How Can Supernatural Go On Without Kripke Running The Show?

By now, everyone has heard the news that Supernatural is coming back for a sixth season (YAY!). We've also heard that creator and showrunner Eric Kripke will be stepping down from that role after this season -- the showrunner role, not the creator one. How exacty would one go about doing that? I can think of a lot of show creators who might want to. "I had absolutely nothing to do with Emily's Reasons Why Not."

Supernatural without Kripke feels like Lost without Lindelof & Cuse. Is it even possible? The good news is that from the beginning, Kripke has been framing a five-year arc, and The CW has allowed him to finish that storyline. What happens next will be uncharted territory, and it will be in a very tough position as well.

Nobody wants to be the person who has to go out and sing after Mariah Carey or Aretha Franklin. "Can't Biz Markie perform right before me?"

On the other side of that coin, it also creates an almost unprecedented opportunity for the next showrunner, which The Hollywood Reporter tells us will be Sera Gamble, an executive producer who's been with the show since its first season. If you think of these five seasons as one massive "good vs. evil" movie or book, we're reaching the climax of the Winchester's epic struggle and fight for all of humanity. Once that battle ends, that's generally when the credits role. The good guys won (we hope) and all will be right with the world.

But what happens next?

Sometimes that question is more intriguing than the battle itself, depending on what state the battle itself leaves the world and the heroes who saved it. I'm not so confident that Kripke and Company are going to dramatically alter the state of the world, but there will likely be repercussions of this struggle, at least for the boys and Bobby (please don't kill Bobby -- haven't you done enough to him by paralyzing him?).

I'm sure there will still be demons and other creatures of the dark that need killing, but I'm hoping for more than a reset button to the simpler seeming times of the first season. Maybe, now that we know there's a sixth season coming up, we'll get an unresolved finale like The Empire Strikes Back. The good guys win, but at what cost?

Honestly, I can't even imagine what the future will bring to the series, but it's quickly become one of my favorite hours of television. Kripke has promised to stick around as a hands-on executive producer, and it's been nothing but amazing so far, so I'm looking forward to whatever the series brings next.

What are your theories as to where the show could go after this season's dramatic climax?