Supernatural is one of those rare TV shows that fans never have to worry about being cancelled. The producers, stars, network execs, and writers have been very open about keeping the show going as long as they all want and as long as there are new stories to be told. But when Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki said recently in an interview that they were thinking about ending The CW’s longest-running series after 300 episodes, fans were thrown for a loop. Was that a hint that the show might actually have an ending in sight?
“Just 300?” Padalecki responded when asked about that shocking interview on set in Vancouver.
“I think it was more like, ‘That’s the next milestone,'” Ackles explained. “We kind of have our eyes set on getting there. And then we’ll see.”
Padalecki added, “I think we’re just distracting ourselves. Because about a week and a half ago — ”
“We just blew through 250,” Ackles said.
According to both Padalecki and Ackles, reaching the milestone of 250 episodes wasn’t as big of a celebration as he thought it would be.
“I think we wrapped at 8 o’clock, I think it was a Friday and I was like, ‘I’m gonna grab a beer and hang out in Ackles’ trailer and have a beer or something,'” Padalecki said. “So they call and they’re like ‘Okay, you’re wrapped,’ and I’m like, ‘Sweet, I’m going to wash makeup off, I’ll see Ackles in the makeup trailer washing his makeup off and we’ll grab a beer and sit and chat and reminisce.’ So I clean up and I’m like, ‘Hey, Jensen, can’t find you. Are you in your trailer, did you go back on stage? Are you in the camera truck or something?’ He’s like, ‘I’m almost home.’ [Laughs] I was like, ‘Alright, guess it’s really not that special.'”
Ackles, who was laughing while Padalecki told this story, jumped in with, “‘Sorry, we gotta get up tomorrow early.'”
Back in the show’s early days, the stars and writers used to celebrate these smaller milestones all the time. But now that the show is in its 12th season, less so.
“It used to be just one step at a time,” Padalecki said. “Now we’re like just one, one and a half season stretch at a time. 45 more episodes at a time. [Creator] Eric Kripke, way back in the day I think in season three or four, he mentioned like five seasons or something [for the series to end]. And everybody’s like, ‘You’re going to end it after five seasons?’ And he was like, ‘No, just taken out of context. I just think if we can at least get that far …. ‘ I think he legitimately was like, ‘I’m just trying to keep on pushing the ball so they keep on saying yes.'”
So at least for now, Padalecki and Ackles don’t want you to worry about any specific number of episodes on which the show might end.
“There are a few numbers [being thrown around],” Padalecki said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a number. I think we’ll all know it when we know it. It’s going to be hard to swallow.”
And Ackles continued to echo the promise that “as long as there’s still story to tell,” then Supernatural will continue.
“One of the great aspects of the show is that we’re not necessarily bound by reality, so the stories are kind of limitless,” Ackles said. “As long as they’re still staying true to the show and the characters are still being written in a way that we still get inspired to play them, then I don’t know that there is a number necessarily.”
But that didn’t stop their co-star Misha Collins from throwing out his dream number of episodes for the series.
“I think the number should be 666,” Collins said seriously.
While Ackles could only repeat that same number back to him in shock, Padalecki responded, “That’s in like 18 years.”
“Alright, Gunsmoke, you’re on,” Ackles said with a laugh. “Odd coming from an angel … Yeah, we don’t know and the network doesn’t seem to have any — ”
“Designs to kill us,” Padalecki interrupted.
Ackles continued, “We still have amazing support from the studio. We still, oddly enough, get along. I don’t know how much that’s going to last.”
But both Padalecki and Ackles are confident that there will be “plenty of warning” for when the network and writers do decide that Supernatural will end.
“I think about having a moment in summer during Upfronts, I always ask, ‘Okay, when they play the Supernatural reel, how did they present it?’ Did they say, ‘On the 12th season of Supernatural, expect this,’ or did they say, ‘On the 12th and final season of Supernatural?’ And there’s like a sigh of relief when it’s like, ‘No, they just said the 12th season.’ That means they’re not going to cancel it because they’re not going to tell the fans at the end of the season, ‘Oh yeah, by the way, that was it, guys. I hope you all watched.’ There will be a group decision.”
Ackles added, “But when that comes, I don’t know.”
“I don’t even know what life would be like [after that],” Padalecki said.
Both actors have seen a lot of other shows come and go during their time on the network, and they can’t deny the superhero trend that has taken over The CW in recent years.
“We like to say it’s the network of superheroes and actual heroes,” Ackles said with a laugh before high-fiving Padalecki. “Boom, up top!”
Padalecki looked back on the past 13 years and admitted that things have changed in the TV landscape “a lot.”
“13 years ago it was a lot of family dramas like the Gilmore Girls and One Tree Hills, and the Dawson’s Creeks and whatnot, and now — not to be unromantic about it — but as visual effects have gotten so much better and less expensive, it’s like, ‘Oh, we can do stuff that used to be movie budget and it takes five days to shoot a one page scene,'” Padalecki said. “Storytelling is interesting because at the end of the day, at least what draws me to a story is the relationships, and the story of sacrifice. We’ve been able to do it on our network, show characters making sacrifices that humans could not make. You can’t jump off a building to save somebody, you’re not going to go chase somebody around and shoot them with arrows, it’s not realistic. But there’s that part of us as human beings that’s like ‘Man, if I could do that I would.'”
He paused, then continued, “Let’s see what happens when they make that sacrifice. But with Sam and Dean literally dying for people and each other and coming back, it plays with your mind. I think thematically we share a lot of elements [with superhero shows].”
What do you think about a potential ending for Supernatural? Do you like Collins’ suggestion of 666 episodes? Tweet me your thoughts at @SydneyBucksbaum!
Supernatural airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.
Images: The CW