Last Thursday’s new episode of Supernatural left fans stuck with a whole lot of questions. Are all demons really former humans? Can Ruby be trusted? Who is this new rival to Sam “rising in the West”? Was Sam changed by coming back to life? To answer these questions and more, we went directly to the source: Supernatural creator and mastermind Eric Kripke.
BuddyTV spoke to Kripke yesterday to get to the bottom of all these questions. In addition, he talked about the three remaining episodes and how and when Supernatural might return after it runs out of new episodes on February 21. Aside from being a brilliant showrunner, Kripke is also quite generous, giving credit where credit is due to his writing staff for their great contributions. Among the revelations in the interview is that the notion that demons are humans didn’t even initially come from Kripke.
Continue reading for the full transcript of the interview as well as the mp3 audio file.
Hi, this is John from BuddyTV, and I’m talking to Eric Kripke, the creator of Supernatural. Hi Eric.
Lots of questions stemming from this most recent episode. You kind of upended or changed a lot of what people thought about the mythology of this series. What was behind the decision to do this whole demons are humans thing?
Well, we thought it sort of opened up the mythology in an interesting and complicated way. The idea that demons are all corrupted human spirits was something really attractive to us, because we always sort of believe among the writing staff that the worst evil is the evil inside all of us. This seemed like an interesting way to do that, and would allow us to have demon characters have interesting dimensions. Like Ruby, the fact that Ruby was once human. So for that reason, because it makes it not just black and white, but makes it sort of nicely complicated that such dark evil can exist in the human heart under the right conditions. Then also for the very personal character reason, which is saying that right in front of Dean, it’s what he’s going to become. He’s going to go to Hell, and over the centuries Hell is going to burn away his humanity and he’s going to become this thing he hates most. That was sort of too tasty an idea to pass up. To give credit where absolutely credit is due, it is our esteemed writer Ben Edlund who in the writers’ room pitched this idea when we were talking about it way back when, he said, “Well what if all demons were once human?” That was an idea we latched on to immediately, and it just makes you look at it in a new way.
With that final scene between Dean and Ruby, if we can trust her on this, was she telling the whole truth? Can you tell us if she was? She can’t help Dean at all, so there’s no way to help him escape this clause?
Tune in and find out. Ruby always keeps her. . .we always want to present the idea that Ruby keeps her cards pretty close to her vest. You never know quite what she’s thinking. Like a demon, you never know when they’re telling the truth and when they aren’t. She believes that there’s nothing she can tell Dean that will help him save himself. That much is true.
One of the other new twists that this last episode added is the idea of a new leader challenging Sam, rising in the West. Will we see more of that in these last 3 episodes still to come?
We will actually. The demon, that we’ve been calling the up-and-comer that’s kind of itching to take the place of yellow eyes from last season, we will meet that demon before the 4 episodes are up. We meet them in the episode called “Jus In Bello,” which we’re presenting as kind of our makeshift climax.
I don’t know how much you can say, but is this a new character? Is it somehow someone we’ve met before on the show?
No, it’s not Meg, and it’s not a character we’ve met before.
One of the other things a lot of fans at BuddyTV are wondering is that in the beginning of this season, a lot of people thought that somehow Sam had changed and he was sort of different. But in this last episode, it was revealed that Sam is changing himself to be more like Dean to acclimate himself to living without him. Is that what happened, or is there still the possibility that Sam isn’t the same Sam as before?
We think it’s kind of like a multifaceted issue, and it’s very possible that Sam isn’t the same Sam, and we’re really not ready to reveal that yet. In our minds, among the writers, if he was starting to change, and change into something different, a very real human reaction to that is to be defensive about it and to try to justify why you’re feeling different and why you’re suddenly having different attitudes toward things. Everyone is the hero of their own story, and whenever anyone has an opinion, or a changing opinion, they always come up with justifications for why they do what they do. That’s sort of the point we were trying to make in this episode. Sam is doing worse and worse things, but he feels righteous and justified in how and why he’s doing them, which is of course the most dangerous attitude to take. So for us, Sam is not out of the woods. He just doesn’t seem to realize whether or not it’s something supernatural, or if something really is happening to him or if he really is different, he doesn’t seem to be aware of it. He seems to be couching it in this defense of how he needs to be acting, which again we think makes him more dangerous. We think the worst path to Hell is the one that’s sort of paved in righteousness and good intentions.
In the last day or two there’s been all these rumors that the WGA is very close to a resolution to the writers’ strike, and that in the next week there could be a deal and shows could come back. Do you have any information on that, and if there is a deal soon would Supernatural possibly come back earlier than next fall?
I’ve only heard the same rumors that everyone else has heard. I’m very hopeful that there will be a deal announced sooner rather than later. I’m certainly ready for the strike to be over and I’m ready to get back to work. I hope it does happen, I’m optimistic that it will. I can’t say for sure of course, but I’m optimistic. In terms of what that means for Supernatural, I just don’t know yet. Believe me, I ask the question at least twice a week, and I think the network up to this point has not presented a firm answer. Every possible scenario has been discussed, from coming back for a few more episodes this season, to shooting and airing episodes over the summer, to not having any more episodes this season but having an extended season 4. All of those options and more have been discussed, but we just don’t know which way it’ll shake out just yet.
For the rest of this season at least, we know for the next two episodes there’s the dream episode and the Groundhog Day episode. Are we going to continue very dark, or how light is the Groundhog Day going to be?
You know, we bounce around in a zone pretty nicely. I think the dream episode is pretty emotional. We learn a lot about Bobby’s back story, Dean has a pretty intense character revelation, and that one’s pretty emotional. Groundhog Day is going to be quite funny. We have moments where it takes a darker, more emotional turn, because you really see what life would be like for Sam without Dean, and it’s not pretty. But there’s also a lot of humor in that episode too, because it just gets so absurd. Once you start killing Dean dozens and dozens of times it starts to become pretty funny in a dark sort of way. “Mystery Spot” [the Groundhog Day episode] had a pretty great tone, pretty similar to the Christmas episode. It’s the same writer. There’s a new writer this year for us who has been kicking ass. He really nails this tone of humor, emotion, and scares, really everything Supernatural is supposed to be, this writer Jeremy Carver. Then “Jus In Bello,” the final episode, is really slam-bang action more than anything. It’s directed by Phil Sgriccia, and it’s very similar in tone to an episode he directed last year, which was our bank robbery episode. Just kind of big and epic and cinematic and action packed. We end on sort of a big action movie note.
Something to leave the fans, if it’s the last one for awhile, something to leave the fans excited and pumped for whenever it’s going to come back.
Yeah, exactly. It wasn’t actually originally going to be our last episode. It was going to be second to last, but it was just so big and really on point with our mythology that we felt we had to end it with a bang, so we chose to end it with that episode.
If it was originally intended to be the second to last episode, were you able to work in how you wanted to end it? Or does it end sort of on a penultimate cliffhanger?
No, it kind of ends on a cliffhanger. We didn’t have time to change to script, we just had time to finish the script just to get 12 episodes done. “Jus In Bello” and “Mystery Spot” were originally supposed to air, “Jus In Bello” was supposed to be episode 11 and “Mystery Spot” would have been episode 12, then we would have moved on to episode 13, 14, 15 and so on. But with only 12 episodes to air we flip-flopped the order of “Mystery Spot” and “Jus In Bello” to make “Jus In Bello” to air as episode 12 as our sort of jury rigged climax. Again, we meet the main demon they’re up against, so there’s kind of a mythology cliffhang in there as well, so we figured that would be the most satisfying for the fans, and as you say get them pumped up for the return.
Definitely, I think all the fans are really looking forward to these final episodes, and they just want it to come back as soon as possible with as many more episodes as possible.
I couldn’t agree more. I’m dying, and all the other writers are just dying to do more. The one silver lining is that everyone’s slept and rested, read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies, and from what I’m talking everyone’s really just spilling over with enthusiasm and ideas that they’re excited to pitch when they get back to work.
-Interview conducted by John Kubicek
(Image courtesy of the CW)