It’s taken me two days, after Supernatural finished filming its last episode ever, to sit down and be calm enough to write about it. We knew the day was coming – in fact, we expected it to happen back on May 18. But then the pandemic pushed it back and I think I got lulled into a sense of complacency, as though now that it hadn’t ended in May, maybe it really wouldn’t end at all. All those years of saying “Supernatural will never end” felt prophetic – or maybe I just needed to stay in denial for a while to cope with everything else going on in the world.
Either way, ready or not (not), Supernatural filmed its last scenes on Thursday, September 10, 2020. As I’ve been doing for the past month, here’s a recap of that memorable day, and the few days before, so that we can always remember.
The cast and crew were wonderfully generous in sharing the end of their journey with us, so there were posts all week – often emotional ones, as they dealt with their own feelings of both loss and pride, in making something that became so important to so many. Fandom emotions also ran high, so there were eruptions of fear and sadness and anger spilling out in sometimes unexpected ways or at unsuspecting targets. It was an odd reminder that no community is a utopia – there are always disagreements, in groups and out groups, jockeying for power. Fandom is a group, after all, and that’s what happens in groups. But in the midst of those things, there was also celebration and support and the validation that comes only from someone else really “getting it”.
Michael Rosenbaum’s InsideOfYou podcast aired his chat with Jensen Ackles on Tuesday, taped during the start of his quarantine in Vancouver (when he still had that glorious quarantine hair!) The podcast and youtube video were a breath of fresh air, as Jensen and Michael reminisced like old friends and Jensen talked about the end of Supernatural. We were all happily distracted from the looming ending for an afternoon, and I was grateful.
In their chapters in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, Jensen and Jared both talked about how the relationships they’ve made through Supernatural are the most important thing the show has given them. Jensen touched on that with Michael too.
Jensen: I’ve got my friendship with Misha. Jared’s got his friendship with Misha. And then Jared and I have our friendship. But then also we have this kind of triangular relationship as well that’s just works. It works in a public form and works in a private form.
And has been one of the main reasons this show has run for 15 seasons. Lightning in a bottle, and I can’t imagine it ever being duplicated.
He laughed when Michael asked if he’d ever seen Jared cry.
Jensen: Like for real? Oh yeah.
He said they’d seen each other emotional, in fact, which isn’t at all surprising. My guess is there have been some very emotional moments on that set for the past few weeks.
But it wasn’t all serious.
Jensen: Because of the pandemic, there’s some things we can’t do…
Michael: Like you and Jared can’t make out…
Jensen: No no no, that’s happening regardless, we’re hanging our hat on that. Corona or no corona, we’re making out!
We all needed a little levity, that’s for sure.
Misha gave us some bright spots too, recording the video messages to fans that had been purchased as part of the online Creation con. Since they’re all playing it very close to the vest as to what episodes Castiel is part of at the very end, it just felt good to see Misha, especially when he was smiling.
Since he wasn’t there on the last day (we think), Misha also posted his thanks to Eric Kripke. He’s right, the show has changed all of us – but I replied that I hope Misha knows that he too, personally, has unequivocally changed the world. And I have a feeling he’s just getting started!
Some of the conversation between Jensen and Michael, on the other hand, did make me tear up. Michael asked if they thought about continuing the show, and Jensen said yes – something he touched on in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done too.
Jensen: There’s a possibility of, five years down the road, getting the call — hey let’s do a short order action for a streaming network and bring them back for six episodes! I feel like this isn’t the long goodbye right now. This is, “let’s hang this in a closet for now.”
His chapter in the book is called “I’m Proud Of Us”, and that comes through every time he talks about this show, from how hard he and Jared worked from the start to create a tone on the set that was welcoming and never toxic, to the friendships made in the fandom and among the cast. It helps, knowing how proud they all are of what they’ve created.
The next day was the penultimate day of filming, and the posts started to come in early, the crew sharing where they were filming. It was gorgeous, and somehow that felt both very fitting for the end of this beautiful show, and also made it even more emotional. It felt good to know that the actors would film their final scenes surrounded by the beauty of Vancouver, which has been their second home for so long – and which will always be the sights and sounds of the Winchesters’ home.
The entire cast and crew adore the Impala, just like the fandom does, so we got photos of Baby there too – there from the start, and there at the very end, waiting to take her boys home. It was a really dusty day that day, just saying.
Maisie, who has been a fan of the show for a long time and worked on it for the past several years, posted an IG story that really captured what so many of us – me included – were feeling. I’ve loved seeing Maisie when I’ve been able to be on set; I will miss her. I know the boys will too.
If you don’t think that made me cry, you don’t know me very well.
Jensen posted an IG story from the sound stage where the Men of Letters bunker used to stand, as crew sledge hammered it apart behind him. The tears in his eyes said it all, and we all felt the loss right along with him, as he said goodbye to the Men of Letters.
Those sound stages are no longer Supernatural’s, but they will always carry the show’s name in tribute to the incredible impact it had on Vancouver and the BC film industry.
Like most of the SPNFamily, I woke up on Thursday, September 10, with a strange mix of anticipation and dread. This was the day when Supernatural would end. When the words “That’s a wrap on Jared and Jensen” and “That’s a series wrap on Supernatural” would be spoken – would make it real. In between a work zoom meeting and teaching a class online, I checked Twitter and Instagram constantly, wanting desperately to know what was happening – and when IT would finally happen.
Jim Michaels was feeling emotional starting out the morning too. So were other crew and producers who got to set and posted, generously sharing their feelings with the fandom. The locations for the day were posted, and once again were breathtakingly beautiful. Seeing where those final scenes would be filmed made the ending even more real, another step away from my protective denial that I’d clung to for so long.
From early in the day, #ThankYouSupernatural trended all over the world – the US, Canada, Australia, German, Mexico, France, Brazil, Egypt, India – everyone showed their appreciation for this little show that brought us all together. Every time I used the hashtag and saw it trending, my heart was full to bursting with pride in our show and this incredible group of cast and crew who have cared so much and worked so hard.
In so many ways, Supernatural really did change the world.
Jason Fischer from the production office, as he’s done so many times over the years, posted the Quote of the Day. The day before, we’d had Bob Seger’s ‘The Famous Final Scene’ as the song of the day, which was achingly fitting.
Now the lines have all been read, and you knew them all by heart. Now you move towards the door. Here it comes, the hardest part…
The final QotD did hit hard, knowing it was the last time I would ever wake up in the morning and wait for that white board to tell me what was happening on my favorite show today. Fittingly, after tagging countless fans over the years in the QotD, Jason tagged the people who make the show, expressing all our appreciation.
The quote itself was perfect. Sometimes carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement – Albert Camus.
It’s another way of saying Always Keep Fighting, what this show has taught us all along.
And the song of the day, as we knew it would be, was Kansas. Carry On, Wayward Son.
Just seeing it on the white board, and thinking about when we hear it play for the final time, made me need more tissues. It’s doing the same to me now, as I write this.
In the afternoon, Jensen and Jared, the only two actors we’re absolutely sure were on set for that final scene, posted as they headed to set – both clearly emotional already. It helped just seeing them, knowing that a) they were okay, and b) they were feeling this, just like we were.
I was tremendously touched that, on a day that was so difficult for them, they still wanted to take the time to bring us along with them, as they have for so much of this epic journey.
Seeing the two of them there, on the set with Baby, as Sam and Dean, was incredibly emotional. I was so grateful that they took the time to bring us along with them, just as they’ve brought us along with them for the past fifteen seasons.
How was it so long ago that Sam, Dean and Baby were just starting out?
How is this Jensen Ackles now, as Dean, in his Baby — and a moment ago this was Jensen Ackles, as Dean, in his Baby, just starting this incredible journey.
Danneel posted some beautiful photos and a beautiful message to Jensen and to the SPNFamily.
Gen posted some beautiful photos and a heartfelt message to Jared and to the fandom.
Eric Kripke, who created this show and these unforgettable characters, was right there with them in spirit, posting his support and love, and reminding Jensen and Jared of where they all started – sending them inspiration for the finish with Kim Manners’ words that they all adopted: Kick it in the ass!
I retweeted each post, wanting to save them all, remember them all.
Knowing that Jared and Jensen were actually there, filming those last scenes, brought a flood of emotion that I wasn’t able to stop for the rest of the day. I kept wondering, what’s happening now? What are they feeling? What are Sam and Dean feeling, on this, the last day they’re standing there together in their fictional world? Whose tears would come first, Jared and Jensen’s or Sam and Dean’s? Are they even distinguishable at this point?
I couldn’t concentrate, checking social media again and again, needing to know when the end actually happened. After all these years, how could it really be ending? I alternated between disbelief and sobbing. The only thing that made it bearable was knowing I wasn’t alone. All over the world, the SPNFamily was watching and waiting right along with me. I DM’d, texted, emailed, chatted with people I’ve come to know and love over this fifteen year journey, all of us trying to hold each other together. It helped so much, just like this fandom has proven time and time again – knowing you’re not alone.
At 6:25 pm Pacific time, which was 9:25 pm here, Talli Buchanan tweeted the definitive announcement.
Jared and Jensen were wrapped.
Supernatural was wrapped.
Sam and Dean’s story was done.
I cried for a long time, half the time smiling through my tears because the messages of gratitude and appreciation just kept flooding in. It seemed like just about everyone who has ever worked on the show weighed in with tributes to their professionalism, sense of humor, quality. The evening was one of both shared grief and shared celebration, with so much emotion I could barely keep up.
At the end of the day, Clif Kosterman shared a photo of Jared and Jensen as they headed out, with emotions that looked as mixed as my own. It felt so good just to see them, to know they were okay, and that they would support each other just like the fandom was doing.
They look tired, drained – but also filled with pride for a job well done, for fifteen years. I hope they know that, in the words of their mentor Kim Manners, they ‘kicked it in the ass’ – and that they have surely made him proud.
Two sleek and shiny Impalas were carefully loaded onto a transport truck to make the journey to Austin for their forever homes with two people who will love and care for them always — Jensen and Jared.
There were a few more photos from that last day – one that might be spoilery, so I’m not including it here. It brought a lot of speculation about the ending, and I sort of just want to not hypothesize about it too much. I want it to play out the way they intended it, and I want to experience it that way.
It’s two days later, and I still don’t entirely have my head around it.
That the sets are dismantled, the offices cleaned out.
The crew that has worked together for so many years, many of them from the start, are finishing up and preparing to go their separate ways.
The writers who crafted this story and these characters are going on to other shows, other jobs.
The actors who brought those characters to life have said goodbye to them, at least for now.
I keep thinking about the heartfelt things that Jared and Jensen and Misha have said about their characters, about how Sam and Dean and Cas have changed them – just as they’ve changed so many of us.
Jared and Jensen’s genuine love of Sam and Dean comes through loud and clear in their chapters in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done.
The best imaginary friends they’ve ever had.
They’ve assured us, more than once, that Sam and Dean will always be with them. I know they will always be with me too, along with the other memorable characters that Supernatural has brought to life.
So many fan written chapters of There’ll Be Peace talk about how Sam or Dean or Castiel or Charlie or Jody or Donna or Bobby or Alex or many other characters have inspired people to change – to be themselves, to take a chance, to keep going. We will never forget them, but it’s hard knowing they’re not “out there”. Knowing that their story has come to an end.
I keep thinking about that incredible scene that Misha Collins and Alex Calvert executed so brilliantly that was all about their eventual goodbye to Sam and Dean on the show — but we knew even then, as we watched and teared up, what Castiel meant. How much those words of wisdom applied to our eventual goodbye too.
Cas: Eventually they’re gone, even the very best ones, and we have to carry on. The point is that they were here at all, and you got to know them. When they’re gone, it will hurt. But that hurt will remind you of how much you loved them.
I really, really did.
And I always will.
Thank you to everyone who sent me so much love and support on Thursday, from virtual hugs to letting me know how much the books have helped you over the years. It made me cry even harder, but those were such good tears. I hope that all the personal, genuine stories shared in Family Don’t End with Blood and There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done – by all the actors and by the fans – will be a source of comfort now and will help you celebrate and always remember just how special Supernatural has been and will always be. The books have been a labor of love, for the actors and fans who wrote chapters, and for me. I’m so glad they’ve inspired many of you too, just as the show itself has. You can find information and where to get the books at peacewhenyouaredone.com.
Below are some of the messages from cast and crew from Thursday – tangible evidence of what that trending hashtag really means.
Fans posted their own tributes too, including decorating the gigantic Supernatural poster at Warner Bros. studios in LA
Even the iconic band that made Supernatural’s unofficial theme song famous wanted to send their best wishes on the last day of filming – how many shows can say that?
Alexander Calvert continued to tweet what he’s been insisting the entire time – and frankly, I’d just like to believe him!
Don’t you cry no more…