There’s a sense of déjà vu happening in the Supernatural fandom today – for me at least. For the second time this year, we now know when Supernatural will film its last scenes.
Way back in the spring, before the entire world changed and we were plunged into a pandemic, we thought we knew when Supernatural filming would end. We counted down to that date with mixed emotions – something to anticipate and be proud of, because it was to be the culmination of fifteen years of an amazing show – but also something to dread, because it would mean the show that has changed my life would truly be at an end.
As filming began on the penultimate episode (some people do say ‘penultimate’, Sam) we were all steeling ourselves for that ending. Not just the fandom, but the cast and crew too. It is a very big thing to end something that has been your life for that long, especially something that has meant so much. The actors were exhausted but had themselves in the emotional and psychological space to “bring those boys home” and were determined to do it in a way that did them justice. I consoled myself with knowing that we’d have conventions with them right after they finished filming, so we could ‘be there’ for them to process it and hear from them about how it went and how they felt and just be reassured that they were okay.
Everything changed when production shut down in March, so quickly that Misha Collins commented on his #SuperGood livestream yesterday that he impulsively grabbed a trenchcoat and some other memorabilia that would be incredibly important to him because he didn’t know if they would ever be back. The May 18 date that had been set in stone for the series finale to air also disappeared, and with it all the coping mechanisms that I had carefully put in place to be sure I was surrounded by my close friends and fellow fans as I watched it. A planned pilgrimage to Lawrence Kansas to pay homage to the show’s roots, a viewing party with friends, a few days off afterwards to deal with the overwhelming emotions I know I’ll have. Poof. Everything swept away.
The conventions that we thought we’d have to see and hear from the actors after filming ended and after the finale aired also were rescheduled, of course, including the SXSW panel celebrating fifteen years of the show that had been planned for March. Suddenly the Supernatural fandom was plunged into limbo, with thirteen episodes of the season aired and seven held up (five filmed but needing post production and the last two not filmed). There was a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety in the midst of the overwhelming anxiety of a global pandemic. Would they get to film the final two episodes? If so, when? How? Could the cast stay safe enough to film them in the way they had originally planned? What would have to change, if not?
Supernatural is my comfort place. I love knowing Sam and Dean and Cas are out there, ready to save the [fictional] world. I love the familiarity of the show, the feeling of ‘knowing’ the characters and that world. I love knowing the actors fully inhabit their characters, making them real, and caring about them as much as we do. I love being immersed in a fandom that is vibrant and energetic and full of creative inspiration and people who want to talk about Supernatural as much as I do. It has been hard not having new episodes of the show as we deal with the heartbreak and frustration of the pandemic. But I realize I’ve been clinging to the fact that Sam and Dean and Cas will be back. That Supernatural will back. That the world and the characters I love so much still exist out there. When the show didn’t end in May as planned, it sort of seemed like maybe the Winchesters would thwart the odds once again. Maybe what we said for all those years really would come true: Supernatural will never end.
Of course, we knew it would, one way or another. And believe me, I’m unspeakably grateful that it will get to end on its own terms, filmed in Vancouver where it belongs and hopefully with the crew that has been such an integral part of the show from the beginning. I’m grateful that the cast cares so much that Misha needed that trenchcoat, that Jared has said that he never wants to say goodbye to Sam, that Jensen just posted about missing Comic Con and has called Dean his best imaginary friend ever. I know they will put their hearts and souls into wrapping up this show the way it should be.
But right now, I’m reeling from knowing that end date. Filming resumes August 18 and ends on September 11. Seeing it in black and white makes the finality of it and the reality of it inescapable. My show – the one that changed my life and gave me so much for fifteen years – is actually going to end on that day. The fictional characters who are so familiar and comforting and inspiring to me will interact for the last time on the show as it has been. To someone on the outside, that might seem like a silly thing to be emotional about, but that is only because they don’t fully understand what Supernatural has meant to so many of us. I’m not going to apologize for the tissues I’m using up this afternoon.
I’m excited to see those last seven episodes, and I trust this cast and crew to pull out all the stops and give us the ending our favorite characters deserve, but damn, it turns out I am not ready to let this go.
Back in May, when the show was supposed to end, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done: Actors and Fans Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural was released. We intended for it to be something for us all to hold onto as the show’s final episode aired – the heartfelt words of the actors who brought the show to life to remind us of how much Supernatural and the SPN Family have meant to them too. The equally heartfelt words of fans whose lives have been changed or even saved by the show. This show is special, and I don’t ever want to forget that. As that final filming date draws near and the last episodes of Supernatural are aired, we hope that the book will be a comfort and a way of remembering this little show that became so important to so many.
Since I clearly won’t be at a watch party in Lawrence Kansas when that final episode does air, I’m counting on all of you to ‘be there’ with me, even if we’re all online from all corners of the world – because I’m going to need all the support I can get. And all the tissues.
And maybe I’m going to hold onto a little bit of hope that, as Jensen Ackles’ chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done concludes, “And let’s be clear. Supernatural will never end. The show might, but what it has built? This will never end. Besides, nothing ever stays dead on Supernatural.”
You can find There’ll Be Peace When You
Are Done and Family Don’t End With Blood at