Supernatural stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki began Comic-Con week doing a keg stand with Conan O’Brien, and finished on Sunday by getting their faces melted by the band Kansas.
But for thousands of screaming fans who showed up to the pop-culture extravaganza, those two were the real rock stars.
The long-running CW drama enters its 13th season Oct. 12 (8 ET/PT) with Padalecki and Ackles once again keeping the world safe from monsters as demon-hunting brothers Sam and Dean Winchester. While the show has found cult success with an extremely loyal fan base, Comic-Con is the one time a year when Supernatural gets the same level of reception in the convention’s biggest stage as Marvel superhero movies, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.
“Do you know if Daenerys wants to make a cameo? Because we might be able to make it work,” jokes executive producer Andrew Dabb.
"You know what, Season 13? Have them call us,” Padalecki adds. “I promise to pick up the phone.”
At this year’s Comic-Con, he and Ackles might as well have been sharing the Iron Throne. They made their first talk-show appearance together on Conan, with Padalecki being hoisted more or less upside down on his birthday to drink from a keg of golden pale ale — courtesy of his co-star’s Family Business craft brewery in Austin. Later, Ackles handed full red Solo cups to anyone in sight as O’Brien joined them for a post-show chat.
And on Sunday, before they took the stage to open Supernatural’s Comic-Con panel with a live rendition of Carry On Wayward Son — the show’s unofficial theme song — Kansas drummer Phil Ehart presented a pair of sticks to Padalecki for his 5-year-old son, Tom. (“I would gladly pretend to give them to him,” the actor joked.) And the group — followed by Doug the Pug, a canine with nearly 10 million followers across social media — all wanted their pictures with the stars.
The celebrity hasn’t gone to their heads. “It’s really neat to be a part of something bigger, and to remember we’re a show in a long line of science fiction and horror and thrillers,” says Padalecki.
Adds Ackles: “We come here to humble ourselves.”
Executive producer Robert Singer says part of the show’s success has come from fostering “a culture where we don’t want to repeat ourselves.” Instead of a crossover with the queen of dragons, the Winchesters will get animated alongside Scooby-Doo for the 16th episode of the new season airing next year.
It’s one more milestone for a show that’s aired 264 hours of creature-killing, apocalypse-foiling action. Misha Collins, who’s played the angel Castiel since Season 4, recalls being at the 100th-episode party and someone telling him they’d see him at the shindig for No. 200. “I was like, ‘That’s actually stupid. That’s not funny. Obviously that’s not going to happen.’ And the fact that it has come and gone and we’re talking about the 300th-episode party is kind of mind-boggling.”
Padalecki doubts Supernatural will go another 13 seasons, though he thinks “600's a good round number (of episodes). Or that would be funny to end at 666.”
Ackles chimes in: “It’s gone beyond dreams come true. Now it’s just 'pinch me.'”