“Supernatural” fans braced themselves for the exciting, Season 11 return of their favorite characters after it was revealed during San Diego Comic-Con that audiences would receive a blast from the past in the 2015 installment. But little did viewers know they’d be reuniting with actor Matt Cohen’s beloved character, the young John Winchester, after five, long years. And, apparently, neither did star Jared Padalecki!
Padalecki, who plays Sam -- the son of John -- revealed to TVLine that production went through some “funny” lengths to keep Cohen’s appearance in episode 4 a secret.
“On the call sheet, they didn’t want to put Matt Cohen, so they put Leonard Cohen (a Canadian singer/songwriter) in case anybody picked it up,” Padalecki revealed. “I was like, ‘That’s not going to be suspicious! Oh, Leonard Cohen is doing a guest spot on 'Supernatural.' He’s going to play the troubadour.'”
But if looks like the call-sheet maneuver worked because even Padalecki’s character seemed genuinely surprised when the apparition of Papa Winchester appeared in the Season 11 installment.
— Jim Michaels (@TheJimMichaels) October 29, 2015
“It was fun for me to play that part of Sam,” the actor told Extra TV. “Sam’s not often really caught off guard like that. He’s been through a lot. He’s been to Hell and to Heaven and purgatory and he’s died and killed, so Sam’s not often caught totally off guard. So that was a fun direction for me to go with him.”
Padalecki added that he thought it was “a really neat thing” that producers of “Supernatural” used Cohen instead of bringing back Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who portrays the older version of John, because it added to the scene’s shock factor.
“It put Sam in an even more awkward position because this wasn’t the dad he knew… it was just such a well thought out script and well-executed script. The guest cast was phenomenal, and I had a great time,” he noted.
During episode 4, which focused on the perspective of Dean’s (Jensen Ackles) beloved 1967 Chevrolet Impala, Sam woke from his slumber to find a younger version of his father driving the car. But John wasn’t there to join the boys on their road trip. Instead, he had a message for Sam: Only Sam and Dean could stop The Darkness. This strange occurrence lead Sam to question if the vision was from God.
“God helps those who help themselves,” John said to his son moments before Sam wakes up to the sound of Dean at the door.
But it looks like John Winchester won’t be the only character set to drop jaws in the Season 11 storyline. Padalecki dished to TVLine fans should expect other “cool characters” to appear as the season continues.
“Supernatural” airs Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. EST on the CW.