Today is the last day of filming for Supernatural, after fifteen seasons on the air. It took me a season to truly fall in love with the show, but once I did, I fell head over heels – and in fourteen years, I haven’t looked back. Others’ stories are different, but where we’ve ended up is the same. All over the world today, people whose lives have been touched by Supernatural are feeling the loss of something that is so much more than a television show. There’s a collective grieving, a sense of shared overwhelming emotion, that I’m grateful for – one of the most powerful things about fandom is its validation, and I feel that today. There are plenty of people in my everyday life who don’t really understand what a big loss this is, but there are plenty of people in the SPNFamily who do.
At the same time, there’s also a worldwide celebration of a little show that began on The WB and was an unlikely candidate for fifteen seasons and an incredible impact. The show itself and its brilliantly depicted fictional characters have been an inspiration to me, like they have been for so many other fans. For fifteen years, the Winchesters, and soon after, Castiel, have faced seemingly insurmountable odds – and have come out swinging again and again. The ‘monsters’ they’ve faced have been literal, but they have also been figurative: addiction, depression, PTSD, loneliness. Struggles with identity and purpose and finding one’s mission in life. The challenges of family, both by blood and chosen. The very things that we all struggle with are things these fictional characters have faced, again and again and again. And yet, no matter what the challenge, again and again they have persevered. Always Keep Fighting is a mantra for us all in real life, but it has also been the mantra of the show since the beginning. And that has made Sam, Dean and Cas incredibly important to many of us.
The final seven episodes of Supernatural won’t start airing until October and the series finale won’t happen until November 19. But for me, there’s a tremendous sense of loss knowing that today may be the last time that these fictional characters who are so real to me will exist in the world. No, I’m not delusional, but psychologically our attachment to fictional characters who become very familiar over time is significant. We have the same biochemical reactions in our brains when we watch our favorite television show with our most beloved fictional characters as we do when we sit down to dinner with our loved ones in real life. It’s powerful, and especially in stressful times like these, it helps us feel a sense of safety and satisfaction. I am going to miss them so, so much.
I fell in love with Sam and Dean Winchester watching one of the first episodes of Season 2, as Dean broke down and tearfully confided to his brother that he was not all right, and Sam’s anguish at his brother’s pain was equally palpable. I realized at that moment that this show was so much more than its monster-of-the-week episodes, and that these characters had a depth that pulled me right in, hook line and sinker. I realized too that these actors weren’t just pretty faces (though that was a bonus) – they were willing and able to portray that depth, expressing emotions that ran the gamut, just like real life. Their acting sold their portrayals of these characters, just as Jensen and Jared’s real life friendship sold their love as brothers. I will never, I don’t think, feel this way about fictional characters again, as long as I live.
When Misha Collins arrived – whether he expected this or not – Jared and Jensen pulled him into that norm of openness and vulnerability and he rose to the challenge, forging his own friendships in real life and crafting distinct and complex relationships for Castiel and each of the brothers.
Knowing that today those characters will say their last words to each other is hard for me to get my head around. I can’t even imagine how hard it will be for them. Yesterday, on the second to last day of filming, some of the crew tweeted photos of the beautiful Vancouver locations they were filming at, and Jim Michaels and Kevin Parks shared photos of the Impala. I began to tear up immediately, thinking of the actors looking out over the familiar Vancouver beauty. I felt a rush of gratitude that Baby was there with them. They’ll need her comfort, and she’ll comfort them and keep them safe, just like she has for the past fifteen years.
Today will be the last Quote of the Day, the last song, the last whiteboard that Jason Fischer shared with us every day, making us feel like truly part of the family.
Nobody knows how life will go for any of the actors or where each of their roads will take them. There may be a Netflix limited series someday or maybe even a film, but whatever there is, it won’t be exactly this. These actors who have worked together so closely have become brothers in real life. This crew, many of whom have been there since season one, who work together like a well oiled machine and who have been there for each other through births and deaths and marriages and divorces, are family. They have all loved this little show so much, so tangibly, turning down other opportunities to stay loyal to what they built together with Supernatural.
That love and loyalty and care have made all the difference; have made the show what it is.
We put together two books to make sure that we would always remember how special Supernatural is, both to its cast and crew and to its fans. Family Don’t End With Blood and There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done have chapter after chapter that attest to the importance of this show, and its ability to change – and even save – lives. More than thirty Supernatural actors and fans wrote from their hearts about what Supernatural and the SPNFamily has meant to them; hopefully the book and its photos and art and personal stories will be a comfort as the show reaches its end.
In their chapters in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, Jared and Jensen both express their deep love for Sam and Dean, and their reluctance to make this a goodbye. I’ve talked to them from time to time over the past year about their feelings on the end of the show, witnessing them go from protective denial and ‘let’s just throw ourselves into this last season’ to a gradual breakdown of that denial and starting to feel the strong emotions that come with that. I know they’re feeling it now, and that there will be tears today. Saying goodbye to their own characters, as well as saying goodbye to each other’s, is going to be very hard. Incredible actors that they are, they’ll channel all those real life feelings into their characters, and that will make the ending every bit as genuine as all those other scenes they’ve done that have broken my heart in two.
It’s the title of Jensen’s chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done. It’s about Sam and Dean, but it’s about Jared and Jensen and Misha and the entire SPNFamily too.
It helps somehow, knowing they’ve been as affected and changed by this show as we have. Jensen went back to the Men of Letters bunker as they tore down what apparently had been Dean’s room a day before, taking us along with him and letting us see his emotional reaction. I’m so grateful to have been along for this wild ride and that even now, at the end, they want to take us along on their journey.
Jensen: Goodbye, men of letters…
I also keep re-watching Jensen’s chat with Michael Rosenbaum, listening to him talk so genuinely about his friendships with Jared and Misha and how he thinks of this not as an ending of Supernatural, but as “let’s hang this in the closet for now, and we’ll dust her off down the road a bit.”
God, I hope so.
I don’t want to think that Sam and Dean and Cas aren’t out there somewhere, fighting insurmountable odds and trying to save the world — and each other. I don’t want to think they’ll never be on my screen again, that their stories won’t continue.
The loss is too big, if I think of it as forever.
For today, I’m sending all good thoughts northward towards Vancouver, and hoping Jared and Jensen (and anyone else who’s there on this last day) can feel it. I know I’ve told them many times, but I hope they really believe it – that these characters, this show, this SPN Family, have changed the world. We’ve made forever friends, discovered creativity we never knew we had, made the world a better place through all kinds of charitable endeavors from GISH to making sure an SPNFamily member had a safe place to live. We’ve been part of a worldwide community that makes us all feel less alone, all sparked by sharing a passion for a little TV show on The CW. We’ve been inspired by the Winchesters, and Castiel, and Jody and Charlie and Bobby and Donna and Ash and Jo and Ellen and Rowena and Jack and so many others to keep on fighting even when we felt like giving up – because that’s what they do.
I can never express my gratitude enough for all that Supernatural has given me.
As they film their last scenes and the words “that’s a wrap on Jared and Jensen” are called out, with a hitch in the voice no doubt, I hope the words of Kim Manners are ringing in their ears today. I hope they know they made him proud a thousand times over.
Kick it in the ass!
And take those boys home.
You can find the books written by the
Supernatural actors and fans at the pinned
article or at peacewhenyouaredone.com