With Thursday night's episode "Despair" marking the first of the final three episodes of The CW's Supernatural, with a two-hour finale event set for Thursday, November 19 (more on that in a few minutes). So while Team Winchester – Sam (Jared Padalecki), Dean (Jensen Ackles), Jack (Alexander Calvert), and Castiel (Misha Collins)- looks for a way to end Chuck aka God's (Rob Benedict) plan to wipe out all of existence (without having to sacrifice Jack in the process), series creator Eric Kripke reflects back on his 2003 pitch for what he called a "'Kolchak: The Night Stalker' rip-off" with a serious horror vibe like The Ring and The Grudge (both popular at the time)- and how his first draft nearly sank the series before it had begun.
Speaking with EW, Kripke explained that he felt at the time that the vibe of those films would be something that could and would translate onto the small screen. Maybe "felt" isn't strong enough of a word. "I was a young writer, I'd had a couple failed shots, and I really felt the weight of: This is my chance. So I was very consumed by it, which isn't always healthy, and in this case, it wasn't," he revealed. "So I thought and rethought and pored over every detail and tried to make it as absolutely scary as I could and did not have a particularly breezy sense of humor in it. It was just all very heavy and probably, looking back, just needlessly complicated."
One of the key differences between the first draft and the script that sealed the deal? In the original draft, Dean was the only one who knew about their monster-filled upbringing, with Sam getting brought up to speed when he was older. Looking back, Kripke saw the initial approach to the Sam/Dean dynamic as being more "stupidly complicated" and adding very little to the overall narrative. "Dean was always the troubled kid who went out and found and is now bringing Sam back in it," he explained. "[It was] so stupidly complicated, and it was all super-dull. So then I turned it in and at the time I was like, 'Nailed it!'". Warner Bros. notified Kripke shortly after Thanksgiving that the pilot was being taken to the network, but that he had a chance to rework the script. Having written the first draft over a period of months, Kripke would complete the new draft in three weeks. "That was when the show got its sense of humor because I was locked alone, over winter break, in my office," he revealed. "I couldn't do anything fun, so I started entertaining myself."
Having Sam and Dean go through that childhood shared experience made the story much more personal, as did finding a way to inject a sense of humor among the horrors awaiting the Winchesters. "To me, the moment when the show locked into place was the notion of, 'Oh wait, both guys grew up in this world and this is just the world they know.' The minute that happened, the show snapped into focus because then they have long histories with their father, they have long histories with each other, but most importantly it was this idea that they viewed the supernatural as blue-collar exterminators. That was a really important difference because they just viewed it as another pain-in-the-ass job they had to do," Kripke says. "Because then they could be funny because it was something they had seen their whole lives, they didn't have to go mad with horror every time they saw a ghost, which is what the old draft was. Like, every time Sam saw a ghost he was like, 'What the f—?!' They could still be scared and there could still be tension because their lives were on the line, but it didn't blow their minds every time they saw it, and that gave Dean more room to make a smart-ass comment and it made room for Sam to have a dry response. That to me was like, 'Oh, now I understand who these guys are and how to balance the humor and the horror.'"
This brings us to the following preview images for Thursday night's "Despair" (with a title that doesn't exactly inspire a ton of confidence), which brings back another familiar face: Felicia Day's Charlie returns (more feelings of "uh-oh" there). Following that, we have another look at the overview and promo for this week's episode:
Supernatural season 15, episode 18 "Despair": RICHARD SPEIGHT, JR. DIRECTS – With the plan in full motion, Sam (Jared Padalecki), Dean (Jensen Ackles), Castiel (Misha Collins) and Jack (Alexander Calvert) fight for the good of the common goal. Richard Speight, Jr. directed the episode written by Robert Berens.
Recently, the Supernatural post-production team released another Shaving People, Punting Things video offering the SPN Family a fresh look at the remainder of the season as well as at our favorites behind the scenes. Let's just say there's a whole lot of bleeding, reflecting, crying, hugging, drinking, and maybe… just maybe… one last chance to save the day: