When Supernatural ended in November after 15 years and over 320 episodes, many found its finale somewhat lacking. It now transpires that a far more celebratory denouement was planned, but COVID-19 restrictions made it unfeasible.
The final episode saw Dean dying tragically and somewhat pointlessly in a routine vampire hunt, which also served as a callback to the first season’s “Dead Man’s Blood” that introduced such creatures to the show, and ascending to heaven while Sam has to carry on without him. While Dean goes for a drive in Baby, we see Sam living out his life; settling down, starting a family, growing old, and eventually passing away peacefully with his son by his side. The pair reunite on a bridge in heaven reminiscent of the one that played a key role in the pilot episode, after what was about half an hour for Dean and about 60 years for Sam, their Earthly work finally over.
The souvenir photography collection Supernatural: 15 Seasons – The Crew Member’s Souvenir Book contains a statement from showrunner Andrew Dabb detailing the original plan, though, and how it was unfortunately derailed, and you can read it down below:
“Dean was always going to end up in Heaven, and we were always going to see Sam’s life in fast-forward, but those final moments were supposed to take place somewhere else.
“When Bob Singer and I sat down to talk about season 15, and our inevitable end, we came up with something that felt like a fitting version of Sam and Dean’s Heaven: all the people the boys had met along the way (or, at least, those we could convince to fly to Vancouver) crowded into a re-built Roadhouse, as the band Kansas played our (official unofficial) theme song: ‘Carry on Wayward Son.’
“And that was our plan right up until mid-March. Jerry Wanek and his crew built an amazing set, the last in fifteen years of awesome, inspired work. But then COVID struck. We shut down, and when we opened back up in August, getting that many people in an enclosed space, much less traveling some of our favorites from LA and making them quarantine two weeks for what would be a half day’s work, just wasn’t realistic. Even Kansas, always game, didn’t feel like they could make that trip, which we completely understood.
“And so that Supernatural ending… ended. I love what we have now, Dean in the car on the open road, but I have to admit that I sometimes think about our original idea — all of Sam and Dean’s family and friends, and one of the greatest rock bands ever on a masterpiece of a set, and I miss it … even though it never really existed.
“I miss what it could have been.”
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Family doesn’t end with blood, as Bobby told Dean in season 3 finale “No Rest For the Wicked,” with many of the allies that the Winchesters gathered and lost over the years being closer to them than their actual relations. Seeing the likes of John, Mary, Bobby, Ellen, Jo, Kevin, Charlie, Claire, Donna, Jody and Garth all gathered together would have made for a powerful visual that emphasizes the sprawling network that the brothers’ lives touched.
Despite its divisive nature among the fandom, the ending of Supernatural was about as good as it could have been under the circumstances. However, like Dabb says, it’s possible to miss something that never existed, and had the series gone out on such a resonant moment, it would likely have been so much more.