With the fifteenth and final season of 'Supernatural' currently airing on Neon, Misha Collins (who plays Castiel in the show) shares some of his thoughts...
Q: How would you like Castiel’s story to end?
MISHA: I would like Castiel’s story to end with finality. In 'Supernatural', whenever a guest star comes on the show and dies – which is usually whenever a guest star comes on the show – there is a thing that we all say, which is: “Don’t worry, no one is ever really dead on 'Supernatural'.” And that has proven true, because even when we think a character is dead, dusted and gone – salted and burned – we find ways to resurrect them. It’s always, “Oh, actually you can meet that actor back up in heaven or in a parallel universe.” In fact, it happened to me. For that reason, I would like to see both Castiel and the show end with a degree of finality that feels like it’s not going to be unraveled, or couldn’t easily be unraveled by some 'Supernatural' trick.
Q: How do you want the fans to feel when the credits roll for the final time?
MISHA: I want people to feel, ‘Oh, yeah. I get it. This really is the end.’ I want the show to feel like it’s over when we’re done, rather than the prospect of maybe another iteration of 'Supernatural' or the story continuing without the viewers watching it. Likewise, with Castiel, I want his ending to feel final. And ideally heroic. I want it to feel like he’s made a big sacrifice and is gone because of that.
Q: With the revelation at the end of season 14 that God [aka Chuck Shurley, played by Rob Benedict] isn’t necessarily an honest and noble being, the whole notion of free will has been spun on its head. How would you describe Castiel’s slightly different take on the free will versus fate debate?
MISHA: I think that the prospect of understanding that we didn’t have free will up until this point is a real blow. If you think that you’ve been going through your whole life making decisions and you find out that you’ve actually been a puppet on a string the entire time, that makes you feel really worthless. But it also gives us an opportunity to take the bull by the horns and maybe break out of that cycle. I think that’s what Castiel is trying to do.
Q: Fans are aware that some of the monsters and demons that were personal to the brothers will return in season 15. Will any of these creatures be a little bit more specific to Castiel’s story?
MISHA: Yes. But that’s all I can say about it.
Q: The lead characters in 'Supernatural' often show sides of their masculinity that’s emotional and raw, which is a rarity in television. Can you talk about showcasing that in the show?
MISHA: 'Supernatural' is an interesting show, especially at this moment in time. By the way, I don’t think this show would’ve gotten on the air today, because this is a show with only men as series regulars and that’s anathema to our thinking about how representation should be conducted in television right now – and rightly so. But it is an interesting opportunity for us to explore masculinity from a different perspective than it is looked at in television. I think it’s a really fascinating laboratory to be able to play around with. And it might not happen again. I mean, I really don’t know when there’s going to be a major television show that has all these men as the main series regulars.
Q: Why does that work so well in 'Supernatural'?
MISHA: I think this show discovered that fact about itself early on. In season three, we added two female series regulars to the show. And those characters, while they were portrayed by excellent actresses who have gone on to great careers, didn’t feel like they fit in. It was like, “This isn’t actually what the show is really about.” 'Supernatural' is about brotherhood, in both the literal and the broader sense of the term. And that’s why my character worked and that’s why Mark Sheppard’s character [Crowley] worked. That’s also why Alex’s character [Jack] worked. There are these characters that come in that are also part of this fraternity and we get to explore brotherhood.
Q: That’s very different to a lot of other shows…
MISHA: Typically, in a show like this, I think you would expect to have a lot of romantic, foil female characters. You’d expect to see those relationships between men and women. In the beginning, I think the show was trying to find its footing; it was trying to figure out, “How do we integrate that aspect into our show, because that’s a part of a television show that we need to have.” But in the end, I think we ended up just doing a show that’s really about fraternity and brotherhood – and it was really interesting. I love the fact that they allowed the show to break the mold and just do that instead of trying to conform to how television normally deals with gender exploration.
Q: Is that why the show lasted 15 seasons?
MISHA: Yeah. I mean, that’s part of it. There are a million factors that go into the longevity of 'Supernatural', but the fact that we were exploring themes that aren’t explored elsewhere probably helped.
Q: You started as a guest star on 'Supernatural' but soon became an integral part of the show. How does it feel to see your journey come to an end?
MISHA: It’s interesting. I recently found a goal card; one of these three-by-five note cards that I write around New Year. They are really nerdy. It’s like, “Here are my goals for the year!” And the year before I got on 'Supernatural', I had written this goal of, “I’m going to be a regular on a show that is creatively fulfilling, and I will become lifelong friends with my castmates.” But it came true. I was like, “Oh, my God. I can't believe that I wrote that, and I can't believe that this has come to pass.” I consider my cast-mates lifelong friends. I could never have dreamed that along with that would come this incredible fandom and this iconic legacy of a show. It feels like a great honor to have been a part of it.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
MISHA: I don’t know right now. I wrote a cookbook with my wife, 'The Adventurous Eaters Club'. And I'm hoping to develop six-pack abs. No, I will say one thing about the future. In the future, I hope that this fandom continues to function as a family. I hope it continues to do that after the show is over. I hope that the fans of 'Supernatural' continue to be a force for good and companionship in the world. The fans have been so supportive of one another and so supportive of us, and I think it’s a family that’s not going to go away just because the show goes off the air. That’s my hope.
Seasons 9 to 15 are available to watch on Neon - click here for more information.