It wasn’t a scam or a hoax. After Dean Winchester made a Faustian deal in order to help his younger brother Sam cheat death, most viewers assumed the resourceful siblings would somehow find a loophole in the contract. Well, not this time. By the end of season three, Dean had been ripped apart by a hellhound and his soul left rotting in hell. With Supernatural resuming to the CW on Thursday, September 18th, the stakes have obviously never been higher so writer/producer Sera Gamble decided to answer any burning questions about how the Winchester boys would never be the same again.SPOILER ALERT Newsarama: Sera, what has condemning Dean to hell allowed you to do story-wise for season four? Sera Gamble: It opened up a lot of doors for us. It was a decision we were really happy that we made. It separated the boys for the first time since we started the show really so they have a whole bunch of new secrets that they are keeping from each other. Sam had to go on without Dean for several months and Dean obviously had this very singular experience that is starting to come back to him. NRAMA: Last year, Ruby was trying to prepare Sam for Dean’s inevitable death. With this Thursday’s premiere taking place four months later, what kind of mind space is Sam in now? Gamble: There is a lot of tune in and find out about Sam. Basically, what I’ve been saying is Sam has all his fingers and toes and has been driving the Impala. Beyond that, you have to tune in and find out. People are going to be surprised to see where Sam is and we take our time revealing what has happened to him while Dean has been gone. We hold those cards pretty close to our chest. I have actually just been writing episode nine, which is a two-parter, and it has a lot of flashbacks to the time just after Dean is buried. We space that out pretty well over the first half of the season. There is a lot to tell. NRAMA: Speaking of Ruby, between her, Bella, and Jo from season two, how come the ladies just can’t seem to catch a break from the viewers? Gamble: That’s a good question! I don’t know. It’s kind of built into the matrix of the show a little bit. The fans are seriously protective of the relationship between Sam and Dean. Fundamentally, it’s a show about these two brothers and us reassuring our audience that we are not trying to threaten that is not really enough. We have been pretty candid that we have made some missteps along the way and tried to learn from them. I especially liked Ruby last year. She was really effective but it’s definitely an uphill battle whenever we say that a woman is coming on the shows. There is a certain segment of the fans that react right away so we always just say “Wait and see. There are surprises.” NRAMA: Promos have Dean chained and in pain down in hell. What kind of discussions did you have over how to present that fiery domain because so far, it seems very 'Hellraiser'-ish? Gamble: We knew we were going to get to use one beautiful shot of Dean and he is in excruciating pain. We wanted to give you an image to leave you with, to let you know that he wasn’t going to have a fun summer. It was sort of a launching pad for our discussion of hell because we have been cognizant of the fact we can’t afford to do a $100 million hell this season; we are only going to be able to cleverly imply what is happening down there. We sort of picked our torture tools for that moment to give you an impression NRAMA: Everything always boils down to the brothers so how will Dean’s trip to hell strengthen or strain his relationship with Sam? Gamble: I can say it does both. We are discovering this as we go along but I can say there’s a certain fundamental core to their relationship that will never change. And some things are never the same once your brother dies and goes to hell. Most of us will never experience that because you just die once. It’s kind of juicy when you get into these scenes and hear what these characters have to say and it’s been a pleasure to write it. I can’t say too much about it but I really can’t wait for people to see these episodes. They are very rich and there is a lot going on for both of these boys. NRAMA: The boys seemingly vanquished Lilith in the finale. Is there a new big bad in town or is it hard to keep a demon mother down? Gamble: There is a big threat this season. I wouldn’t say you’ve necessarily heard the last of her. We leave it pretty mysterious. We have been calling this the pre-apocalyptic season. Things are pretty heinous. We are not going to make it any easier for them. NRAMA: Genevieve Cortese is stepping in as a new character this year. What is her deal? Gamble: I can’t say much about her yet. She is in the first episode and apparently Eric put out a casting call for a love interest just to poke fun at the fans. At Comic-Con, he revealed it was a joke. She’s been a pleasure to work with and is in a couple of episodes. NRAMA: With hell fitting in prominently, how important are the themes of heaven, hell, and religion? Gamble: The big themes have been important throughout Supernatural. It has always been a part of the show. From the pilot, because these are two brothers who lost their Mom so young, and death has been hanging over the family forever, and a demon killed their mother, I don’t think there has ever been a time when they didn’t have these conversations about how there’s just evil, if there are any good forces, and is there a God? NRAMA: Creator Eric Kripke basically said he was a sick son of a bitch for loving that twisted Christmas episode, "A Very Supernatural Christmas", so much. How do you plan on topping that? Gamble: I love that episode too! That was pretty disgusting. I thought the Doc Benton episode was equally disgusting. NRAMA: I was surprised you got away with some of the stuff in that episode, "Time Is On My Side". Gamble: Me too! I kept waiting for the decency police to bust into our offices! I don’t know. I just promise that we will. Actually, we have an episode that is cooking that is so disgusting. We have classic disgustingness coming up. Every now and then, an episode comes up that give us an opportunity to exercise our own personal demons that way. It’s delightful. We try to gross each other out in the writers’ room. NRAMA: Originally, Jason Vorhees was slated to make an appearance last year, which didn’t happen, but do you have any iconic monsters you will be putting the Supernatural twist on? Gamble: Yeah, we do. We have an episode I am really excited about that we shot entirely in black and white. It’s an homage to the old classic horror movies so there is a very classic vampire that looks like Count Dracula, there’s a very classic wolfman, and a very classic mummy. It’s like a big monster mash going on. I knew when I saw the script for the episode it was going to be good and Bob Singer directed it. Hands down, it’s one of the most beautiful creative episodes. Bob has consistently been a good director for us, as well as one of our Executive Producers, but he got to really step up and be the best director he could be to do this episode and show off a little bit. He’s kind of a walking encyclopedia of film and he got to prove that to do this episode. NRAMA: Considering Sam has already died once and Dean has literally been to hell and back, can things really get any worse for the Winchester boys? Gamble: Yeah, they can [laughter]. We have to be creative but there are fates worse than death and we have a long list of them on our white board in our writers’ room and we will be throwing them at the boys.
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