By Samantha Highfill
March 23, 2020 at 10:00 AM EDT

Ruby was a good demon before it was cool. Sure, in the end, she betrayed Sam, but before then, she saved the Winchesters more times than we can count. As a character, Ruby (and her nifty demon-killing knife) was introduced in Supernatural's third season, played by Katie Cassidy. But when Cassidy left the show, Genevieve Padalecki — then Genevieve Cortese — took over the role in season 4. By the end of the season, she was dead, but her relationship with the show had just begun. (She'd go on to marry series star Jared Padalecki and return to the show in season 6 as a guest star in "The French Mistake.")

And now that the show is airing its final season, Padalecki is bringing Ruby back from the dead (and she's sharing the screen with her friend Danneel Ackles).

EW caught up with Padalecki to talk about what it was like to return to a character more than 10 years later.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did your return come about?

GENEVIEVE PADALECKI: Danneel and I both from way back, probably around the time we got married, we've always joked about wanting to be a part of it in the end. And so I feel like it's always been out there. The show is a huge thing in our life and in my life, and so initially they approached Jared, who never told me. [Laughs] We were up there for Thanksgiving or something and Kevin Parks, who is the AD on the show, was like, "Hey, Gen. I'm trying to schedule when you're coming up to Vancouver." And I said, "What? What are you talking about?" He's like, "What do you mean? Aren't you confirmed?" I was like, "Dang it. Of course I'll do it." There was a communication breakdown in our family. [Laughs] Jared knew I really wanted to be a part of it. It's part of my family. So for me, it's always been a no brainer.

Did you do anything to get back into character, like watch old episodes? It's been so long since you've played Ruby.

We've had three kids since I've worked and so much life has happened. What I did is I actually read old episodes. I read the old scripts that I had and I built upon that. I don't do well looking at something and watching a performance. It's difficult for me because then I feel like I'm mimicking it. So for me, I just went back and I started rereading the scripts and remembering what happened, and then I really started looking at my old acting notes from Tisch to go, "Shoot, how do I remember my lines?" [Laughs] But it was fun. And then I just would bounce ideas off of Jared and he would help me rehearse and we'd run lines together.

At what point did you realize you were going to get to film with Danneel?

That didn't come around until close to filming and I was super excited. It was just a few weeks before. I think Jared had said something like, "Oh, I think it's with Danneel." [Laughs] It was so exciting because even though we live so close to each other, with our kids' activities and stuff, we don't get to see each other as much as we'd like. So it was really a nice treat to be able to hang out with her and work together, so that was a lot of fun.

In terms of what we can expect from Ruby, do you feel like it's same old Ruby, the character we met all those years ago?

I think so. You'll definitely get the same Ruby, and then you'll just see more colors as the story line unfolds and she's reacting to her situation. But you'll definitely see some of the old Ruby.

We've seen the photos of Ruby and Jo, or Anael, who is an angel, so what's the dynamic between the two of them?

We as people have an idea of what angels and demons are like, there's the good and the bad, and then you see it unfold on Supernatural and you kind of realize, well, there is no good and bad. They're all just figuring out their own schemes and their own paths. So you'll see that play out with Jo and Ruby, and you'll see that they're very similar in a lot of ways and different in a lot of ways. You can see why they would be best friends and why they would hate each other at the same time. I think they're similar in some ways.

Was there a moment for you when you were back in the Ruby wardrobe and makeup where you felt like you were really back?

Yeah, and I also think what was fun about this particular episode for me was that it was also modernizing her a little bit too. And that has nothing to do with the time period at all. It's just more of where we are today in our current 2020. Ten years ago was so different and so it was kind of fun to wear a very similar version but slightly evolved. And it definitely made me feel confident in Ruby and feel like I was channeling her again.

Supernatural airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

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