Spoilers ahead for the sixth season finale of "Supernatural"!! Stop reading now unless you've already seen it!
In the closing moments of season six, the angel Castiel (Misha Collins) absorbed the souls trapped in Purgatory and declared himself the new God, before demanding that Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) show him love and devotion or face destruction at his hands.
And while the Winchesters' battle against their former friend is all but certain to dominate the seventh season of "Supernatural," Collins may not be there the entire way as his angelic alter-ego.
TVLine is reporting that Collins will not be a regular on the series next season.
“When it comes to 'Supernatural,' our philosophy is that everyone moves in and out and weaves in and out of the story, obviously with the exception of Sam and Dean,” explained "Supernatural" executive producer, Sera Gamble. “We love Misha. We love and adore the character of Castiel. His character developed to this extent and went in this unexpected direction because we were so inspired by him.”
"The [season finale cliffhanger] is a very pivotal moment in Cas’ development,” added Gamble. “Basically, that’s what we’ll be exploring next season, so there’s just a big change.”
Gamble did indicate that Collins is expected to reprise his role in the seventh season opener, but kept quiet about whether he would return after that episode.
As for why the Civil War in Heaven storyline played out largely offscreen, Gamble had an explanation for that as well.
"We consciously kept some of this angel civil war off camera because we are interested in what happens on Earth,” noted Gamble. “We are interested in what happens in the purview of the boys. We feel that in terms of what we can accomplish, the scope of the show, our storyline is best accomplished where the Impala can go.”
And in some exciting news for "Supernatural" fans, Gamble revealed that series creator Eric Kripke and executive producer Ben Edlund will both remain with the show next season.
“Their titles have changed,” related Gamble. “There are a lot of technical and contractual reasons that people’s titles change that don’t necessarily reflect their level of involvement or commitment to the show… They’ve been in the [writers] room with me every day this week.”
"Supernatural" will begin its seventh season this fall on The CW network.