Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox
Credit: Diyah Pera/The CW
Devil's Bargain

When you enter the hunting lifestyle, there’s really only one way it ends, and it’s not great. At least, that’s how Dean views his future. But what about Sam? In Supernatural‘s early seasons, Sam pondered getting out of the game, settling down, and starting a family. Jump forward a few years and both brothers have tried that, only to be pulled right back into the Impala.

And yet, the “what comes next” question is one Sam and Dean are still debating, even in season 12. “It’s an ongoing theme,” showrunner Andrew Dabb tells EW. “You see that divide between Sam and Dean dating certainly back to season 3 and probably even before that. The question of, ‘What is Sam and Dean’s future?’ For a long time, their futures were based on each other. Would Sam stay a hunter, would he go back out of the life? Would Dean take a step back and retire or leave hunting? That was a question of, ‘Is this the life you want?’ It’s been something they’ve gone back and forth on. We’re now living in a reality where this is their life, this is what they’re going to do. I don’t think either one of them realistically looks at a world where they step away from this. That time has passed to a large degree.”

However, that’s not to say that the question has gone away. Rather, it’s evolved. “The question then becomes, ‘Okay if this is our life, how is it going to work out? How are we going to make this the best life we can?’ For Dean, the best life he can imagine is one where he fights until he dies. You never stop trying to make the world a better place,” Dabb says. “I think Sam agrees with that and Sam doesn’t want to stop making the world a better place, [but] Sam hopes they can get to the point where the world is such a good place that maybe they can take a step back from hunting, maybe they can either hand off the reins or be able to have a little bit more time [to] themselves.”

And believe it or not, this matter also applies to Castiel, whose future as an angel might seem more predictable — but then again, nothing’s ever really predictable in the Supernatural world. “For a long time, Cas has been in a little bit of a liminal place,” Dabb says. “He’s not part of heaven’s bureaucracy and hasn’t been for quite a while, that has been made very clear to him and will be made very clear in an episode this season how heaven views him. That’s caused a lot of problems for Cas, because he’s really felt like a man without a country for a while. Yes, Sam and Dean are his family and he’s extremely bonded with them, but the connection Sam and Dean have is not a connection that Cas can have with either of them because they’re brothers, they grew up together.”

At the end of the day, Dabb says the idea of everyone looking for their place and furthermore, how to make it their own once they find it, is central to this season. As he puts it, “That has become a real focal point for us in this season: Everybody looking for their place, looking for the way to do what they think is best in a world where it’s far, far too easy to do your worst.”

Supernatural returns Thursday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

Episode Recaps

Devil's Bargain

Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki star as the Winchester brothers, hellbent on battling the paranormal forces of evil.

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