Fans behold, The Winchesters are set to grace our screens once again though as opposed to the original series Supernatural, the prequel series will chronicle Sam and Dean’s parents Mary and John hunting the demons in 1972. The idea for the spin-off series first came to Supernatural alum Jensen Ackles and his wife Danneel Ackles, during the pandemic. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, the duo along with series showrunner Robbie Thompson spoke of the influence of the original series and the casting of new talent.
The legacy and lore of Supernatural run far and wide with 15 seasons running between 2005-2020 making it the longest-running American live-action fantasy TV series. It has a passionate fanbase and while planning the spin-off the makers felt the challenge was to “not change anything” about the original series, that they now call ‘mothership’. Speaking of the reaction, Jensen says that a lot of people had questions like, “Hang on, are you changing the lore? Is this like Back to the Future, where Dean and Sam are going to start to disappear in the picture?” However, he affirms is isn’t, adding, “We obviously don’t want to change anything that was experienced on what we lovingly call the mothership.”
Thompson who worked on the mothership between Season 7 to 11 and has penned some fan-favorite episodes like the 200th episode, ‘Fan Fiction’ and ‘Baby,’ considers the team a “part of the Supernatural fandom.” So while accepting the showrunner duties the question that intrigued him the most was, “How do we do this but keep Supernatural exactly the way it is?” Danneel adds, “Everybody who’s involved in this project loves this show. We have lived this show for 15 years; it’s a family member. So just trust us that we’re going to take care of it.”
Once the prequel idea was set in place the next thing was to cast the right people. Jensen himself will narrate the story of John Winchester and Mary Campbell in the 1970s, long before they get married and have two kids. Fans are already familiar with the version of John and Mary played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Matt Cohen, and by Samantha Smith and Amy Gumenick, respectively. Thompson reveals, “We talked about that contrast a lot. There’s the Jeffery Dean Morgan John, who is amazing and complicated and dark, and then there’s Matt Cohen’s John, who was the kid who was abandoned by his father at four, at least from his point of view, and who went off to Vietnam early.”
While casting for Mary per Thompson, the question loomed “who is the kid who, much like her own children, got handed a knife at such a young age and was told that the monster under her bed was not only real but here’s how to kill it?” Hence, after grilling 30-hours chemistry reads, Drake Rodger and Meg Donnelly were chosen as the series leads. “Being able to dive into that and stay true to who they are but also show this different slice of their lives and different perspective on them has been a blast,” Thompson concludes.