From the very beginning of 'Supernatural season 4, fans of the long-running CW series have been adamant about one fact: needs more Castiel!  Thank heaven, their prayers were answered as the notoriously awkward angel was made a series regular, smiting and smiling his way alongside the Winchesters for seasons to come.  Then, the seeming apocalypse arrived as Misha Collins took a reduced role in the series, but will 'Supernatural' season 8 restore the wayward angel to his former glory?

According to  recent interview with IGN, 'Supernatural fans have reason to rejoice as fan favorite character Castiel (Misha Collins) will take a more prominent role in 'Supernatural' season 8 as opposed to the actors reduced screen-time in the series' seventh season.  Prior to the seventh season, Collins acted as a series regular alongside Jared Padalecki's Sam and Jensen Ackles' Dean Winchester.

Fans of the series remember that Castiel was dispatched early in the seventh season, his body overtaken by the Purgatory-escaped Leviathans, before popping up with amnesia later on in the season.  His memory (if not his sanity) largely restored, Castiel was last seen trapped alongside Dean in Purgatory, before promptly disappearing without explanation at the end of "Survival of the Fittest."

Here's what Collins had to say of his character in 'Supernatural' season 8:

I thought at the end of last season, 'Hey, thank God they left me in Purgatory with Dean. I'm definitely going to be significant next season.' Then there was a little back and forth where it wasn't really clear whether I was going to come back at all -- and the way in which I do come back is not at all what I expected. I'll be back much more significantly this season than last.

Since 'Supernatural' season 8 has been said to adopt a 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' vibe as the Winchester brothers investigate the Word of God, it makes sense that Castiel would likely be more involved.  As for his disappearance at the end of the season:

To be perfectly frank with you, I've only been given hints. I'm not exactly sure how it does play out. But yeah, that lingering question that was a significant part of the cliffhanger -- where the f**k did Castiel go? -- is answered very directly in the second episode. That won't be a hanging chad. We'll know what was going on with that.

To date, we’ve learned that ‘Supernatural’ season 8 will see the return of DJ Qualls’ eccentric  hunter Garth, as well as ‘Futurama’ voice Lauren Tom.  Elsewhere, ‘Battlestar Galactica’ veteran Ty Olsson will appear in an important recurring role, that of a vampire named “Benny,” whom Dean meets during his stay in purgatory and ultimately helps him escape from said predicament.  Liane Balaban (‘Alphas,’ ‘Covert Affairs’) will appear as Sam’s new love interest Amelia, developed in the time the brothers spent separated, but ended by the season premiere.

What say you?  Are you excited to have Mischa Collins' Castiel back in a more prominent role?  Where would you like to see 'Supernatural' season 8 go?  Check out the season 8 premiere on Wednesday, October 3, and give us your thoughts in the comments below!