Supernatural is back for its 14th season, and one of its stars is just now playing a new character. It’s been a long relationship between star Jensen Ackles (aka Dean Winchester) and fans, so maybe it was time to spice things up. Did audiences know it’d be because Dean got possessed by the archangel Michael? Probably not. But now the actor has been playing a much different character than the charming brother we know and love, and he looks to play him further into the season as well.
Speaking to EW about the process of creating his version of the archangel Michael, Ackles opened up about how much (or little) direction he got. Apparently Supernatural’s co-showrunner Andrew Dabb sent out some mixed messages about one of his leads creating a new character after a decade and a half of the show.
Dabb told Ackles to reach out if he had questions, so the actor did. Then the showrunner told him to do his “own thing” with the character, throwing any hope of direction into the wind. He was, in Ackles’ words, “an island unto myself.” However, that did unshackle Ackles from the version of the character previously played by Christian Keyes.
The star also said the season’s second episode, "Gods and Monsters," allowed him to “regroup,” thanks to the director Richard Speight Jr. “I started to add a bit more flavor [to Michael] and spice it up a bit,” Ackles said.
“I only had, like, two scenes in the first episode, so I really didn’t have a chance to dive into it. But the second episode I got to play with him a little bit more — there were a couple really good scenes.” Adding bits of comedy — and figuring out how an angel would deliver whatever they found funny — was a process that allowed the actor some liberty but also took him back to a discomfort he’d lacked since the early days of the show.
“I think about when I was first doing Dean Winchester, and it was very similar,” Ackles said. “It wasn’t until about the third or fourth episode [of Season 1] where I really felt like I had a handle on the idea of who this guy was. So I feel like I’m back in that same seat again, 13 seasons later.”
Supernatural airs its second episode of the season on Oct. 18 on The CW.