Supernatural is hosting one helluva complicated family reunion in this Thursday’s fall finale (The CW, 8/7c), with Jake Abel reprising his role as Dean and Sam’s long-lost brother Adam. The third Winchester also represents a potential threat to his half-siblings, seeing as how his homecoming means the powerful archangel Michael is back.
Below, Abel talks about his long-awaited return to the series and the challenges of playing both Adam and Michael in the same scene. The actor also previews Adam’s tension-filled reunion with Dean and Sam, as well as his brotherly relationship with Michael.
TVLINE | It’s been almost a decade since you were last on the show. What was it like coming back after so much time away?
When I did the show so many years ago, I had no idea the things that it would bring me in my life — the people that I met working, traveling for both the show and conventions, and getting to meet all the fans. It’s just been really special and unique in a way that I haven’t really had with any other projects. So to come back, 10 years later, has been a real unexpected gift. And I hope that the fans get something out of it that they’ve wanted for a long time. It’s been a really special experience.
TVLINE | Tell me a little bit about your first day stepping back onto set and interacting with Jensen [Ackles] and Jared [Padalecki] again.
I’ve seen them off and on, but not a lot, on the convention circuit. But being back in that capacity and back in the jeans and jacket that are Sam, Dean and Adam, it was… You feel them walk onto set. It’s a funny thing. For a while, the first day, it was just me doing my scenes, and then you just feel the force, two six-foot-three forces, come onto set, and it’s just big hugs and smiles and catching up. They’re special guys. They’ve led an incredible show, a really fun set to be on. So it was like back playing with friends again. It was really special.
TVLINE | Fan have been asking about what happened to Adam, when the boys are going to rescue him, for years and years. Were you, similarly, wondering about him and his fate?
Oh yeah! I was hearing that they would bring so many people back from Hell, back from the dead, back from wherever they may be, but poor Adam was always forgotten. In some ways, I think maybe the delayed gratification will pay off. It’s fitting that Adam was introduced in the “Jump the Shark” episode [as] this long-lost third brother, and then to sort of do it again on the final season, it’s much more poetic than coming back at mid-series run. It’s much more dramatic to come back at the very end. So I think it was worth the wait.
TVLINE | Last we saw, Michael was using Adam as his vessel, and he was trapped in the cage. But in the trailer for this season, we see two of you sitting opposite each other. So what can you say about how the Michael and Adam of it all is going to work in this episode, and how they both return?
There’s not much that I can say or really want to say, because when I read the script for the first time, it was a complete surprise for me as well. It’s an exciting prospect to not only have these two characters return, but have them in scenes together. It’s so fun to see. Richard Speight, who directed the episode, did a fantastic job at that… I just saw the footage at ADR the other day, and I was blown away by how good it looks. Like, I’m sitting there smiling, watching the scenes. I’m judging myself, so if I’m having fun watching this, I hope that fans will have the same reaction.
TVLINE | Was there a particular character between the two of them or an aspect of one of the characters that you were most excited to dig into?
I don’t know if there was one I was more excited [about] than the other. I think I was more excited about creating a visible difference between them. Before I went up to Vancouver, [Richard and I talked] on the phone a couple times about how we wanted it to feel like they were two different people. And there were some big challenges in that. I don’t want to give anything away. But there are things that are happening in real time between these two characters, and it was very important to me to have a physicality that shows that these are two completely different people, even if they may be sharing or not sharing the same vessel. We didn’t want to rely on special effects to show that. We wanted that to be in performance. The most exciting part of playing this was from a performance standpoint of creating two different characters and being fluid with them. That was pretty awesome, and I hope it came through.
TVLINE | When I talked to Andrew Dabb earlier, he mentioned that Michael and Adam have been trapped in the cage together for a very long time, so their relationship has reached a sort of a peace. How would you describe the dynamic between the two of them in this episode?
I would say it’s brotherly. I know that’s cliché for this show, but it’s also kind of on brand for this show. We’ve been following these two brothers, Sam and Dean, for all these years, and their relationship, which isn’t perfect. … In playing Adam and Michael, it felt sort of like this brotherly bond, where you know there’s an older brother and a younger brother, and what that means, and how they protect each other, and how they have opinions on the other person’s life and life choices. So that was really surprising, and it really fit the themes of the series.
TVLINE | We have to talk about the other big brotherly relationship, the one between Dean and Sam and Adam. How would you characterize that reunion? And is there a healing that we see in this episode between the three of them?
Yeah, there’s stuff I definitely don’t want to give away, because there’s a certain amount of tension that should be there, and a certain amount of the unknown. Both parties, between Sam and Dean, and Adam and Michael, are kind of walking into a situation where they don’t know if they’re amongst friends or not. Adam’s, potentially, a scary individual because Michael is in him. He’s not just a boy, he’s not just their brother. He’s got this strong force in him. But I think some really important things that need to be said between the brothers, they’re given the chance to say those things. Whether they do or not, we’ll see on Thursday.