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The Winchesters' Nida Khurshid Talks The Show's Diversity And Returning Supernatural Characters - Exclusive Interview

Mary and John Winchester's love story almost became a piece of folklore in itself on the CW series "Supernatural." As the seasons went by, fans discovered more plot twists regarding Dean and Sam Winchester's parents — and just how much the angels and demons alike meddled with their origin story. Narrated by Dean Winchester's Jensen Ackles, "The Winchesters" sets the record straight and offers fans the unabridged story.

Yet instead of simply focusing on John and Mary like the original series does with Sam and Dean, "The Winchesters" takes a more Scooby-gang approach to the supernatural, like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" did back in the late '90s. Among the series' regular cast is Nida Khurshid, who plays Latika Desai — a member of Mary Winchester's found family and a bookworm who could give even Sam Winchester a run for his money. Khurshid is no stranger to TV, having appeared on shows like "Adversity," "Station 19," "For the People," and "Danger Force."

Looper spoke to Khurshid during an exclusive interview, where she discussed the feminism and representation on "The Winchesters," working with Jensen and Danneel Ackles, the "Hair" musical montage, and the various pranking shenanigans on the show. She also teased the return of OG "Supernatural" characters Henry Winchester (Gil McKinney) and Samuel Campbell (Tom Welling).

The badass women of The Winchesters

I love how many badass women "The Winchesters" is showcasing on screen. What have been the highlights of taking on such a cool, feminist role and acting alongside actors like Meg Donnelly and Demetria McKinney? Do you have any fun stories with them from set?

It's been a dream come true, truly, to play this character with these women. Meg — I feel like it's a nonstop laughing fest when we're together. Demetria — she's been such a guiding light for me, not only me as Nida but also as Latika and [her dynamic with] Ada. ... Bianca [Kajilich]'s phenomenal [as John's mom, Millie]. I cannot say enough about the women on the show. They are all so different, so unique, so dynamic, [and] so strong. I've learned so much about myself through them on set. I feel like we all have said this; we're like, "How did we get this lucky to get along this well and to truly enjoy every day?" [It] doesn't feel like work.

The "Supernatural" set was infamous for pranking shenanigans. Has any of that extended to the "Winchesters" set? And which cast or creative would you personally most like to prank?

Yes, there has been quite a bit of pranking. I'm not going to lie; I definitely have done some myself. I feel like the easiest target to prank is ... It's a bit of them all. They're all really easy to prank. But I feel like Demetria [is easiest to prank]. I really, really love playing a prank on her or joking with her. She always falls for it, and she has the best reactions. She's such a lighthearted human being. She's amazing.

Can you think of any specifics that have happened on the set?

There may or may not have been a fake piece of poo floating around on set, going from cast chair to cast chair. I might have a video of that soon.

Working with Jensen and Danneel Ackles

How much have you gotten to work with both of the Ackles, and what has that experience been like, working with such integral actors from the original series? What do you think their love and knowledge of this world have brought to the show?

Their love and knowledge — both Danneel and Jensen, they've brought so much calm to all of our minds. Anytime we feel daunted in any way by this journey, they're right there to calm us down and be like, "No, you're here. You did this — right place, right time. You are these characters." They've reassured us and grounded us and helped us in more ways than one. I feel so lucky to have them there whenever we need them and very, very, very grateful for both of them.

I was getting some major Rowena vibes with that hooded witch-like figure at the end of the 2nd episode. Am I onto something here, or was that wishful thinking?

The hooded witch at the end of the 2nd episode — I can't say anything except we're going to find out more and more every episode. It's not just going to be something that we're going to forget about. We're going to uncover bits and pieces [in] every single episode, so you'll be able to answer your own questions too.

The return of Samuel Campbell and Henry Winchester

Gil McKinney was recently announced to return to the series. Based on "Supernatural" lore, he gets sent to the future to save his grandchildren when he disappears. Can you tease anything about his and Samuel Campbell's arcs on the show? And what has it been like working with Gil and Tom Welling, if you've had the chance?

I don't know if I can say if I've worked with either of them yet, but we know they will be on the show. I'm super excited to work with both of them. As we know, in the pilot and Episode 2, Latika has been taken in by the Campbell family. So as far as Samuel goes, she has a special relationship with him, and I'm excited to get to work with Tom and have that moment with him. I think it's going to be such a beautiful moment to grow as an actor.

With all of us, [with] the people we get to work with, we're like, "Wow, this is so creatively freeing, and we learn so much from each other and our incoming guest stars." So [I'm] very excited [about] both Gil and Tom. I cannot confirm or deny that they have been on set yet.

If you have watched the original series, are there any "Supernatural" characters or actors that you want to see on the show or villains that you'd like to face off against?

I would love to have a moment with both Sam and Dean in the room with all of us at the same time. I don't know how that would be possible, but that would be really, really epic. Selfishly, I'm like, "I totally want that." As far as monsters go, bring on any and all the vampires. That is my personal favorite [of] any monster in existence. They're fascinating, and I would love to do that.

The age of Aquarius

You filmed in New Orleans, which has a rich, palpable history that you can feel in the air. How did this location enrich the spooky elements of the show? Did you ever feel anything paranormal in any of the old cemeteries or old buildings?

New Orleans has been such an epic character in our show in itself. We do film in a lot of old buildings and cemeteries, and there is a lot of energy that you can feel around at all times. But as much as I love having that energy around, I'm also very respectful of that. I wouldn't want to bring unwanted energy for no reason. Anytime I go into a space, I'll bring my sage or palo santo and respectfully cleanse the air and the energy and be like, "I respect everything that came before me. I just don't want to interact with any of it. Thank you very much. Let's break a leg."

Can we talk about that epic "Hair" montage from the 2nd episode? How did that come about, and given that Jojo [Fleites] was in a production of "Hair," did they give you any pointers?

Jojo does not need any pointers when it comes to fashion and singing and hair. ... No, Jojo does not need pointers. They're so good at all of that realm, and Jojo's hair is iconic. So I'm going to potentially steal it and make it my way one day. I told them that.

Did [Jojo] give you any pointers on performing the song [from "Hair," "Aquarius"] or anything like that?

No, not for me. Jojo already knew the song, and we chimed in with however we thought our characters would chime in. Yeah, no pointers. Jojo just slayed it.

There are quite a few talented singers in the cast. Is that something that you'd like to see more of in the show or maybe even a musical episode like they did on "Supernatural" down the line?

I would love that. I think all of us are very much on board with that idea, and I think it might be in the works at some point. If we are gifted with multiple seasons to come, this is definitely going to be something that is on all our minds to do, not only with singing, but there [are] a lot of talented dancers amongst our cast as well. To do a whole musical episode, like a dark musical, that would be so up every one of our alleys.

Back to the '70s

Setting the show in the '70s gives you the opportunity to dive into decade-relevant lore and themes, as seen in Episode 2. What have been the most exciting aspects of setting the show in the '70s? Are there any fashion trends, historical events, or pop culture moments from the decade that you'd love to see the show tackle?

The fashion in itself has been so much fun. All of our characters have found really beautiful ways to [be] set in the '70s but still [be] set apart from each other. Throughout the season, you're going to see Carlos' '70s style versus Latika['s] versus Mary's versus John's, as well as some of the fun undercover moments we're going to have. The fashion in those undercover moments [is] lighthearted. It's silly, it's fun, [and] it's very theme appropriate.

As far as other things about the '70s, it's such an interesting time, and I feel like it's very parallel to where we're at right now in society. It's been interesting to find our footing, especially with Latika. She is someone who has moved around a bunch in her life, and now she's in America in 1972 in the South. What does that look like for her? What does that look like for Carlos, Mary, and John? Especially, what does it look like for us to be [women] in the '70s? Those are going to be things that we're all very interested in telling throughout the course of the season.

It seems like Latika is vibing a little bit with Carlos and John. Do you hope she goes forward [romantically] with either character, or do you want things to stay platonic? What have been some of your favorite moments acting alongside them?

They're both such lovely human beings, and I'm very close with both of them. I would love to explore all dynamics. I'm very open. As human beings, you can have more than one love in your life. You can explore multiple things, and that's okay. I think we are going to see, perhaps, different relationships brewing. [For] now, with Carlos and Latika, the most we're going to see is a sibling-type dynamic. But this is Robbie [Thompson, creator and writer], so Robbie can throw anything our way. I say that, and I know I have immediately set myself up. Jojo and [I are] constantly giggling at each other.

Embracing a diverse cast

The fans have been really excited to see so much representation on screen, from queer representation to different races [and] women — all of that good stuff. What have been the highlights for you with those [components], and what can fans expect down the line? You touched on this a little bit.

It's been so special because I remember, growing up, all I wanted was to be able to see myself in some capacity on television and in movies. I think our show is doing a really beautiful job of just that. Not only do we have different types of people, but they're also just normal people existing in society. 

Back in the day, there were a lot of stereotypes in film and television, but now I can be a Pakistani-Indian girl who's a hunter, no questions asked. Jojo can play a beautiful bisexual man as a non-binary human being, no questions asked. And both Meg and I can be strong [women] and get to be that mirror for whoever relates to us. The most special thing is that we can be a mirror for people watching. That's really important for all of us.

Is there anything that you wanted to add about your character, the show, or where you want to see her go in the future?

It's going to be really exciting for the fans to see the different dynamics between all of our characters — how they are more alike than they are different. "Supernatural" did a phenomenal job of showing so much love between two brothers, and I hope that we can continue to show and share that love between this group of friends and hunters.

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

This interview has been edited for clarity.