A Super Chat With Jensen Ackles on Going From ‘Supernatural’ to ‘The Boys’

Jensen Ackles as Soldier Boy in The Boys
Courtesy of Prime Video

Family never dies. They just book new jobs. A year and a half after ending a 15-season run on Supernatural, Jensen Ackles is returning to TV — and reuniting with Supernatural creator Eric Kripke — in a turn as a grizzled Captain America–like superhero on Prime Video’s The Boys. The former Dean Winchester also recently directed his costar and SPN brother Jared Padalecki in an April episode of The CW’s Walker. And when we spoke to him over Zoom, he was sitting in a 175-year-old house in New Orleans during production of the pilot of The Winchesters. The planned Supernatural prequel follows the demon hunters’ parents, and Ackles is an executive producer along with his wife, Danneel (who made her SPN debut as angel Anael in Season 13).

Even in real life the actor attracts the paranormal. “Not kidding, I was on the third floor earlier and there was one of those weird half doors that cracked open a foot,” he recalls. “I turned around and it closed. I was like, ‘Anybody see that?’ And then right at the second I said that, it opened again.” True to Dean, he investigated the creepy anomaly, reporting: “Nothing. Just a broom closet.”

Still, the dad of three was in good spirits, with the same gratitude and charm that fans fell for when he and Padalecki first revved that 1967 Chevy Impala. Here, he opens up about his next moves and building a future from Supernatural’s past.

So, you’ve been busy.

Jensen Ackles: I thought things would be nice and slow after Supernatural and it’s been the exact opposite!

You and Jared went right into new gigs and kept hitting the fan conventions. Did you ever say, “Hey, Danneel, let’s go travel the world a bit”?

No, I just thought, “Hey, let’s go travel the world but get paid to do it.” [Laughs] When you do something as intense as Supernatural for 15 years, [working] is programmed in here. [Taps head]

Since Supernatural ended during the pandemic, there wasn’t a proper wrap party. Have you guys discussed getting together after the fact?

Certainly. It was a jagged pill to swallow when we had to finish the way we did, masked up and six feet apart. We couldn’t embrace it the way we wanted to, but I’m hoping we can figure out a way to have some sort of celebration.

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How did you wind up reteaming with your old Supernatural boss Eric Kripke on The Boys?

That came about during the [production] break before we finished the last two episodes of Supernatural. I was talking to him about something completely unrelated and said, “Hey, I’m about to be unemployed. Got anything for me on The Boys?” And he was like, “Let me think about it, because I don’t know if I want you for a solo guest spot. Maybe I’ve got something a little bit juicier for you.” And I was like, “Scary, but OK.” The next day, he sent me the material for Soldier Boy.

The next day?

Yeah. He said, “Look, this role is on the radar for a heavy Season 3 appearance, and they’re looking at a short list of names.” And I’m like, “Well, where am I on that short list?” And he said, “You’re not on it.” [Laughs]

Then he read me a few of the names and I was like, “No, I wouldn’t be on that list!” So, this wasn’t something where Kripke just called and said, “Hey, come on over.” This was something I had to fight for, and luckily it worked out.

Jensen Ackles as Soldier Boy in The Boys

Courtesy of Prime Video

How far is Soldier Boy from Dean?

There are probably some similarities, [but he’s] definitely different. He’s the original superhero from 80 years ago and, through him, we see Vought International’s history and where the company [that creates superpowered people] came from. He’s a guy who’s out of his time. He’s showing up in 2022, and things don’t look the way that they did when he was top dog.

Now you’re shooting the Winchesters pilot in New Orleans. Why there?

We’d like to keep it down here for a couple of reasons. It’s a period piece set in the early ’70s, and there’s architecture here that looks like towns from the [past]. And you have the NOLA vibe. It’s written into the pilot script that they go there on a case and go to Lafayette Cemetery, so we’re actually going to be [filming at] real crypts. The past two days we’ve shot at an old Civil War fort that looks like someone spent a ton of money building it, but it is very real.

Plus, with The Winchesters, we needed [it to be] different from the blue-gray of [SPN, which was shot in Vancouver] — it’s going to have an amber feel. We’re using vintage anamorphic lenses, so it’s more cinematic and a different texture than we’re used to seeing on the mothership.

Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Jared Padalecki in Supernatural

Colin Bentley / ©The CW / Courtesy Everett Collection

This is an abbreviated version of TV Guide Magazine’s latest cover story. For more of Ackles’ look back on Supernatural and plans to work again with Jared Padalecki, pick up the issue, on newsstands Thursday, May 19.

The Boys, Season 3 Premiere, Friday, June 3, Prime Video