It's nearly impossible to imagine Supernatural without Castiel -- but we almost lost our trench coat-loving angel way back in season four!
Fan favorite Misha Collins originally only signed for a three-episode arc to play the series' first angel back in 2008 and now, seven seasons later, Castiel has become one of the most beloved television characters in recent history.
"It was originally only three and now it's amazing," Collins said to ETonline. "It's really amazing and I pinch myself all the time because it's very cool."
Although it's hard to remember a time when Collins wasn't standing beside Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) as the third leg in a tripod of Supernatural perfection, the actor stressed that his full-time presence on the show was anything but instantaneous.
"It was a gradual evolution for me," Collins recalled. "It wasn't just I went from guest star to series regular immediately. It was like three episodes -- 'Alright, we'll give you six,' -- 'Alright we'll give you 10,' – 'Alright we'll give you 12.'"
With this slow, but steady progression, Collins came up with the perfect analogy for his time spent courting the dark drama: "We dated," the actor said with a laugh. "Supernatural and I dated before we got married."
Like all couples, Collins and Supernatural shared the highs and lows that come along with a small screen relationship. "I think we were both testing each other out and then we broke up," Collins said of his demotion from series regular to recurring character in season seven.
"Supernatural said they didn't want to see me anymore and then we got back together again," he said. So in season seven they were like, 'I think we're killing you,' and then they were like, 'Eh… We changed our minds. We're not killing you -- come back. Let's try this again.'"
But despite their rocky almost-break-up, the 40-year-old actor has nothing but love for the CW series. "I've had a long relationship with them and it's had its ups and downs but it's been a really amazing thing to discover," he said.
Along with watching Castiel change from an emotionally stunted angel to a multifaceted fan-favorite, Collins has enjoyed watching the show gather a bigger -- and even more passionate -- fanbase with each passing season.
"It's also been really interesting to see the show evolve and the fanbase to evolve too," the Boston native explained. "It's gone from this show that, when I started at the beginning of season four, had had a loyal but small cult-like following. And now it feels like its got a really big cult-like following."
Now in its tenth season, Supernatural is still a high-demand series for the network, thanks, in large part, to streaming services like Netflix, where a brand new generation of SPN fans have discovered (and devoured) the dark adventures of Sam and Dean Winchester.
"There are just a ton of die-hard Supernatural fans that are a force to be reckoned with," Collins said. "And that is something that I could have never anticipated when I went in to audition for my little three episode arc."
Supernatural airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on the CW.