Executive producer Ben Edlund says directing Supernatural for the first time was, “Many things. It was really, really frightening,” he admits. “I think it was a lot more than I understood it to be when I got into the ring with it. I was very fortunate in that [The Man Who Would Be King’s] really about acting in a lot of ways, because it’s an introspective episode. It’s got Cas at the center of it, and it has more character to character relations than it has massive things moving forward, so it’s really about the actors giving energy to the material, bouncing off each other, and that’s something they did wonderfully. They rehearsed it quite a bit, and it felt like it was a little one act play.”
“Ben Edlund had a blast,” producer Todd Aronaeur affirms. “He seemed kind of fried when he came home, but in a good way. It’s a really strong episode." Executive producer Robert Singer adds, "We’re really happy with the episode. But,” he points out, “it is one of the episodes you really gotta pay attention to." There is a lot to learn and a lot to keep track of, but the payoff is well worth it.
Executive producer Sera Gamble says they also made sure it still felt like a Ben Edlund episode. "He was responsible for a tremendous amount of mythology loose ends, but we wanted to make sure we gave him room to do some Ben Edlund stuff in the episode, if you will. He is a very quirky, singular, creative, and visual writer and director. So when we were breaking this episode, one of the mandates was, ‘Let’s make sure this is also Edlundian.' That’s why when Crowley is pitching to Castiel that it’s a good idea to work with him, he takes him down to Hell and we see this quirky revamped version of Hell in which there’s a line that goes on forever and there are funny signs on the walls. Ben dreamed it up and we wanted to make sure there were those grace notes throughout, because that’s what makes Ben Ben. I think that’s one of the things that make that episode special.”
“Working with Ben was fabulous,” Mark Sheppard says. “I love Ben’s writing. Ben could never cease to amaze me in these circumstances. I’ve loved his writing since The Tick. There’s a great wit about him, and it’s fun to see him translate that into the visual. The idea of Hell as an endless waiting room is a lot of fun. He’s something else.”
“We lose our friend Cas over the course of this episode,” notes Edlund. “I happen to be very fond of the innocent Cas and the fun Cas, so being the agent of his destruction was quite a challenge. But I think it’s good drama. To me that was a sadness and a greatness.”
Knight, Nicholas. Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 6. Titan Books, 2011: 110-113.