Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert!
Seriously, we can stress that Spoiler alert! enough. If you haven't watched the 200th episode of Supernatural, exit out of this story now or risk having one of the biggest surprises ever on the show spoiled!
Don't say we didn't warn you...
After an hour of meta winks, nods and nudges to the fans, "Fan Fiction" delivered one of the most shocking, amazing twists that we never saw coming—the return of Chuck Shurley (Rob Benedict)!
One of the best kept secrets of the long-running CW show has been the mysterious disappearance of the prophet-turned-author of the Winchester Gospels/Supernatural book series. The last we saw of the hard-drinking, self-deprecating writer, it was the season five finale, "Swan Song." He had just finished writing his last piece of work about Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles), and just...vanished. He and his works have since been mentioned on the show in passing, but it was never revealed where he disappeared to or why he vanished at all.
That lingering loose thread has led many fans to believe that Chuck is, in fact, God. The debate is one of the biggest among the fandom, with the showrunners never explicitly confirming or denying the question, and for five seasons, it seemed like we would never get an answer.
But in the final moments of the 200th episode after an incredible performance of "Carry On My Wayward Son," Chuck finally made his grand return. After the Supernatural high school musical bowed, the writer/director was thrilled to find out that the "publisher" claimed the ticket she left for him at the box office. When she nervously asked this mysterious "publisher" what he thought of the show, the camera panned back to reveal...Chuck.
His only review of the show? "Not bad."
So how long were the showrunners planning on bringing this important character back?
"We knew as soon as Robbie Thompson, the writer of the episode, pitched us his first real run-through of the idea, he brought up, ‘What if we brought back Rob Benedict?'" executive producer Jeremy Carver told E! News. "From the very first time Robbie pitched his interpretation of what the episode would be, we started to dream, ‘What if?'"
The premise of the episode gave Thompson everything he needed to pull off the surprise return.
"We knew that the musical would be based on his books, so we knew that we were going to bring him back. It was just a question of, ‘In what capacity?'" Thompson told E! News. "I have been trying to bring Rob back for three years! And I keep inserting him into episodes where he doesn't need to be there. Like in one episode, Charlie [Felicia Day] is like, ‘Oh yeah I found the unpublished books!' And that was just because I wanted to say Chuck's name again."
Thompson has always "loved" the character of Chuck, and couldn't believe he finally got to write an episode with him in it.
"That was a character that was introduced before I was on the show and I thought it was such a smart way to comment on the show but also Rob is such a great actor and he's such a joy to write for," Thompson said. "I didn't get to write for him very much in this episode, as you saw, but it was probably my favorite thing that I've gotten to write in the entire time I've been here. We really wanted to do something that marked the occasion and really show what the show is all about. It was great to bring him back."
So what does Chuck's return mean for all those God theories?
"I love the theories!" Thompson said. "I love every single one of them. I think it's fantastic. People reacting to a show with that level of passion where they want to dot all the I's and cross all the T's and perhaps even write fan fiction inspired by the work itself, I find it really inspiring. And I agree with all of the theories. I always view Rob's character as a proxy for [creator] Eric [Kripke], but Chuck is my God. I agree with that theory and I love it."
With 200 episodes in the bag, Carver is looking ahead to what's coming up the rest of this season...aka get ready for some major Winchester brotherly bonding!
"Both brothers are first and foremost struggling to reconnect," Carver said. "We saw that in episode four and that will continue, this brotherly reconnection, but their troubles are not over yet for either of them. Dean's not quite out of the woods yet regarding the Mark of Cain and Sam is not quite out of the woods as to what that means to him as well."
But the return of the "Samulet" hanging from Dean's rearview mirror is giving us hope that these two can get through anything, as long as they're together.
Supernatural airs Tuesdays at 9 pm on the CW.