Supernatural After 14 Seasons: Where Will Sam and Dean Travel Next?

Find out what the long-running CW series will never do, plus a few suggestions of storylines the Winchester brothers haven't yet explored.

by | March 7, 2019 | Comments

Starting with two brothers, a beloved Chevy Impala, and some demon-hunting equipment, Supernatural defied the odds to become one of the longest-running primetime shows in television history. It is also one of the few genre shows to break the tenth season mark, joining the classic Doctor Who in a very rarefied club of long, continuous production runs. When Rotten Tomatoes spoke with the cast and producers during a celebration of the program’s 300th episode, they all credited its longevity to two factors: first, stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, and second, the on-set family dynamic that now includes a large stable of recurring characters and eventual co-leads like Misha Collins.

“I think that my favorite [aspect] is the growing family dynamic of the show where the core cast, which used to be just Sam and Dean, has really become a legitimate group of people who very much love each other and care about each other,” said executive producer Brad Buckner.

That family feel was on display in the 300th episode, which aired last month, but it left us wondering where the show can go now. Have the Winchesters driven every highway, rural route, private drive, parkway and surface street in their never-ending relationship with forces beyond imaging? The CW doesn’t think so, considering the network has already renewed the program for a historic 15th season. But let’s take a look at some directions Supernatural could go next.

Alien Invasion

MARS ATTACKS!; Supernatural Jensen Ackles as Dean and Jared Padalecki as Sam (©Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection; Dean Buscher/The CW)

(Photo by Mars Attacks!: ©Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection; Supernatural: Dean Buscher/The CW)

To be sure, this is a pie-in-the-sky idea considering creator Eric Kripke‘s stated rule that aliens do not exist in the Supernatural universe. Over the years, the show has poked fun at its slight similarities to The X-Files via a handful of episodes in which aliens turn out to be fairies or frauds. It is a completely understandable decision as the show is literally called Supernatural. You really don’t expect to see E.T. or grey aliens plotting with Rowena (Ruth Connell) or Alternate Michael (various actors including Ackles).

But now that the image is in your mind, consider this little thought experiment: What if they suddenly arrived and defied everyone’s assumption that they were not real. What if the angels and demons had no knowledge of them and could not account for their existence? Suddenly, the assumed political paradigm of the cosmos is upended because God never mentioned that he created other life in the universe. Alliances would have to be made, as well.

It leads to plenty of questions. Are the aliens bound by the same rules of engagement? Do they have their own versions of angels and demons to contend with? Are there alien equivalents of Heaven and Hell? In which case, does each sentient alien race have one of its own and why would God make things so complicated?

For the boys, it would start with disbelief and, no doubt, an eventual alliance with at least one extraterrestrial. Similarly, their adversaries would be looking for the angle immediately. And that’s before the show even thinks to introduce a second alien species. But on a larger scale, it would be interesting to see all of these impossibly old spirits lose their sense of security because a completely unknown element is in orbit above the Earth.

Yeah, it’s a reach, but it would be a funny one.

A Return to the Road

"Lazarus Rising" - Jared Padalecki as Sam, Jensen Ackles as Dean in SUPERNATURAL on the CW. Photo credit: Sergei Bachlakov ©2008 THE CW NETWORK, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

(Photo by Sergei Bachlakov/The CW)

Since season 8, the Winchesters have had a place to call home within the bunker formerly used by the Men of Letters. It offers them a respite from their investigations even if it comes under attack from within and without all the time. But when it was first introduced, it was meant to change one key element of the show: Sam and Dean’s eternal journey across the country solving weird events. Six years later, it feels like the boys could lose the bunker and roam around essentially homeless. The material to write that story is there and, really, losing the sense of security the Bunker offers would be a huge shock to their systems — even more shocking than Sam or Dean getting possessed again.

And since it seems neither brother will ever have any semblance of a domestic life, removing their sense of home would reinforce that they are riding or dying together. This could go to the extreme of removing Castiel, Mary (Samantha Smith), and Jack (Alexander Calvert) — which would be a shocking turn at this point – but even if the five of them are forced to move from town to town, it could alter the program’s dynamic in unexpected and interesting ways.

Monsters of Myth

SUPERNATURAL Image SN2 - 0698 Pictured (L-R): Jared Padalecki as Sam and Jensen Ackles as Dean star in SUPERNATURAL on THE CW. Photo Credit: Michael Muller/The CW

(Photo by Michael Muller/The CW)

There was a time, 14 years ago, when the show was about Sam and Dean following up on urban legends and mythical creature sightings. Their dealings with Lucifer and the political structure of Heaven appeared later (even if it was seeded from the start). What if, suddenly, the forces of Heaven and Hell were gone? In the absence of demons and angels, wendigos, fairy folk, will-o’-the-wisps, jiangshi, and other creatures could try to hold sway upon the Earth. One imagines they would try to fill the power vacuum left by the departed angels and demons. It would reframe Sam and Dean’s mission and, possibly, create an end point for their fight as they clear away all of the supernatural creatures. Of course, they would be faced with the existential reality that evil can originate in humans without any supernatural source, but then it would be a different show.

Maybe that’s the Supernatural spin-off The CW would actually pick up to series.

The Road No One Will Take

Supernatural -- "Devil's Bargain" -- Image Number: SN1313a_0238b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Jensen Ackles as Dean and Jared Padalecki as Sam -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

(Photo by Dean Buscher/The CW)

There is definitely one version of the show producers say they will never try to do: one in which either Sam or Dean is gone permanently.

“The heart and soul of this show is really the relationship with the brothers,” executive producer Robert Singer told Rotten Tomatoes. “They just deliver and their personal relationship is so close. That really comes through on screen. I’ve actually done shows where the two actors weren’t quite as fond of each other, and I think that shows up on screen. But these guys are great and they just live in these characters and so it’s easy for us to write for them.”

Singer and Buckner both agreed that losing one of their leads would mean to end the show.

As it happens, Supernatural even offered its own example of what the show would look like with a Winchester brother absent: The survivor leaves the life and settles down. Now, we would love to see Ackles in show where he is a retired hero trying to adjust to the humdrum suburban world, but we wouldn’t want that show to be an “AfterSupernatural” style spin-off or, worse, a Padalecki-less season 16.

Nonetheless, Supernatural keeps finding ways to keep its flame alive. It bends the Winchesters into impossible shapes, ports them over to alternate realities, and even reunites them with long-lost family. It also keeps the politics of the Heavens strange and compelling. Maybe that’s enough fuel to get the Impala to season 20.

Supernatural airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.

Tag Cloud

italian Summer Film films laika Trivia Binge Guide casting hispanic Hulu scorecard award winner Image Comics Western universal monsters ABC Signature new york transformers royal family talk show Teen live event video VOD series NBA animated cartoon Trophy Talk Apple TV Plus independent Ellie Kemper Disney streaming service FX TIFF gangster binge elevated horror Mary Tyler Moore Mary poppins disaster Rocketman Tarantino Disney+ Disney Plus rom-coms black telelvision docudrama CMT Discovery Channel VH1 television Walt Disney Pictures BBC The Walking Dead Chilling Adventures of Sabrina science fiction strong female leads Rock Captain marvel french History Amazon crossover Red Carpet art house sag awards Animation Netflix Christmas movies TV Land vampires Grammys Hallmark Christmas movies godzilla blaxploitation Arrowverse Tokyo Olympics mob Academy Awards Esquire Black History Month DC streaming service harry potter President Extras documentaries Emmys emmy awards Kids & Family Peacock TLC YA Warner Bros. Writers Guild of America Spectrum Originals black comedy james bond Neflix Marvel Television Disney Channel south america marvel comics Exclusive Video cops remakes Marathons Anna Paquin social media Logo teaser 71st Emmy Awards Video Games 21st Century Fox movies rotten movies we love singing competition PaleyFest Trailer rotten ITV CBS All Access genre comiccon GIFs batman 2021 crime drama Year in Review composers Rocky zombie 24 frames reviews spanish language unscripted Pop Wes Anderson scary movies renewed TV shows TV BBC America Starz dreamworks critic resources Certified Fresh criterion witnail Calendar scary SDCC new star wars movies mission: impossible cancelled TV shows indiana jones kids IMDb TV comic book movies DC Comics Music prank 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards basketball Apple TV+ Marvel Studios Film Festival ghosts legend ID archives spider-verse police drama facebook name the review women Comedy Central First Look doctor who blockbuster fast and furious Rom-Com best romance 2016 a nightmare on elm street 2020 game show razzies Instagram Live Tomatazos American Society of Cinematographers cults supernatural Baby Yoda Action APB IFC hispanic heritage month sitcom book SXSW cancelled TV series Britbox ABC Family 2018 Television Critics Association Paramount Plus Sony Pictures high school 20th Century Fox X-Men action-comedy TV renewals king arthur TCA Countdown Adult Swim slasher cars Freeform Comic Book YouTube Red Heroines Biopics Sundance Now hidden camera hist cancelled Fargo diversity The Witch Nickelodeon 2017 Women's History Month Lifetime Watching Series biopic historical drama classics Crunchyroll Podcast werewolf Disney Plus HBO quibi Bravo Avengers political drama Alien DC Universe Mudbound screen actors guild Holiday GoT Universal Opinion TBS nfl critics olympics Infographic dceu Sundance TV dexter football rt labs dogs japanese zombies heist movie documentary Travel Channel Fox News Christmas Emmy Nominations dc medical drama Amazon Studios Brie Larson BAFTA rt labs critics edition comic books Premiere Dates Reality Competition Columbia Pictures MCU Cosplay Food Network Pride Month Ghostbusters The Purge anthology spain tv talk Valentine's Day The Walt Disney Company foreign Shudder serial killer 45 spider-man sequels book adaptation Election golden globes sports Paramount Network DirecTV jurassic park miniseries YouTube Premium Showtime concert CBS what to watch Tubi 90s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt sequel trailers Creative Arts Emmys nature Sci-Fi Television Academy ESPN biography TCM screenings Family monster movies Disney CNN news Acorn TV MSNBC popular wonder woman crime thriller 72 Emmy Awards finale El Rey adventure worst comic Quiz FXX christmas movies all-time spy thriller stand-up comedy psycho natural history kaiju Funimation ratings Classic Film aapi slashers Schedule know your critic Superheroe Comic-Con@Home 2021 deadpool australia OneApp BBC One rt archives thriller game of thrones superhero Hear Us Out comic book movie docuseries children's TV Superheroes Universal Pictures Oscars Cartoon Network suspense Mystery Martial Arts Fox Searchlight 1990s comics TV One Marvel Turner debate cancelled television HBO Go Vudu directors Sneak Peek hollywood BET Awards aliens theme song Cannes jamie lee curtis green book AMC Plus The CW canceled TV shows HBO Max Stephen King true crime Thanksgiving 4/20 Holidays festivals AMC MTV NBC richard e. Grant fresh feel good Set visit video on demand PBS Amazon Prime Video die hard latino VICE boxing zero dark thirty San Diego Comic-Con king kong Interview japan blockbusters toronto twilight space CW Seed mutant mcc Country Endgame Elton John superman festival FX on Hulu anime DGA romantic comedy A&E WGN Epix PlayStation stoner politics reboot Lucasfilm Character Guide movie mockumentary saw Lifetime Christmas movies comedies TV movies Apple worst movies Best and Worst cooking period drama Black Mirror 99% 73rd Emmy Awards Awards Horror E3 Pet Sematary Toys TruTV streaming Reality Netflix Spring TV cinemax ABC Musicals joker vs. halloween TCA Winter 2020 Spike NYCC Polls and Games cats 2019 RT21 Pirates Super Bowl free movies adenture new zealand FOX TCA 2017 USA Network adaptation Star Trek The Academy GLAAD 007 dark golden globe awards See It Skip It Winter TV halloween tv Pacific Islander Tumblr Nat Geo parents young adult Comedy Chernobyl ViacomCBS satire Star Wars Sundance toy story A24 Ovation canceled Hallmark technology war Lionsgate marvel cinematic universe RT History Pixar spanish live action revenge nbcuniversal justice league LGBTQ target chucky venice Crackle spinoff Syfy obituary USA Broadway kong Shondaland Musical SundanceTV crime travel Winners streaming movies National Geographic New York Comic Con sopranos First Reviews Legendary The Arrangement Photos Turner Classic Movies lord of the rings indie 93rd Oscars OWN discovery Dark Horse Comics child's play Paramount Fall TV TCA Awards asian-american versus Drama dramedy Masterpiece LGBT posters pirates of the caribbean Song of Ice and Fire stop motion scene in color boxoffice BET WarnerMedia TNT IFC Films YouTube breaking bad Mindy Kaling psychological thriller E! Nominations Fantasy international Pop TV 2015 Mary Poppins Returns dragons Amazon Prime franchise robots Comics on TV based on movie Box Office Awards Tour