'Supernatural': Misha Collins on Castiel's Heartbreaking Sacrifice (Exclusive)

misha collins supernatural
The CW

The angel gave his own life to save Dean in one of the series' final episodes.

As Supernatural approaches its series finale, fans are preparing to say goodbye to their favorite characters after 15 seasons of adventures.

On Thursday, one of those goodbyes came in heartbreaking fashion, as the angel Castiel (Misha Collins) sacrificed himself to save Dean (Jensen Ackles) when they found themselves trapped by Billie/Death (Lisa Berry).

Cas' plan was a roller coaster of emotion for longtime fans of the show. Remembering his deal with The Empty, the angel attempted to summon a moment of pure happiness for himself, something he admits has eluded him in the past.

"I never found an answer because the one thing I want is something I know I can’t have. But I think I know now happiness isn’t in the having. It’s in just being," he told Dean, emotionally confessing that the hunter was "the most caring, selfless, loving human being.”

"I cared about the whole world because of you. You changed me, Dean,” Cas added, before saying "I love you," and achieving his moment of happiness, thus ushering in The Empty to absorb both himself and Billie, sparing Dean's life in the process.

ET spoke with Collins ahead of his final episode, where he opened up about hanging up Cas' iconic trench coat after 12 seasons, preparing for his final season and his enduring message for the legendary Supernatural fandom.

ET: You've been playing Castiel since he was introduced in season 4 of Supernatural, way back in 2008. As you prepared to end his -- and your -- journey on the show, what were you looking forward to? Are you satisfied with how things end for him?

Misha Collins: I think Castiel's ending on the show is really just what I would have wanted. I knew the ending that he was going to meet with for about a year, and I was really happy about it. And I'm still happy about it.

I'm really curious to see how the audience responds to the end for Cas. But it feels important. It feels like it makes his arc on the show meaningful, not just in terms of the mythology of the show, but in terms of a message for the greater world and our particular moment in history. I'm very happy with it.

I'm sure it was an emotional process as the series wrapped up. What were your last days on set like? How were you feeling?

It was sad. I mean, it was something that, it didn't come as a surprise. We've all had a lot of time, a lot of warning about the end coming and we see scripts far enough in advance we know more specific details of how our characters are going to finish on the show. But Castiel's last scene in the show was also my last scene shooting. So it had this double poignancy for me. I was saying goodbye to the cast and the crew at the same time that they were saying goodbye to Castiel.

The show welcomed back some familiar faces back in the final season. What was it like reuniting with some old Supernatural friends over the last episodes?

Oh yeah. I mean, it was great to see so many of the folks that reprised their roles: Felicia [Day] and Rob Benedict, and it was nice to not have Richard Speight back. [Laughs] I hope that makes it into print. He was directing, which is unfortunate, but you can't win them all. And Rachel Miner.

It's so interesting, too. This show has been running for so long and we have- this extended cast have gotten to know each other so well, because we do these fan conventions... we work on charitable projects together and political projects together, and we've become this really tight knit group of people who are, I don't know, we all chip in to buy each other birthday presents.

Rachel Miner is a great example. Ten years ago, I started Random Acts with a couple of fans, which is a non-profit that is still up and running and bigger and more productive than ever. And Rachel is now the executive director of Random Acts, and that's mostly her full-time job. She's still acting a little bit, but she has MS, which has been an impediment to her doing a ton of acting work. And it's just so lovely to see her back on set after all these years, but also to still be working with her on Random Acts and other projects together.

I feel that way though about so many of the cast members... It's been this family and community, not just on screen, but off.

It's probably been strange, saying goodbye to the show in 2020, when we're all still socially distanced, and on various levels of lockdown. What's that been like for you and what are you looking forward to next?

Mostly for me, I'm reflecting on what the next chapter of my life is. I'm just trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up and what I want to do next. And it's kind of a big question.

It's funny, because I had mapped that out in my calendar for some time. I thought we were going to wrap shooting in the beginning of April or end of March, and then I was going to have several months to percolate on what was next and really make some purposeful decisions. But then COVID hit and it kind of threw a monkey wrench into the works. And so I'm really only getting to the task of chewing on that question now. So yeah, I'm trying to figure out what to be when I grow up.

Finally, the Supernatural fan base is like no other, and they've supported these characters and this show for so many years. Do you have one final message for the fans?

Well, it's a really spectacular group of people. It's a community that's evolved around the show. It's not just a fandom. I think it's an interesting word because fandom, it almost kind of demeans what we have conceptually. We call ourselves the Supernatural family, but it really does feel like a family in a lot of ways. Those of us who are part of the cast feel like we're extended family to one another. We're very close. But we also feel like this community that's evolved around the show is also a part of our more extended family. And I think it shows.

I've been doing this political work in advance of the elections and activating the fandom to get out the vote and rally around candidates that seem to have the good of the nation at heart. And in the process spending a lot of time talking to the Biden campaign, and they seem to be blown away by the level of engagement that we get... And it's because this fandom, this community, is so engaged and also seems so purposeful in the world that even somebody who's running for president sees the value in it. They're like, there's something special about this group. They care and they're engaged.

That's really cool to be a part of, and moving forward I think that, we have this expression from the show: "Family don't end with blood." But I think, "fandom don't end with the show" is also true. I think that this community will stay vibrant and connected for years to come. And I hope we'll continue to be a force for good in the world, just like Sam and Dean were a force for good in the Supernatural universe.

The final episodes of Supernatural air Thursdays at 8 p.m. PT/ET on The CW.