May 18 is a day circled in many colors on my wall calendar, and a day that will always bring a jolt of emotion. It’s the day that Supernatural was supposed to air its last episode ever – its series finale. The day that Supernatural was supposed to end. I was supposed to be in Lawrence, Kansas, right now, gathered with fellow fans and friends (and lots of tissues) so we could support each other through that ending, in the place where the story began. Instead, I’m in my living room on my laptop, but I know that all over the world, fans are joining me in thinking about the significance of May 18 and the eventual ending of Supernatural.
For a long time, it’s a day that I was both looking forward to and dreading. This little show and its incredible fictional characters have been so important to me that losing it seemed on par with some of the most momentous occasions of my life. That might sound silly to someone who has never been a passionate fan and part of a passionate fan community, but it’s true. May 18 was going to be a day that I probably am never going to be prepared for.
The universe had other plans, and now we’re in what sometimes feels like a real life apocalypse, waiting for it to be safe for the cast and crew to film the final two episodes and for the final seven to be ready for broadcast. Sometime this fall, the CW promises, we’ll take our last ride with the Winchesters and Cas and Jack. I probably still won’t be ready.
We put together a new book, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, as a way of coping with the end of this special show. Both actors and fans came together to celebrate the legacy of Supernatural in a book that we hope is as inspiring (and beautiful, with fans contributing photography and original art) as the show itself. Jared and Jensen’s chapters bring together some of the emotional things they’ve said over the past year about the show ending, as a comfort and inspiration to fans, plus some new thoughts about Sam and Dean’s legacy. Misha Collins includes a special message to end the book, short but heartfelt. Fourteen other Supernatural actors and one of the show’s writers wrote chapters sharing their personal experiences on the show and with the fandom, and seventeen Supernatural fans also wrote from the heart about how the show and its characters and the fandom community have changed their lives. Actors and fans wrote from diverse perspectives and celebrated the show’s evolution in reflecting that same diversity.
We planned for the book to come out in May so that fans would have it to hang onto, as a source of comfort and hope and positivity, when the show came to an end. Somehow we pulled that impossible timetable off and the book went to print before the show went on a last surprise hiatus. The best laid plans, right? But now it seems like this is a time when we all need messages of hope and inspiration more than ever, especially from our favorite show and characters and actors and our fellow fans. Maybe it was for the best that There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done came out in May after all – we are all facing a lot of loss and uncertainty right now, so we hope this will be a source of comfort that helps to get us through.
And when that May 18 replacement date gets set and Supernatural does come to an end later this year, we hope you can reread the heartfelt messages of hope and inspiration in the book and get through that too. In the meantime, here are a few excerpts from There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done to get you through today!
It’s clear from their chapters that both actors and fans have been changed by this little show, and that it will always be important, to all of us.
Over the years (and lots of therapy!), I’ve gradually come closer to feeling like that brave, strong little girl I once was, which was why it was so important to me to portray Linda Tran on Supernatural. And although I still feel like a misfit and an outsider at times, I realize now that most people probably feel that way—our situations and particular details might be different, but we, as humans, are all much more alike than different. Perhaps that’s what has bound the Supernatural family so close together. We are all—fans, crew, and cast—a bunch of bighearted misfits who have come together around a show that we all love. At the end of the day, we all long for that sense of belonging.
– Lauren Tom (Linda Tran)
The best thing to come from the SPNFamily and Supernatural for me was the opportunity to do some good works in the world. I want to give full credit to Misha Collins for paving the way as the innovator and leader of the community in our charitable efforts. What is so rewarding about this experience is that it’s something I never would have chosen to do on my own. The “Less Than Three” campaign came out of the social interactions and conversations I had with people online who were following me, in a completely organic way… And again, we come back to family. The truly extraordinary, unique, inclusive SPNFamily.
-David Haydn-Jones (Arthur Ketch)
There’s another way in which Supernatural has changed my life. I can’t express how happy I am to have become friends with the cast members. I know I can reach out to any of the SPN ladies (not discounting the men here, but the SPN ladies are something special) when I need advice or I am feeling low, or when I’m stuck across town and want to kill a few hours. This was the best unexpected side effect of being cast on this show, and I am forever grateful to be a part of the SPNFamily. There is nothing more important than having magical women in your life that you can trust to show your entire true self to—the good, the bad, the ugly, the badass. How lucky I am that Supernatural has given me that . . . and so much more.
– Julie McNiven (Anna Milton)
That camaraderie and built-in support group that Julie talks about in her chapter is exactly what so many of us have found in the fandom as well. When you can be real with people, when your creativity and self expression is supported, that can be life changing.
I’m grateful to have had Supernatural with me through such big changes in my life. Graduating from high school, moving to college, coming to terms with the importance of getting the help I need . . . Supernatural has consistently been there for me when everything else was changing around me. I still struggle with anxiety every day, but finding ways to cope with that has been absolutely crucial to where I am now. In the past three years, I have made over 250 videos about the show. I have been to more than fifteen Supernatural conventions, traveled the country, met so many people from all over the world, made more friends than I could have ever imagined, built a platform on YouTube, found my voice. I started fighting for what I believe in, came to terms with my anxiety, helped some of my favorite charities, and worked with some of the most incredible people. All of that was because of Supernatural, and the inspiration from Jared’s “Always Keep Fighting” campaigns.
A good pal of mine once said to me that though I always seemed happy, now I seem like I’m who I’m supposed to be. It made me laugh. I said, “Yeah, I feel like that too.” She asked what had changed. I said, “Well you know what, as buckets of crazy as this might sound to you, it was Supernatural and everything that’s come along with it.” The brothers, the story, the cast, the crew, the fans, the friends, the conventions, the love and acceptance. It was seeing actors release long desired albums, bloggers become showrunners, and other fans putting their art on the line. It’s given me the courage to take risks. Big ones. It’s given me the desire to learn, to do good in this world, and to be a better and more accepting person. It’s changed my internal and external gaze and expanded my horizons. It’s helped redefine who I am. I have a community where I feel wholly represented and uniquely embraced, like a wave of people have my back: the Supernatural Family, who always encourage me in absolutely everything I do; the cast, who embolden me; my friends; and, of course, my amazing family, who supported my decision to flip my life 100 percent and are so very proud of me for taking a great big leap of faith. All of this has helped form me into a person that I understand (mostly), and that I’ve grown to love. It helped me reach for and follow my dream. I’m writing full-time, every single day. And that book I was telling you about? Guess what? I finished it.
I’m in the driver’s seat of my own life now; I’m no longer riding shotgun.
And to think, it all started with a couple of boys on a TV show.
The cast and fans are also aware that the show has changed the world on a broader scale, and helped countless people “always keep fighting”.
Over fifteen years, Supernatural has shown it is far more than your average genre show about handsome dudes who fight monsters. The story of two brothers in an epic battle between good and evil, who continuously (re)negotiate their family bonds with one another and those deemed honorary “Winchesters,” continues to resonate with fans and likely will for years to come. The longevity of the fandom, and fans’ engagement with one another and the series’ stars both online and in person at conventions, has fostered a crucible of emotional energy that has led to social movement–style activism. This dialogue with fans has also led to more well-developed women characters and stronger story arcs. The main legacy of Supernatural, however, may be its efficaciousness in motivating people to lift each other up and try to do more to benefit their communities and the world. When it comes to saving people and continuing to fight, the SPNFamily has shown there’s always a way.
– Tanya Cook and Kaela Joseph
That’s the way change happens. Every single one of us lives our life always looking out from behind the same two eyes. We can try to imagine what the world looks like through other people’s eyes, but no matter how vivid our imagination is, we are bound by our own experiences. We’re limited to our own perception. I think the most compelling stories take you out from behind your own two eyes and allow you to look at things through a different sort of lens. Until that happens, I don’t think anyone can ever realize what their own personal lens is. But the conversation I saw after “There’s Something About Mary” was exciting and interesting, and most importantly, it looked at Eileen’s death through her own two eyes, even though that wasn’t the same lens the rest of the show was shown through.
– Shoshannah Stern (Eileen Leahy)
We started out thinking we were making a horror show about monsters, but it became clear pretty quickly that’s not what made the show important. So many fans have told me that what is special is that it’s a show about two brothers who will do anything to fight for each other and to fight to save the world. Not in a way that people tell them to or according to what’s written in a book, but by making their own choices about what’s right and wrong and always trying to do what’s right. That’s the legacy of the show and that’s what has made a difference.
– Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester)
Sam has changed me and helped me be more thoughtful about those things. I think most of us, like Sam, probably do struggle to forgive ourselves sometimes. But I feel like Sam’s actions have been kind and sacrificial and loyal, and I have always wanted him to keep fighting—for his brother, for his family, to save people. I value that about him. The way the Winchesters have faced insurmountable odds inspires me and hopefully others to keep on working as hard as we can.
– Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester)
Richard Speight, Jr. kind of sums it up in his chapter.
The “Supernatural” take on family ain’t the Lifetime version. It’s dark, it’s rough, it’s painful, it’s broken. It may not be a perfect family, but it’s our family. It may not be a perfect world, but it’s our world. And I think the way Sam and Dean and Castiel choose to navigate that world and how they deal with each other along the way is inspirational to a lot of people and will continue to be an inspiration for a very long time.
-Richard Speight, Jr. (Gabriel)
We hope that There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done will inspire you, as a reminder of just how special Supernatural is and always will be, and how much it has meant to all the SPNFamily, cast and crew and fans alike. I look forward to celebrating with you all when that new May 18th date happens (with all those tissues I had ready) – and to keep celebrating Supernatural and what we have all built with it for a very long time.
You can order a copy at the link below – we hope its positive messages inspire and help you, and every purchase also helps the rest of the world by benefiting Random Acts and SPNSurvivors, organizations whose charitable work is more important now than ever.
And if you read the book, let me know in the comments which chapters inspired you the most!