In Season 4, “Supernatural” fans got an in-depth look at Jimmy Novak, the man whose body now houses Castiel (Misha Collins), but we have very little insight into Castiel himself when it comes to backstory. During the current sixth season, much of Castiel’s story has played out off-screen as he soldiers on in Heaven’s brutal civil war.
In Episode 20, however, Castiel gets his moment. Showrunner Sera Gamble describes it as a serious episode with a “significant impact.” She tells Zap2it, “It’s an episode that’s largely from Castiel’s point of view. We get pretty deep into what he’s feeling, and we illuminate his character quite a bit.”
“It was terrible!” Collins jokes. “I had to work every day! That’s not what I signed up for! It’s actually kind of tough being the heaviest character in an episode.” He promises that we’ll find out just what Castiel has been up to while he hasn’t been saving the Winchesters from their various pickles.
“It’s a big expositional episode about the whole war in heaven and Cas’s relationship with that and Cas’s whole inner story and the dilemmas that he’s faced with,” Collins says. Castiel will find himself confiding in someone — we’re not sure who, but our money’s on Dean, given their profound bond.
The episode will incorporate not only news of Castiel’s current embattled situation, but we’ll learn a lot about his back story — and even, perhaps, about his childhood, inasmuch as an angel can have a childhood.
Titled “The Man Who Would Be King,” the Castiel-centric episode will see the return of a familiar face from the hunters’ past. It’s both written and directed by executive producer Ben Edlund, who “Supernatural” fans tend to, well, worship, for lack of a better word.
Collins certainly appreciated having a friend of the show on set during his most trying episode yet. “You have a director who knows the whole arc of the character and who can really talk to you about what’s going on with your character,” he says. “A lot of times directors are more like guest stars. There are several directors we have who really know the story well, but a lot are not as versed.”
As a longtime part of the “Supernatural” family, Edlund was the subject of some affectionate ribbing during the PaleyFest panel discussion. As it was his first time directing, he paid excruciating attention to detail — perhaps to a fault, as Jared Padalecki joked.
“It was nice to have the passion,” Padalecki says. “I’ll say that, and then I’ll make fun of him.” He makes teases Edlund good-naturedly. “A lot of directors will come in – not with a lack of love – but they’re like, ‘Okay everybody, you go there, you go there, I need you to hit this mark.’ And that’s what I do. I hit that mark if you need me to hit it, in five minutes or five seconds. And [Edlund], god love him, would be like ‘Jared, I want you to walk to this mark, and while you’re walking you should think about how tough it’s been. And maybe you hesitate for a second, because it’s really hard, and you love your brother,’ and I was like… ‘You can just tell me to go somewhere.'”
At one point during the discussion, panel moderator Mo Ryan asked our stars if they had any regrets about the decisions they’d made on the show.
“I’ve got one,” Collins says. “In the first episode that Castiel shows up, he’s trying to communicate with dean, and in so doing, his angelic voice is exploding television sets and breaking windows. So I, consummate guest star that I am, I think, I’m going to do this really deep, growly voice. A kick-ass, window breaking voice.” He pauses. “I may be running into medical problems. It has been brutal on my throat, so, yeah. Regret.”
The voice Collins used in their first scene together was rather unsettling for Jensen Ackles. Watch our (admittedly shoddy) video of the panel below to see Padalecki and Ackles discuss their initial impressions of Collins, who didn’t quite fit in on set when he first arrived in Vancouver.
Now that he’s found his place in the “Supernatural” fandom, though, Collins intends to use his power for good… most of the time. He’s inviting 40 of his fans (or, as they like to be called, minions) to join him and fellow “Supernatural” star Matt Cohen (he plays young John Winchester) on a week-long trip to Haiti to build a community center for victims of the horrific earthquake.
“Yes, I’m crazy,” he laughs, “and I’m also excited. I think it’ll be an exciting trip. Fans come to fan conventions and that sort of thing, so I love the idea of trying to utilize some of that energy for something else.”
Collins is working on booking a film for the summer, but in the meantime, he’s got plenty on his plate to finish up Castiel’s Season 6 journey. “You will meet an angel named Rachel who is Castiel’s trusted lieutenant,” Gamble says. “We’re sort of opening up that story a little bit. We’ll see more of Raphael and more of the civil war. What’s going on with Castiel, and what he’s thinking when he gives [the Winchesters] that look that says, ‘I really need a nap and I don’t have time to take one.'”