At the end of last season on The CW's Supernatural, having been tricked by Metatron (Curtis Armstrong), his grace stripped from him and left back down on Earth separated from his friends the Winchesters, Castiel (Misha Collins) was having a rough day. But things are only going to get rougher before they get better on season nine, as he is now human and will therefore begin to feel all of the basic needs that too often drive or at least distract the rest of us mere mortals. It might be a bitter pill to swallow for a man who was used to just appearing and disappearing anywhere and any time he wanted.
"I think he has a new found appreciation for what it means to be a person," Collins said when LA TV Insider Examiner caught up with him just before the Supernatural season nine premiere.
"I think he is actually finding a deeper meaning in humanity, if that makes sense...I think that he's finding a purpose and meaning in being human that he wasn't expecting to find. Just the very fact that he is human in some way is meaningful and purposeful to him, which is a surprise."
In past seasons it has been Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) who have relied on Castiel for help and information as a very "useful tool" (Ackles' words!), but don't assume that means that now the roles are reversed! Though Castiel certainly needs help in finding his way back to the boys, he is not relying on them or expecting anything from them.
"He has a remarkably different interaction with everyone now because it used to be that he was above any kind of needs; he never needed sleep or food or water or shelter, and now he needs all of those things, and he's finding he actually needs to rely on others to provide him with these things. He doesn't have money; he doesn't have food; he needs people to help him survive. And he's also not a terribly formidable presence. He's not a threatening being; he's just another guy," Collins said.
"I think he is trying to figure out how to get by. He's not looking for [help] from the boys, but he is looking to reunite with them, for sure. Cas certainly has intelligence and experience that could be beneficial, and I also think he just wants to reconnect with his friends."
Castiel meets quite a few new people in the season nine premiere "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" that proves the title of the episode is not applying to him in his new form. Things are tough out there for a man who has been stripped of his power and his grace-- so tough that he even loses his iconic trenchcoat in the process. That's right: as you probably saw from early season promotional photos, Cas is getting a new look this season, and it's one that mirrors his internal struggles.
"Applying the term 'style' to anything Castiel has ever worn is, I think, strong. He's operating on a baser level in the beginning of the season. He's just looking for anything to keep him warm. It's not even hobo chic; it's straight-up hobo. The clothes that we've selected in the wardrobe fittings were purposely too big or too small and mismatched and just kind of disappointing for me because I had been holding out hope that finally Cas would get that Sixteen Candles makeover moment, and it just hasn't materialized for him!" Collins said.
"You do see Cas at some point early this season trying to spruce himself up, and it gets really depressing."
Castiel certainly has a long journey in front of him this season, and along the way Collins shared the most important moment will be coming to terms with whether or not he should go after Metratron and try to find his grace or give into this new humanity. As experiences unfold in front of him and new connections are made, including with April (Shannon Lucio), the decision is sure to be that much harder for him.
"I think more than anything, it's a new experience for Cas, and he's trying to figure it out what it all means for him as he realizes that emotions and sensations can take over," Collins said.
Supernatural returns to The CW on October 8 2013 at 9 p.m.
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