This Thursday night, Bobby (Jim Beaver) is going to bet his life against a game of high stakes poker in Supernatural: S05E07: “The Curious Case of Dean Winchester. Hoping to free himself from his wheelchair, Bobby bets twenty-five years against a witch and loses. Dean (Jensen Ackles) steps in to help as Bobby begins to age rapidly. Soon, the surly Winchester brother finds himself also turning into a grey haired old man. This leaves Sam (Jared Padalecki) holding the only hope for their survival. Will they all make it out alive in this harrowing quest for youth? Find out as the stakes get raised October 29th, at 9/8 central, only on the CW.
Keeping with Halloween traditions we caught up with Bobby himself, Mr. Jim Beaver, to talk about this exciting new episode as well as the rest of Supernatural: Season Five. Will this be Bobby’s last year? Will he ever get out of that damn wheelchair? Will we see an entirely new cast next season? Click below for the interview:
It’s interesting that you guys went with a poker episode for Halloween. Can you talk about that decision and how the episode plays into the spirit of the Holiday?
Jim Beaver: I’m not too privy to how they make these decisions. Of course, we shot this episode back in September. I wasn’t even thinking about Halloween then. The fact is, this is Supernatural. Every episode is a Halloween episode. I don’t know if there was any particular conscious decision made to connect this episode to Halloween. I guess I’m not much help there.
Are you an avid poker player yourself? Were you able to bring your skills to the set?
Jim Beaver: No. And no. (Laughs) I like to play poker, but I am terrible at it. Probably because I only play once every five or ten years. The only time I ever won money playing poker was in Vietnam. That’s because we had a rocket attack in the middle of the game, and I happened to be up forty bucks. That’s not typical.
Who do you think is a better player? Bobby or Whitney Ellsworth?
Jim Beaver: Boy, that’s a hard one to answer. I would like to think Bobby was better. But from the evidence of this week’s episode, you’ll see that Bobby is not as good as the person he is playing against. I think that Ellsworth could take Bobby. I don’t know. It might be a draw.
In the spirit of the holiday season, can you tell us what you guys have cooked up for Thanksgiving and Christmas? Or might we see another winter holiday get the Supernatural treatment this year?
Jim Beaver: I have no idea what they have lined up. I think I have managed to miss all of the Christmas episodes. I haven’t been in any of them. Not that I can remember. They are pretty tight lipped about what is coming up. I have a sense of what is happening in episode fourteen, because I am in that one. If it relates to any various holidays, I haven’t got a clue. I am clueless about a lot of stuff as you’ll find out.
Bobby has been confined to a wheelchair. How do you think that has changed the character, and how has that changed your approach to playing Bobby? He seems a little angrier than he has in the past.
Jim Beaver: You’ll see a lot of how this has affected Bobby in this upcoming episode. And we’ll deal with it in episode ten. He really has to confront the issue in that episode. I think you are right. There is an anger and a despair that we haven’t seen in Bobby before that is coming into play. Bobby has been an interesting situation. I take this very seriously, because there are millions of people out there that would love to get out of their wheelchairs and can’t. Bobby lives in a world where all kinds of strange things are possible. Somewhere along the line, he has a hope that one of these strange, miraculous things might happen to him. I think he is also a realist. He understands that even when you have friends that come back from the dead, not everything that you want to happen is going to happen. I think the same thing can be said to all the fans. I have no idea where this storyline is going. I’d love to be out of that wheelchair. I’d love to be up and around, having adventures. That’s funner than sitting at home and talking on the phone to the boys. We’ll see how it plays out. It is very much like real life in that way.
Following in that real life scenario, its quite possible that Bobby could use the wheelchair to his advantage when it comes to the climactic end battle sequence with Lucifer.
Jim Beaver: Oh, yeah. I think Bobby is a pretty inventive old boy. In tomorrow night’s episode, you’ll see that he’s arranged himself some transportation. He has built himself a van that he can drive with his hands only. The show doesn’t address how he did it. I think the show takes for granted that Bobby knows how to make things happen.
Being quite familiar with the show and your character, it seems that Bobby can probably do anything he sets his mind to. I don’t think any fans are going to question how he came to have this hand-driven van in his possession.
Jim Beaver: He probably has twelve of them wrecked in his wrecking yard. I don’t think it would be too hard to fix one up that he can tool around in.
In the last episode, Sam and Dean discovered the anti-Christ was on earth. Can you tell us how this child will play into upcoming episodes, with Satan looming over them?
Jim Beaver: I really don’t know. The way the gig works for me is that I get the scripts up until the episodes that I am in. I shoot those, and I don’t know anything about the future until I get the next script. They have told me what episode fourteen is going to be about. But that could certainly change before we shoot it. And it doesn’t at all address the question you just asked. I really don’t have any idea whatsoever what is going to happen on the show. I get to find out before the fans do, but at the same time its still a surprise. The scripts come, and I open them up, and I say, “Wow! That’s what’s going to happen in this episode?” But even then, I have no clue what is going to happen in the next one.
So much has been said about this being the last season of Supernatural. At least story wise. Has Kripke talked with you about where he wants to take Bobby in the next story set-up?
Jim Beaver: I don’t have any enormous insights into whether the series will continue or not. My gut feeling is that there is a pretty decent chance it will continue. But that is purely my gut instinct. As far as Bobby goes, I really don’t know what is going to happen with him. I don’t think Eric knows at this point. In the conversations we’ve had about Bobby’s future, it hasn’t struck me so much that Eric is keeping his cards close to the vest. I think that he just doesn’t know what he wants to do yet. There is an overall arc to this season. What happens in detail in reference to that particular arc is still very much up in the air. It changes from script to script as they progress through the year. I don’t have a good answer for this. I just have my gut feeling. And my gut feeling is that Bobby will be around as long as the show is around. That is purely my gut feeling. It is also my hope. I think the show will be back for a sixth season, but I don’t know for sure.
There’s talk that an entirely new cast may come in for season six? How likely do you think that is?
Jim Beaver: I have never heard anything remotely like that. It seems unlikely to me. Again, as far as the future of the show and whatever permutations it might take? That’s as much a mystery to me as it is to the fans. I have never heard any talk about that particular possibility. I have a hard time imagining the show without Sam and Dean. I would love to have the Bobby hour. I don’t think people are tuning in to see this grizzled old coot. They are looking for their Jared and Jensen fix. And that’s entirely how it should be.
That isn’t entirely fair to you. Over the years you have accumulated such a huge fanbase…
Jim Beaver: What is that about?
Because you are mega-awesome. You are one of the best parts of this entire show. Have they ever talked with you about spinning Bobby and some of his demon hunting friends off into their own series?
Jim Beaver: I have never heard anything about that. If they’ve discussed it, they have kept it to themselves pretty well. It’s hard for me to believe that something like that would come to pass. I love the idea. I know that Bobby has a lot of fans. But I suspect that there wouldn’t be enough to keep the show going without a couple of young bucks like Sam and Dean walking around.
What has been your favorite part of this fifth season so far? It seems like Bobby is becoming more and more important to the legacy of the series as it goes on.
Jim Beaver: That’s been my favorite part. That Bobby has been more engaged this season. I think I have done five or six episodes so far. And we aren’t even halfway through the season. I have never done more than five or six episodes in a season before. It’s obvious that they are using Bobby a lot more. I think it makes sense with this apocalyptic storyline that is happening. It is the culmination of something. In the culmination of any story, you start pulling together all of your threads. Bobby has turned out to be a pretty important thread. I am pleased about that. I like working. And I like the character. I am also really interested in seeing where this show is going to end. I wouldn’t want to see this show go off on its own and leave Bobby behind. I don’t see much chance of that happening.
Can you tell us any more about the episodes you’ve already shot? What sort of cliffhanger are we looking at towards the mid-season mark?
Jim Beaver: I have shot one other show since the poker episode. I just got back last week from shooting episode ten. But that is the only one I have done since the one airing this Thursday. That is episode seven. Episode ten is going to be a very powerful episode that is going to leave the fans reeling. I can’t say a lot more than that. It’s not your average episode, let’s put it that way. I don’t think anyone is ever going to forget episode ten. I will say this: A lot of the characters from the past come together in this episode. It is a very warm and touching episode. It is a very difficult one in some ways. But that’s three or four weeks from now. For the fans. Just sit back and relax. It will be here soon.
Is this the mid-season cliff hanger?
Jim Beaver: I don’t know. I don’t recall off hand which episode we end with. I know there is a break in the episodes right before the holidays. But I don’t know which episode that is. I don’t know if episode 10 is it. I don’t know if anyone would consider episode 10 a cliffhanger exactly.
You mentioned that a lot of past characters will be coming back. There has been little tiny hints that John Winchester might make an appearance before the end of this season. Do you think we might see him here? Or is that something you can’t speak about?
Jim Beaver: All I can say is, “I haven’t heard anything about that.” That doesn’t mean much, though. I haven’t heard about a lot of things. It’s not in the script I read, and it’s not in the script I shot. If it happens, there’s a pretty good chance that I don’t know about it. I don’t have any information on that one way or the other.
How do you feel Bobby’s relationship with the brothers has changed this season? Is there going to be a final blowout confrontation between Bobby and Sam?
Jim Beaver: Hmm? It’s interesting that you ask that. My sense of things is different from that. I feel Bobby growing, in a lot of ways, closer to both Sam and Dean as the series progresses. If there was a rift between Bobby and Sam, I feel that it is healing. It could happen. It could come. I’m not writing this stuff. I go where they send me. But my gut feeling is that what this season is going to be about is the good guys coming together. It remains to be seen if I am guessing right. But that is my own personal feelings on the matter.
I read your book this summer, and I was really touched by it. I thought it was really great. How did the book tour go? And do you plan on continuing with your career as a writer? Do you have any ideas you are currently mulling over?
Jim Beaver: Thank you for the kind words. We didn’t have much of a book tour. They don’t do that sort of thing as much as they used to. I did make a few appearances at signings and readings. I had a great time. The Supernatural fans have been amazing in their support. Of me, and the book as well. A lot of the turnout at my readings have been Supernatural fans. I am very grateful for that. I am, right now, in the midst of doing some revisions on various parts of the book for the paperback edition. Which comes out next year. I’ve always got my hand somewhere in some writing pie. I am not terribly driven. I am fairly busy with the show, and conventions, and raising my kid. So I don’t get as much writing done as I would like to. Eventually, something else will come along. I am always working on something.
Do you think we will get your memoirs of working on this show?
Jim Beaver: I don’t know. I wish you had asked me that five years ago. I would have started taking notes. I haven’t thought about that. There is a possibility. I might roll that one around in my head a little bit. I will let you know if I decide to do that.