Sam and Dean Winchester have been through a lot over the last seven seasons of The CW's Supernatural. They've dealt with demons, angels, creatures, prophets, the devil, God and the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. They've even been to hell and back, literally.
But when season eight premieres tonight, the brothers will take on a new mission that, in some ways, takes them back to the beginning.
"This year the main quest attaches itself to all kinds of backstory with these boys, in terms of it really goes to the heart of where this show began and sort of fueling their desire to execute this one mission they have this year. So we joke around, but this year we say, 'This time it's personal,'" said executive producer Jeremy Carver in an exclusive interview with Blastr.
Last season, Sam and Dean overcame the Leviathan threat and sent the leader of the nasty critters back to purgatory, where he belonged. Unfortunately, Dean and Castiel got caught in the crossfire and ended up in purgatory too. For a year. When season eight opens, the brothers Winchester will be reunited.
"These two brothers, Sam and Dean, are faced with a situation in this off-season where I don't think either truly thought they'd be seeing the other brother again. So what happens when you fill this void in your life with something else? And perhaps you start believing in something different from your brother, and then suddenly your brother comes crashing back into your life. How do you reconcile the you that you become with the person that you were? I think that lends itself to a good deal of maturation in both of our characters. Basically learning who they are, what they care about most, and certainly how to relate with each other," said Carver.
"We're going to have a lot of fun investigating just what happened when these two boys were apart from each other," he added. "And by that I mean we'll be using a lot of flashbacks to delve into what happened down in purgatory and then what happened with Sam in his year off from Dean above ground, as it were. And we'll see how those flashbacks have a pretty big influence on certainly the boys' relationship in the present and the added complications that it's going to bring to them."
Last year, Sam and Dean were stripped of much that was "near and dear" to them, said Carver. That included the death of Bobby. "So the challenge has been just a little bit of repopulating our world somewhat."
This season Supernatural will revisit some old foes and allies, as well as deal with some new ones.
"You're going to see that we certainly go a bit more into vampire lore than we have even in the past seasons. We start to explore even different aspects of vampires that we've seen on the show before," said Carver. In fact, we'll meet a vampire named Benny, played by Ty Olsson (Falling Skies), who'll be recurring.
Benny's connection with Dean comes from "essentially what happened down in purgatory and what happened when it's essentially every man or monster for himself. Strange alliances are going to form. It all comes down to this alliance that was formed down in purgatory. Or an alliance of sorts, would be a proper way to put it," he said.
"Ty and his character have both proven to be really awesome. Just creating an entirely new kind of relationship for Dean and Sam to be dealing with. It's born tremendous fruit for us so far," said Carver.
"In the first several [episodes], you'll see your run of ancient gods. One episode we're very excited about will be a found-footage episode in the vein of Blair Witch or a Chronicle or something like that," he said.
Carver, who began working on Supernatural in 2007 as a writer and story editor, left the series eventually to create and executive-produce Syfy's Being Human, with his wife Anna Fricke. But now he's back on Supernatural, taking over from the departing Sera Gamble as the executive producer and co-showrunner.
"The chance to come back was a tremendous honor, and it was very exciting. This is a show I've always loved, and it's daunting in that eight seasons in, it becomes more and more difficult to reinvent the show, but that is also part of the fun of coming in every day. And I think the writers this year have absolutely been up to that challenge. So it's been tremendously exciting."
Here's a look:
How do you feel about an eighth season with Sam and Dean Winchester?