Adam is back. Those are three words Supernatural fans weren’t sure they’d ever get to hear after the long-lost third Winchester brother was trapped in the cage in the season 5 finale. (When Dean refused, Adam became Michael’s vessel for the brother-on-brother showdown with Sam/Lucifer.)
But if there’s one thing Supernatural hasn’t been shying away from in its 15th and final season, it’s familiar faces. And in the fall finale, the show is bringing back not only Adam but also Michael, both of whom will be played by Jake Abel. EW chats with Abel about his return below.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did this come about? Had your return been in the works for a while?
JAKE ABEL: It’s one of those thing where, over the past couple years I’d done a couple conventions and I would talk to Jared [Padalecki] and Jensen [Ackles] and Misha [Collins], and they would all be like, “We want Adam to come back!” And I was like, “Me too!” And I had heard in the past that some writers had pitched episodes to bring Adam back and they ultimately didn’t go through, and what that told me was that if they were going to go do it, they wanted to do it right, and I held that belief too. It was such a fun event to bring this third brother in all those years ago; if we’re going to bring him back, make it spectacular and do something crazy. In that way, I think it’s fitting that they did “Jump the Shark” early on in the series and then they’re jumping the shark again in a way at the end. I’m okay with those bookends. I think that’s kind of cool.
After all that build-up, was Adam’s return what you expected? Was it spectacular?
I don’t think it’s over. I think it’s leading to something spectacular, or at least I hope so. When I was on set with Jared and Jensen and they’d ask me, “Do you have any more episodes?” I was like, “I don’t know, I’m just here right now enjoying this.” They both said, “I’d be surprised if you didn’t have more because what you’re doing in this episode is setting up everything.” What Adam and Michael are doing in this episode is setting up all the stuff that’s about to happen. So that’s my hope. There’s been some talk about what might happen in the future, so I think it could be going somewhere and I do hope it is explosive. But for now it definitely feels like a setup.
Co-showrunner Andrew Dabb has mentioned Michael’s return, and we saw two of you in the trailer. So you are playing both characters?
That was the hope that Richard Speight, who directed the episode, and I discussed early on when the script came through, was yeah, I play both, and our hope was to create two distinct characters. There are things that happen that I don’t want to give away that there was an importance for me to create two different characters and be able to transition between them fluently, which was an awesome challenge. There’s some stuff in the scene that surprised Sam and Dean, so I have a feeling it will surprise audiences as well.
How has his time in hell changed Adam?
I had the great experience of reading the script when it was ready and experiencing it in real time, and I definitely want the fans to experience that. That’s been the big question. When I’m at conventions, people always come up and ask, “What would Adam be like if he got out?” That’s what everybody wants to know! I speculated, which is the fun part, so I want people to keep speculating and be surprised. I think what’s going to be interesting as well is the relationship between Adam and Michael, having all that time together, what their bond is like and how they interact and help each other.
That’s true, Adam has spent more time with Michael than he has with either of his brothers.
Than anybody, yeah! So it sets up some surprises, and expectations might be upset in a good way. Everyone has their own idea of where Adam’s going to be mentally, and I want everybody to continue to hold onto that up until the moment that he comes on screen and you start to see it.
Did you go back and watch old episodes to refresh your memory on who this guy was?
I kept thinking, “Should I go back and watch the old episodes?” I ultimately didn’t because I relied on everybody else as far as what happened up until now. So if I had scenes with a character that I didn’t know, I’d just be like, “Okay what’s happened here? What do I know? What don’t I know?” Luckily I didn’t do any crazy accent or anything, so that helps. [Laughs] It’s a funny thing when you put on the outfit. You can see in the trailer it’s the exact same thing I wore 10 years ago, and there’s something funny about putting on the outfit of your character’s past that brings it rushing back to you. There’s this weird thing where, I was taking pictures with Jared and Jensen, and I felt like I was 17 again. I was like, “Why do you guys make me feel like a kid?” I feel like their actual little brother sometimes, and it’s this strange phenomenon that I’m kind of not okay with because I look like a child, but because I’m not supposed to age in the cage it was really fitting, so sometimes you get lucky.
What was the experience of returning to set like? Did it feel like the same place?
One hundred percent the same. They’re just as rowdy, and what’s really special is that this is a show that’s pretty much had the exact same crew for 15 years. The people that are there now were there when I did the show all those years ago, and that speaks a lot to the family they’ve created there. That’s a big reason I think why they’re in 15 seasons, because everyone likes going to work with each other, and that’s not an easy feat to accomplish. So going back there was like being back with people that I knew. When you’re a person that comes onto a set where people know each other, that have inside jokes and are friends, it’s hard, it can be difficult to be the new guy who has to find his place. I didn’t feel that way on this set. It felt like I was coming back to a place I had already been and already had friends and bonds established. It was two weeks of play and having fun with old friends.
Supernatural airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.
- Supernatural series finale to air in May following a move to Mondays
- Supernatural boss says Adam isn’t the only one escaping the cage
- How Supernatural director Jensen Ackles got [SPOILER] to return
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