Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki prep for the end of 'Supernatural'

Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki prep for the end of 'Supernatural'

LOS ANGELES – During the first year of “Supernatural,” stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki just wanted to get to another season.

“Once we got to Season 3, it was like, ‘Whoa! We actually have a chance to go all five,’” Ackles recalls. “And then we just kept picking up steam at Season 4 and picked up a little bit more steam in Season 5.”

Now, as the end of the 15th season nears, they’re actually ready for the final shot.

Executive Producer Andrew Dabb says he talked to the two stars several years ago and asked how they thought The CW drama should end.

“It was always something we wanted to have a plan for … because we didn’t want to go and go until we were the last folks at the bar,” Ackles said. “We felt it was a duty to our audience, to ourselves and to the work that we put in it that when it feels right (we would) do it right. All signs kind of pointed to this season.”

While insiders say “Supernatural” won’t wrap up like most series, it will give fans another look at some of the elements they like best.

“In a true ending, people can’t keep coming back over and over again,” Dabb says. “They’re going to be facing life or death but this time it’s for real.”

Viewers, Ackles says, are going to feel satisfied with the conclusion. “It should put a lot of people in a position of feeling great about the journey that they took with us, with the Winchester brothers.”

When “Supernatural” began in 2005 (as an offering on The WB, which was later folded into The CW), it followed Sam and Dean Winchester as they hunted all sorts of supernatural beings. The two went on the road in a black 1967 Impala. Monsters served as bait; the brothers turned out to be the big fish.

Both actors admit they were lucky to find something this lasting.

“We were two actors in a really interesting situation,” Padalecki says. “At first, you’re just begging for an audition. And now, they’re literally saying to you, ‘Hey, we’re done when you’re done.’ You’re like, ‘What? I just wore makeup for a living. How am I supposed to … what?’ I feel I came to a situation where you don’t want to be the last person at a party, even if it is the best party on the planet.”

After the series ends, both stars hope to spend more time with their families.

“I’m not a person who relaxes, by nature,” Padalecki says. “When I have time off, I run a marathon.” Already, he has signed for a reboot of “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

Ackles, meanwhile, is going to choose his next project after “Supernatural” ends.

“If we allow ourselves the weight of what this season is to creep into our daily work schedule, those days are going to get really long,” Ackles says. “We all try to stick to the game plan. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We do what we know because that’s what got us here.”

Both actors – who tease each other like brothers – say they’ve enjoyed the ride. “It’s a story we’re all very excited about, very passionate about,” Ackles says. “It hasn’t grown old.”

Executive Producer Robert Singer says “Supernatural’s” writers have had a synergy with the actors. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

Ackles and Padalecki have their eyes on what they’d like to take from the set. Padalecki wants the bunker “because I feel comfortable there.” Ackles opts for the steering wheel cap from the first Impala.

“It got wrecked in the end of Season 1,” he says. “But we had to climb into it and shoot the aftermath of that.” Padalecki was behind the wheel and saw it dangling.

“Yeah, that did go missing that day,” Padalecki says. “I can’t confirm nor deny where it went, but it did go missing.”

Now, just weeks away from the finale, the writers say they used the early episodes of the season to give characters a final shot and to plant seeds for the farewell.

“Each episode really is a piece of the ending,” says Executive Producer Eugenie Ross-Leming. “Every episode carries a piece of its finality with us. I know that sounds a little mystical, but it’s sort of how it’s working for us as writers.”

Could a reboot be on the horizon?

“I’m not ever ready to close doors or burn bridges,” Ackles says. “I think that’s foolish. Am I saying there’s something in the works? No. Am I saying I would be open to having a conversation about this in the future? What is the harm in that?”

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