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Jensen Ackles On The Catharsis Of The Winchesters Following Supernatural's Ending - Exclusive Interview

The ending of "Supernatural" may have been a gut-punch to fans who followed the series for 15 years, but imagine saying goodbye to a character you played for just as long. Well, Jensen Ackles has no intention of closing the Impala door on his character Dean Winchester. Not only are he and his wife, Danneel Ackles, executive producing the spinoff series "The Winchesters," but Ackles even reprises his role as Dean in a narrating capacity. No rebar will keep the eldest Winchester brother down for long. 

The series chronicles the young lives of Dean and Sam Winchester's parents, played by Meg Donnelly (Mary) and Drake Rodger (John), offering closure to both the fandom and the cast. "The Winchesters" also creates opportunities for beloved fan favorites to return to this world and gives alums, like Richard Speight Jr. (Gabriel), the chance to direct the new series. All in all, the show is just what everyone needs to keep this world alive.

Looper exclusively spoke to Jensen Ackles during the "Winchesters" New York Comic Con press line. Ackles discussed the catharsis of rejoining this world after the ending of "Supernatural," admitted that he'll never say goodbye to Dean Winchester, and detailed the production advice Jared Padalecki gave him. Ackles also teased some tentative plans to direct "The Winchesters" at some point. 

Ackles will never say goodbye to Dean Winchester

You mentioned before that you struggled a bit with Dean's ending on "Supernatural." Was jumping into "The Winchesters" in both an EP and narrating capacity cathartic at all in giving you some closure after Dean's death? And how does Dean's essence help shape the overall narrative of the show?

100%. It has been cathartic, and not just because of Dean's death or "Supernatural" coming to an end, but the way it ended too — not in story but with COVID. We didn't get to have a wrap party, and that's been a heartbreaker for a show to be on as long as "Supernatural" was on, for a cast to be together as long as we [were] together, for a crew to be together as long as we [were] together. A lot of the crew had been there [for] over a decade. It was heartbreaking to end the way that we ended.

So to have this world continue on in some capacity is absolutely cathartic and something that I'm very proud of and something that is helping me cope with "Supernatural" not being around. Also, the fact that I still get to mentally put those boots back on and speak like Dean about a family that he would die for it.

I said it before. People were like, "How hard is it going to be to say goodbye to Dean?" I was like, "I'm not going to say goodbye to him, and I don't think I ever will. Dean's a part of me and will forever be."

Brothers back in arms

Jared [Padalecki] has been producing "Walker" for a while now. Have you gone to him for any advice on producing or any input on the show's direction? And do you have any plans to direct yourself?

Yes, and yes, and yes. Jared and I are still very close. We still talk quite a bit, and I have gone to him and asked him questions, largely [about] the behind-the-scenes stuff and business aspects of it. Not necessarily the creative, but "How are you dealing with studio notes?" and "How are these calls going?" and "What are you doing when you get squeezed on this particular part of the budget?" It's things that we normally never needed to talk about but now we are talking [about]. We're finding ourselves having these conversations. "What are you doing about getting a preemptive for three weeks?" That kind of stuff. 

It has opened up a whole other part of our lives and [the ability] to discuss things — which, when you're with somebody as much as I've been with him, you think you['ve] pretty much covered all the topics. Now we have a whole new set of topics to discuss and talk about and spitball.

As far as directing goes, [I'm] hoping for the pickup of a few more episodes for this season. We're doing 13 right now. I'm not available to direct for this first 13. Plus, we've already booked all our directors. But if we can get picked up for a back five, or a back eight or nine, whatever that looks like, I should be available, and I'm hoping to slot in and direct one.

New episodes of "The Winchesters" air Tuesdays on The CW and stream on The CW's site the next day. 

This interview has been edited for clarity.