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Robbie Thompson Talks Working On The Winchesters With Jensen Ackles And The Cast - Exclusive Interview

After 15 seasons of having "Supernatural" on the air, it's been quite an adjustment for fans following the show's ending. However, Jensen and Danneel Ackles are filling the void alongside "Supernatural" writer and executive producer Robbie Thompson. Together, the trio created the spinoff "The Winchesters," which chronicles the young love story between Mary (Meg Donnelly) and John Winchester (Drake Rodger). The Ackleses serve as executive producers on the series, while Thompson has taken up the mantle as showrunner, frequent writer, and EP.

After Thompson left "Supernatural" in Season 11, he went on to produce the Netflix series "Cursed" before coming back to his roots with "The Winchesters." And while Jensen Ackles narrates the series as Dean Winchester — and even has a cameo in the pilot — he and Thompson work closely together on the big picture and Dean's lines. With these guys in charge, there's no doubt that the spinoff will honor the original series in heart, cameos, and scary stories.

The CW invited Looper to the "Winchesters" press room at New York Comic Con, where we exclusively spoke to Robbie Thompson about his transition from working on "Supernatural" to working on "The Winchesters" with Jensen Ackles, and he waxed poetic about the new show's stellar cast.

The nuances of Mary Winchester

You produced two Season 12, Mary-heavy episodes of "Supernatural," titled "Alpha and Omega" and "Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox." How did working on these episodes back in 2016 help inform your vision of Meg's iteration of Mary?

Unfortunately, I was actually gone from "Supernatural" at that point. I was gone in Season 11. However, I will tell you that when I was leaving, I was going out the door, and I was like, "Oh man, I'm so bummed out right now," because I knew they were bringing Sam [Smith] back for those episodes and a whole run on that season.

I think both Sam and Amy [Gumenick]'s performance[s] as that character [are] truly iconic. Mary is one of my favorite characters because she's so complicated and rich. And Sam, in particular, was an actor that I wanted to work with. I was bummed to be leaving, but it was the right time for me.

Her performance, though, from the pilot to when it's revealed, and it shows who she is, and then in doing research and watching the episodes that you're talking about, it felt like there was more story to tell. And I could not have a better dance partner than Meg Donnelly.

She is so invested. She's so creative. She has such an interesting perspective on the character that ... I cannot wait. Someone was asking me what I'm most excited about. I can't wait for people to not only meet their versions of these characters but to meet this cast. These are really, really special kids. Really special.

IMDb lied to me. [Laughs]

That's okay. We got through it.

Jensen Ackles knows Dean Winchester best

What was the shift like going from producer and writer of Jensen's character, Dean, to crafting this story alongside him? How has his deep knowledge and passion for his character and this world enhanced the storytelling as a whole?

It's incredible. We worked together on "Supernatural," but Jensen as a creative partner ... I was sitting there, writing the pilot, and I was like, "What would Dean say?" And I was like, "I guess I can just text Dean." And I would text him.

All the voiceover, I'll take a pass at, the writers will take a pass at, and then he and I will talk it through, and then we'll shift it. He just does it. Then he takes one last pass in the recording studio. That's the part that I probably spend the most time on, even though it's a short thing. We try to keep it as a light touch.

He's an amazing partner. What am I going to say to him? "Oh, Dean wouldn't say that"? He knows Dean better than anybody. To have a partner like that is incredible, just incredible.

Can you think of anything specific that he tweaked or said no to?

It was never no. Jensen's a "yes, and" creative person. There's always something in the language. He would do this when we worked together on the show. He crunched some things down, or maybe he'd change the wording around.

As soon as he starts doing the gravel voice, it's crazy. He sent me a temp recording of one of the first drafts of the thing, and he had made some changes as he was recording. He [was] recording it on his iPhone in Mexico, and he sent it to me, and I got goosebumps. Because when you talk to him on the phone, he's Jensen, and then suddenly he's in my earbuds as Dean, and you're like, "Oh my god." What he does is intangible, but it's really incredible. It's really incredible.

A cast to die on the ceiling for

What has been the most rewarding or the most challenging aspect of taking [on] this series? What would you say to the fans who are hesitant about diving into this particular storyline?

I would tell the fans I was as hesitant as they were when I got offered this, without question, because it was scary. But that's also what was exciting. The thing that I've had the most joy with is the thing that I would encourage fans to open their hearts to: this cast.

This cast is incredible: Meg [Donnelly], Drake [Rodger], Jojo [Fleites], Nida [Khurshid], Bianca [Kajlich], Demetria [McKinney]. We have an incredible, incredible group of performers who have all been amazing. We meet once a week. We try to Zoom, talk to one another, talk about where [each] character is going and everything. They couldn't be better partners. I'm really excited for people to meet their versions of these characters, but also to meet them as well.

New episodes of "The Winchesters" air Tuesdays on The CW with episodes streaming on the website the next day.

This interview has been edited for clarity.