another option? He might just be doing his hunter-ly duties and trying to track down the new Big Bad in town — and we’ll be curious to see how Sam possibly justifies trying to stop him. The character apparently involves a nice twist, but we don’t actually know what it is.
Felicia Day is coming back! One of the best casting options of the past few seasons involved the addition of Felicia Day as hacker-turned-hunter Charlie, who has already had a few very memorable appearances in recent years. When last we left Charlie, she headed off into Oz with Dorothy to be a hero (it’s a long story) — so we can’t wait to see where she is now. Here’s hoping Dorothy also returns.
The new season will also feature the return of two female sheriffs. Fan favorite Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) and Sheriff Donna Hanscum (Brianna Buckmaster) will reportedly be teaming up to fight off some evil in their own episode. We absolutely love Sheriff Mills, so we’re in favor of any episode giving her more of a spotlight.
What are you most looking forward to in Supernatural's 10th go-round? Are you ready for Demon Dean?