Jared Padalecki is making an announcement. It’s early December, and he and his Supernatural costar Jensen Ackles are getting ready for his or her ultimate two days of filming the 300th episode (Feb. 7) as demon-hunting brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, respectively. As they stroll onto the Males of Letters set on a wet Thursday, they arrive face-to-face with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, a private good friend and the person who introduced Papa John Winchester to life within the present’s pilot (and left the present after season 2). “It’s the culmination of 300 episodes,” Padalecki says of Morgan’s return. In any case, John’s disappearance kick-started the brothers’ street journey.
“Dad’s on a hunting trip, and he hasn’t been home in a few days.”
Standing in his little brother’s school condo, Dean Winchester first uttered these phrases within the pilot, and in doing so, launched Supernatural’s — and the brothers’ — first huge thriller. “I had a good feeling about the show just reading the pilot,” Ackles says. “It had grit, the characters were well-written, and the story had miles to go.” Though he couldn’t fairly predict what number of miles the journey can be.
Supernatural premiered on The WB in 2005 and has since turn out to be the longest-running present in The CW’s historical past. The thought was easy: two brothers searching monsters from city legends, the sorts of belongings you’d hear about whereas sitting round a campfire. Bloody Mary? They killed her. Hook Man? Yep, him too. Nevertheless it didn’t take lengthy for the writers to perceive that they could have to broaden the scope of the present in the event that they needed to get 20-plus episodes (a lot much less 300). “We quickly realized that [conceit] would run out in a hurry, so even early on we expanded our horizons of what the show could be,” government producer/co-showrunner Robert Singer says. However simply how far might they stretch? And would they even get the prospect?
Regardless of surviving the 2006 WB–UPN merger that created The CW, it took years for Supernatural to land on strong floor. “Bob Singer and I were fighting for the show’s survival at the ends of the first three seasons,” says creator Eric Kripke. “We’d have a meeting with the network that we informally called the ‘explain-why-we-should-give-you-another-season’ meeting.” And but there was one thing about these circumstances that felt proper for a present about two people making an attempt to save the world from superhuman forces. As Dean just lately stated in a season 14 episode, “Impossible odds—feels like home.” However the land of unattainable odds isn’t merely the place the present (and the Winchesters) lived in these early years. It’s the place they thrived. “In the beginning we almost mischievously wanted to see what we could get away with,” Kripke says. “There weren’t a lot of genre shows on The CW. It was mostly Gossip Girl and 90210. We were always like the goth kid at the back of the class that no one really wanted to pay attention to. So on this little weird horror show, we really got to push some boundaries that hadn’t been attempted in TV. There was no one saying, ‘That’s too crazy.’” In order that they took dangers. They wrote a Groundhog Day-style episode referred to as “Mystery Spot” that noticed Dean die greater than 100 occasions in a single hour. They created “Hollywood Babylon,” an episode the place Sam and Dean investigated a haunted horror-movie set. They produced “Ghostfacers,” an episode shot to appear to be a actuality present about ghost searching. “We always felt like we were on tenterhooks a little, but it helped us in a way,” Singer says. “We said, ‘If they don’t like us, let’s be bold.’ ” And in season four, they made maybe their largest, boldest choice but: They launched angels (and subsequently a way more spiritual story line) into the fold, which Singer identifies because the present’s largest turning level. “I was concerned that would be a bridge too far,” Padalecki says of the angelic determination. “I wondered, ‘Are we going to turn o a lot of the people that came here to watch a scary movie?’” Kripke himself had fought the thought for years, till a pre–season four epiphany got here to him whereas he was washing his face, of all issues. “I realized the supernatural world was unbalanced,” Kripke says. “There was only evil. So I walked in the writers’ room on day one of season 4 and said, ‘Okay, there’s going to be angels…but they’re dicks!’”
Thus started what Kripke, who’s since created Revolution and co-created Timeless, nonetheless believes is among the greatest hours of tv he’s ever written: the season four premiere. “Lazarus Rising” launched Castiel, the present’s first and longest-lasting angel. “Right before my scene, [then writer] Sera [Gamble] said, ‘Your life is about to change,’” remembers Misha Collins, who performs Castiel. He provides with amusing, “I was like, ‘You’re so full of yourself.’” However Collins’ life did simply that when he shifted from being a visitor star to a collection common as his character survived a number of deaths — and even a quick stint as God — to turn out to be somebody Sam and Dean contemplate family. “Angels completed the mythology,” Kripke says, and with them, the present was in a position to construct to what writer-turned-showrunner Gamble refers to because the “regularly scheduled apocalypse” on the finish of season 5. It was good versus evil. Michael versus Lucifer. Dean versus Sam. And for some time, everybody believed it was the top of the present. However when the community gave them a renewal for season 6, the writers have been left to work out what the heck comes after an apocalypse. The reply? Something they needed.
“A benefit of genre is we have such a huge runway in terms of ‘anything can happen,’” then author and present co-showrunner Andrew Dabb says. “A medical show is limited in the scope of what they can do. We’re not.” So the subsequent few seasons noticed Supernatural push much more boundaries, with alternate realities, meta episodes (“The French Mistake,” anybody?), and new villains. That’s not to say all the things labored, however that’s the great thing about a long-running present with a faithful viewers — every thing doesn’t have to work. “Fans would forgive sins of certain episodes because they love watching Sam and Dean,” Singer says. As a result of saying Supernatural followers like Supernatural is like saying Dean likes pie. It’s not about liking it. It’s about loving it. “I don’t think we have casual fans,” Singer says. “They live and breathe this show.” The #SPNFamily gathers throughout the nation (and globe) for a number of conventions annually, and each July they ll the most important venue, Corridor H, at San Diego Comedian-Con. It’s these followers who’re devoted to Sam and Dean, even when their Impala may take a mistaken flip. “The show’s ability to evolve and adapt is what’s led to it lasting 14 years,” Dabb says, including, “Theoretically there are still a bunch of Leviathan out there running around that we never dealt with, but we don’t talk about that.”
Limitless choices and viewer forgiveness apart, there’s one rule the present has to comply with — outdoors of requirements and practices, that’s. “I credit Bob Singer for instilling from very early on the idea that the show can go anywhere as long as the characters stay true to themselves,” former showrunner Jeremy Carver says. “The core of the show is the bond between the brothers.” With Sam and Dean as its basis, the present could make episodes like season 11’s “Baby,” which was shot solely from the attitude of the Impala, or season 13’s “Scoobynatural,” an animated crossover with Scooby-Doo and the gang. “One of the fun takeaways of watching Supernatural is that if you can imagine it, there’s probably a little town somewhere in America where it’s happening,” Gamble says. “It’s unlike any other show, really, in the history of American television.” And 14 seasons in, it’s nonetheless discovering methods to shock followers by, say, bringing John Winchester again.
Standing subsequent to his little brother within the Males of Letters bunker, Dean can’t consider what he’s seeing. This time he’s not enlisting his brother to discover Dad, as a result of Dad has come to them. And he hasn’t modified a lot. His beard has extra grey in it and his face is thinner, however it can shock nobody that John comes again with a rifle in his hand. (Sorry, Strolling Lifeless followers; the rifle got here earlier than Lucille.) However John isn’t the one one who’s modified. Standing throughout from him, Sam and Dean are not the youngsters who crammed toy military males into the ashtray of the Impala, and even the younger males who went in search of him within the pilot. They’ve grown up. Their lives, fairly merely, have modified. The identical may be stated of the actors themselves. Actually, Ackles is at present two years older than Morgan was when he filmed the pilot. “That’s how full circle it all is,” Morgan says. “Like a father would be, I’m very proud of the guys. It makes me get choked up because they’ve done so well here. Episode 300? That’s unheard of.”
As for a way John comes again, let’s simply say issues get bizarre — don’t they all the time? — and there’s an altered actuality at play. “Our guys are put in a position where they essentially can have a wish granted,” Dabb says. “They’re actually expecting something else, but [John’s return] comes from a place of want by Dean. The need for closure is really what brings John back into their lives.” However John isn’t the one one that comes again into their lives. As with all altered actuality, not every little thing modifications for the great. With out getting too particular, no matter brings John again additionally causes the return of Zachariah (Kurt Fuller), the no-BS angel who noticed Sam and Dean as nothing greater than thorns in his aspect. (Like Kripke stated, angels are dicks!) Talking of angels, this actuality additionally impacts Castiel in… sure methods. This time the boys are coping with a unique (although not solely unfamiliar) model of their pal.
However for Morgan, who’s been requested for years about returning, it has all the time been about bringing John again in the correct means. “The relationships between these three men were so open, so if I was going to come back, it would be nice to have some closure, especially with Sammy,” Morgan says. And earlier than the hour’s over, each boys will get a second alone with Dad. “This episode gives Sam a chance to forgive,” Padalecki says. Ackles provides, “For Dean, the whole episode is a dream that he doesn’t want to wake up from. But he knows he has to.”
Again within the bunker’s kitchen the place Padalecki declared “reunion time” simply hours in the past, Sam and Dean are sitting round a desk sharing a bottle of whiskey with their father and catching him up on every little thing he’s missed. Sure, they’ve saved the world (greater than as soon as). Sure, Lucifer has a son. However most necessary, John’s late spouse, Mary — the lady he spent his life making an attempt to avenge — is alive. Proper then Mary rounds the nook for the second she by no means noticed coming, however in a wierd approach has all the time been ready for. “Everything’s right in the world in this bubble of time,” Samantha Smith, who performs Mary, says of the couple’s reunion. “It’s very romantic.”
However because the Winchesters know a bit too properly, all good issues should come to an finish. And when that is stated and carried out, Sam and Dean will return to their life, driving down loopy road subsequent to one another. As a result of regardless of the present hitting 300 episodes, no one’s prepared to name it quits simply but. “I don’t think we’re ready to throw in the towel,” Ackles says. “We’ve still got a little gas in the tank.” Put one other approach, Sam and Dean nonetheless acquired work to do.
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