PaleyFest '11: Supernatural Season (and SERIES) Finale Scoop!

From TVLine contributor Vlada Gelman

Angels, monsters, heaven, purgatory, souls, family. Those are just a few of the topics Supernatural has been tackling this season. While some shows might buckle under the weight of such heavy issues, the CW series is kicking things into high gear as it prepares to wrap up its sixth season. At a PaleyFest panel honoring the show on Sunday afternoon, the cast and producers teased “curveballs,” lots more Castiel, and ruled out a certain comeback.

Cowboy Up | Before the panel, the audience was treated to a sneak preview of the upcoming Western episode. Castiel (Misha Collins) sends Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) back to Sunrise, Wyoming circa 1861 to find the colt and a creature named Phoenix. Dean is all too happy to put on a cowboy hat and poncho  — or a “blanket,” as Cas calls it – and start exploring the saloons. But Sam being Sam steps into poo, which is “authenticity,” according to Dean. And yes, there’s a shootout.

Castiel Gets the Spotlight | Longtime Supernatural executive producer and writer Ben Edlund will direct his first episode of the show this year. The episode — 20 if you’re counting — will have “no puppets,” Edlund joked, referring to his previous TV directing gig, Angel‘s “Smile Time.” Instead, the “very emotional” hour, titled “The Man Who Would Be King,” will be a Castiel- (Misha Collins) centric outing exploring the “fruition of some serious friendships and where they go.” “We hear a couple moments from [Castiel’s] childhood,” teased Edlund. With the two-hour season finale just around the corner, the episode will also serve as “the emotional key-up” for the season’s final episodes.

Even More Cas | Hurting for some more angel love? After popping in and out all season to give quick updates about the war in heaven, “That storyline’s definitely getting tied up and played out and hashed out,” said Collins. We’ll get insight into Castiel’s mind and what he’s thinking when he has to exasperatedly deal with Dean and Sam between bouts of heavenly civil war. Castiel will also get a new angel buddy in the form of trusted lieutenant Rachel.

Secret Twists | When asked by moderator Maureen Ryan of AOL TV which twists or stories have surprised them,  Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki were pretty mum. “There’s a few curveballs coming,” creator Eric Kripke explained.

Season Finale Time | Kripke, who penned the season finale, revealed that though it will air as a two-hour finale, the episodes are more episodic and separate in feel rather than movie-like. “There’s so many mythology balls up in the air,” explained Kripke, that the first hour will tie up some of the threads, while the second will deal with the others. “It feels like two episodes that each have their own story. It’ll be awesome in reruns!”

So About That Amulet... | Last we saw, Dean dropped the amulet necklace into a trashcan. But with all the significance it carries — Sam gave it to him as a gift when they were younger, Cas says it can help find God — might someone have rescued it for a return appearance? “There are no plans to return the amulet,” said Kripke before joking about the amulet’s diva-like nature getting in the way of contract negotiations. “It’s doing a guest shot on One Tree Hill.”

How It All Ends | Although the show already aired a sort-of series finale last season with “Swan Song,” the producers revealed that they still have some ideas for when the real thing should come around. “There’s a very specific coda that we have in mind,” said Kripke. “We didn’t use that. We didn’t go there [in ‘Swan Song’].”

Jensen Ackles, Director | After successfully directing the “Weekend at Bobby’s” episode earlier this season, it’s no surprise Ackles wants to get behind the camera again. “I’d love to try to do it again,” he said before pointing at Padalecki and joking, “As long as he’s not in it.”