Thursday, October 6, 2011
I guess it’s as official as fiction can get: according to the producers of Supernatural, Castiel, the boys’ angel buddy, has indeed walked off into the sunset – or, in this case, into the city reservoir – and out of the story and off the show. Even though he’s become a fan favorite since his introduction three years ago, even though the actor who portrays him, Misha Collins, is a huge draw at cons and on Twitter, Castiel’s story is over and done and the character is apparently kaput. Guess nobody’s job is safe in this economy, not even an angel’s.
As much as I’ll miss him, as a writer I can understand why he had to go. The storyline he was brought in for wrapped up in Season 5. Season 7 just kicked off and he was still hanging around. He even became God for a while. Not bad for a character who was slated to die after about four-five episodes.
This happens in writing a lot. Sometimes a walk-on character just takes off on you. All you can do is tag along and watch what happens.
What happened was on-screen magic, when it worked. When it didn’t … well, those of us who remember the train wreck that was Deanna Troy’s characterization on Star Trek: The Next Generation know how bad it can get. It’s like having Superman in the Justice League. Superman can do anything. If you’ve got him, you really don’t need the rest of the Justice League. If you had Cas to solve all the monster problems, you really didn’t need Sam and Dean.
There are only so many things you can do with an angel once you’ve stopped the Apocalypse. Depower him (they did that, but restored him), use him as comedy relief (unfair to the character), use him sparingly (which they did, and the fans squawked), give him a storyline worthy of the character (at the expense of the stars of the show), or admit his story’s told, and let him go.
This problem is easier to cope with in a novel. If a character starts to take over the story, maybe he or she doesn’t belong there to begin with. Maybe they should have their own story. A lot of them get their own story; this is how a trilogy or a series starts. I had the same thing happen with my “Cas” character in Belonging. He started out with a cameo, a little in-joke to myself. Then I put him in the sequel, where he ended up with a bigger role than I’d planned on. As soon as I get the sequel out in the mail, I’m starting work on his story.
And when that’s over, that’s it. He and his girlfriend (yeah, it’s M/F; sorry, Destiel fans) will go off and have a life together that doesn’t need to be chronicled. Unless I write another sequel, but that doesn’t seem likely at this point. Their story’s done. Time to move on.
Personally, I don’t think Castiel’s quite finished yet. After all, we never saw a body, and anyone who reads comic books knows what that means. People die on that show all the time and come back. Cas himself has died twice already. I’m hoping Supernatural’s writers will bring him back in the second half of the season, so he can clean up the mess he inadvertently started, and then give him the send-off he deserves. And a hug from Dean. I’ve waited three years. I want my big, fierce, brotherly Dean-and-Cas man hug, dammit!
Yeah, it’s only a TV show. And the book you’re working on is only words on paper. We all know better. These are our babies. We create them, and if we’re lucky they develop a life and storyline of their own. They’ll tell us when it’s over. When the moment comes, you wave good-bye, wipe away the tears, then start a new file or get out a fresh notebook and give birth all over again. It’s the cycle of writing and the cycle of life, and it’s been working out okay since mankind first drew the story of the hunt on a cave wall. I’m sure Castiel would approve.