The Winchesters finally just showed all its cards, offering an explanation for why events have played out differently for Mary (Meg Donnelly) and John (Drake Rodger) than they did on Supernatural. The team finally met up with Dean (Jensen Ackles), who they had been trying to track down for most of the season. He was the one who gave John the letter and the Men of Letters key, and now we know why. After dying and going to Heaven in the Supernatural series finale, Dean got wind of the Akrida and their plan to wipe out humanity. In his efforts to keep the Akrida away from his own earth, where Sam (Jared Padalecki) was still living out the rest of his life, he came across this universe and saw an opportunity both to protect it and to give these alternate versions of his parents a chance at a happy life together. He introduced himself as James Hetfield (lead singer of Metallica), gave John his own hunter’s journal, and warned Mary about the Yellow Eyes demon before disappearing alongside his other heavenly cohorts—Bobby (Jim Beaver), Jack (Alexander Calvert) and Baby (1967 Chevy Impala). Now, John, Mary, and their friends and family are free to forge their own path and hopefully get a much happier ending than they did on Supernatural.
Thematically, it’s like The Winchesters just gave us the ending that Supernatural couldn’t back in 2020. Death has almost never been the end in Sam and Dean’s world, and after 15 years spent reckoning with the mistakes and tragedies made and suffered by their parents, it makes sense that Dean would find a way to give them what they never had before and prevent the cycle from repeating. Not only did The Winchesters give Supernatural an ending, but it gave itself a perfect possible ending, while also making it clear that it’s not an ending at all. That’s not an easy feat, but it’s exactly what showrunner Robbie Thompson set out to do when Ackles and wife Danneel came to him with the idea.
“All of us, having watched Supernatural and some having lived it for 15 years, knew that [young John and Mary] didn’t quite line up with what had happened,” Thompson tells TV Guide. “We were all united in that it was kind of like a physician’s Do No Harm. We did not want to do anything that would offend the past, present, or future of Supernatural.”
So Thompson and the rest of the team turned to Supernatural’s long history of exploring generational trauma, “the sins of the father and the mother, and in this case, coming back and haunting the children.” They needed to find a way to keep the mythology of Supernatural intact and allow for a future in which Ackles and Padalecki could “put the boots back on” if they so choose. Plus, it had to be a story for Dean, and it would all come to a head in episode 13, regardless of how many episodes the first season would actually have. Conveniently, the mothership had already established that the multiverse exists, and as Thompson says, “the multiverse always needs a Dean Winchester.”
So what does this alternate universe ending mean for The Winchesters and for the future of the world of Supernatural? Thompson weighs in on that and more (including Dean’s new 1970s look) below.