This is an odd anniversary to commemorate, but it’s an important one. It sounds melodramatic, but two years ago today my life changed significantly when I got the news that Supernatural was ending. If you haven’t ever been a passionate fan of a show or a film or a book series or a band, you may not understand. If you have, you probably do.
Two years ago today, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki and Misha Collins told the SPN Family that Supernatural was coming to an end after fifteen seasons, with tears in their eyes and real emotion in their voices. I still have trouble watching that little video message, but I’m forever grateful that they cared enough to tell us themselves.
So on this March 22, two years later, I thought I’d share what I wrote in the Introduction to the book we put together to remember how special Supernatural will always be, with chapters from the actors and the fans about what Supernatural has meant to them, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done.
I’m just as emotional looking back on that day now as I was when I wrote this…
There are certain experiences that happen in our lives that we will never forget. Psychology even has a term for the memory created by this kind of experience: a flashbulb memory. When something happens that shakes our world especially profoundly, the brain encodes that moment differently, and more vividly, than it does our everyday memories.
Back in the day, a flashbulb was a cube that sat on top of your camera and went off to illuminate a scene you were capturing with a photo, freezing it in time forever (it’s now just a light on your smartphone). Our brain, when it records a flashbulb memory, does something similar: it freezes the important, sometimes upsetting moment in time forever. The sights, the sounds, the smells, and the emotions of that moment are all preserved deeply. The memory doesn’t fade like other memories, or lose its emotional intensity. Instead, it remains as clear and vivid as if it happened yesterday. We remember the clothes we were wearing, or exactly what we were doing or thinking, or who we were talking to. We remember our initial shock and then the moment when our emotions kicked in.
Most often, flashbulb memories are about world-changing events like September 11 or shocking personal news. But they can also be things you wouldn’t expect. Sometimes, something is so important to you that the news of its impending loss hits hard enough to freeze the moment in time. I think that’s what happened to me on Friday afternoon, March 22, 2019, the moment I found out that Supernatural would end after its fifteenth season. That might seem like an odd thing to be preserved forever as a flashbulb memory, and it’s certainly not equivalent to world-changing events, but that’s not how our brains work. When something is important, it’s important. And for many people, myself included, this little television show that lasted for fifteen seasons is personally and emotionally important.
When I first heard the show was ending, I was volunteering at the Project Fancare table at Lexington Comic-Con, surrounded by copies of Family Don’t End with Blood and fellow fans. Project Fancare is a nonprofit that gives fans a forum to talk openly about how television and film and books and all sorts of fandoms have helped them get through tough times, and why that’s a good thing. I had just finished talking to a woman who stopped by to tell me what Family Don’t End with Blood and Supernatural have meant to her.
As the woman walked away, my friend Kim leaned over and said softly in my ear, “You need to take a break. Take your phone and go to the bathroom and watch the video that Jensen just posted.”
That’s all she said, but instantly I knew. I knew from the genuine emotion in her voice, and the concern for me that I could hear there. I knew because there’s a part of me that had been waiting for that news and anticipating it and knew it was coming sooner rather than later. My stomach instantly fell and my brain kicked into survival mode, blocking all my emotions and making me feel oddly calm even though intellectually I knew I wasn’t. I can vividly see the table in front of me, the books spread out there, and the woman walking away. She was wearing one of the first Represent “Always Keep Fighting” T-shirts and she had bright red hair and a bag with the protection symbol on it. I can see it like it’s a photo frozen in time—as brightly as if lit by a flashbulb—and I can hear Kim’s voice and her words like she just finished talking, even though it’s now many months later.
I stood in the alcove by the bathroom in the giant convention center and pulled out my phone and found the video—and as soon as I saw their faces, before they even started speaking, there was no doubt in my mind. Jared, Jensen, and Misha are extraordinary in how open they have been with their fans, and I could see all the emotion they were struggling to contain before I ever hit play to listen to the message. I am forever grateful that I got to hear it from them.
The video that still makes me tear up:
Jared, Jensen and Misha Announce The Series Ending
Things are different in the Supernatural fandom than they were two years ago. I’ve been dismayed at the animosity and bullying toward other fans that sometimes seem worse now than when the show was actually airing, something I have to admit I didn’t expect. But I’ve also been encouraged by the kindness and support that most fans continue to show for each other. And I love that the Supernatural cast have made it clear that their love for the show and for their characters and for the fandom is not going anywhere.
While a global pandemic has made it impossible for most of us to see our fellow fans or the actors, with conventions and concerts all on hold, I’m grateful for all the zoom panels and Instagram lives and interviews and every other piece of content we’ve gotten from the cast that I miss so much. It eases the loss and makes me feel like we’re all in this together. I’m grateful for all the myriad fanworks that this incredibly creative fandom puts out there to share, from the prettiest gifs to the most heartbreaking youtube videos to fanart and fanfic that can make me cry or smile all day. I’m grateful for every playful bit of fun I run across and every supportive bit of conversation. It reminds me what fandom – especially this fandom – is all about.
I’m grateful for everything and everyone that keeps the SPNFamily alive. And I’m still hopeful that we haven’t seen the last of Supernatural.
You can remember Supernatural forever with
There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done and
Family Don’t End With Blood. Info and links
on the home page or at peacewhenyouaredone.com
20 thoughts on “Two Years Ago – Remembering the Day We Found Out Supernatural Was Ending”
You always remember the important things Lynn, thank you for posting, your extensive posts over the last week have been a joy. Thank you for taking the time to care and share. Just seeing your posts flash up brighten my day before I read them, knowing your enthusiasm, whatever it may be, it’s always something to be excited about.
Thank you so much, Marion – that made my day!
Lynn, you are always so good at expressing how I feel and have felt about our “little show.” When I heard the news I didn’t want to believe it but had to once I watched Jensen, Jared and Misha make the announcement. Like you, I felt such love for the fans as the 3 personally notified us.
COVID19 caused everything to have to be adjusted including when the last few episodes would be shown as well as preventing the final scene with all the characters we came to love or hate. And postponed the conventions we anticipated so we could tell J&J and the rest a loving “Thanks for 15 years of family laughter and tears.”
Looking forward to January 2022 when I can do that in Dallas. Hope to see you there.
Thanks for all the sharing of your memories and analyses through the years.
Absolutely will see you in Dallas – won’t that feel amazing??!
I think I will definitely never forget that day. I remember reading your flashbulb memory explanation, but I have even more reasons not to forget it. It happend the night before my birthday (it was already late evening over here) and it hit me reallly hard. I had plans going out the next day with friends, but I cancelled telling them I was not feeling well. I didn`t tell them why, because as not spn fans they just would have understood. I think the memory will always be connected to my birthday now. But I don`t mind. It is a memory about my favorite show.
But I`m still grateful for the spn family that night. Everywhere on sm were people feeling the way I did and willing to talk to me. I didn`t feel alone at all. I talked to people I barely have talked before. I even made some new fandom friends.
Now after two years and the show actually ended, I sometimes have the feeling that I`m now more active talking about show than before, probably because I miss the show so much and I still love talking about it. And I`m always glad that there are still people who seem to feel the same way. I hope that stays that way.
You are so right – we were all there for each other that night, and I’m so grateful that the community of fandom is still out there, even if it is a bit different than it was before
This was so amazing thank you for this!! My love for Supernatural will never fade and I hope that this is not the end as well!!
I don’t think I took it in when this video of the ending came out, I know I shed a few tears but it was the last day before the UK went into a full lockdown which was on everybody’s mind. I still don’t want to believe it and I miss miss it so very much. Such a huge part of my life for the last 13 /15 years, my timeline is filled with Walker and Jared but so little from Jensen that it is painful having been so spoiled for so long. I too am shocked by the vitriol going round in the fandom, I don’t really do tumblr (never could get on with it) but I “do” twitter and instagram and the fandom wars make social media an uncomfortable place at times. When I turn on my computer in the morning I am hoping for good SPN, Dean/Jensen, Sam/Jared content but often have to scroll through so much – hopefully it will die down and hopefully it is not why Jensen has mainly stayed away from SM since the end of Supernatural. I too am loving all the stuff you are posting, it helps fill up part of the gaping hole.
I too hope the vitriol will eventually die down, because fandom should be supportive and fun, not about bullying and tearing other fans apart! I think we’ll see more of Jensen when he starts filming The Boys, which will be nice – and of course when conventions finally start up again!
Gosh I am getting confused, this was a year before the lockdown so i was talking through my hat, but it does not change how I feel, very sad and bereft.
Lynn, you are so right about how hard that day was. I remember I was just sitting on my couch with my laptop, and like you, as I scrolled to the video, I could tell by J2M’s expressions what it was. I was sobbing before the video ended, and laid on my couch for I don’t know how long, crying. I live alone and I’m glad I was ale to grieve for that first day on my own and not be around people who didn’t understand. Then I was texting and messaging with my SPN family for the rest of the day. I know there are many other tragedies in life that are much worse, but still, the loss of the original SPN series (assuming they ever do the reboots that are hinted at) left a hole in my heart that can never be filled in the same way ever again.
Absolutely. And that’s understandable – this show, this cast, this community, has meant alot to us over the years. It’s a significant loss, and something that I will always miss (even as I’m grateful for new projects and being able to still celebrate the show with other fans, hopefully forever!)
I happened upon the show one night, flipping through the channels because there was literally nothing worth watching. When I stumbled on to the WB, and I saw Dean, whom I had zero clue of who he was, “gank” a demon. So I stopped channel surfing, giving what I saw a minute to resonate, thinking that this show looked ok. At the end of that hour, I was hooked. Persuaded the wife to watch it with me the next week, and she got hooked as well, for more than just the storyline 😂 Supernatural became a part of us, every jump scare, all the laughter, and for sure, tears running down our cheeks. Her and I have splintered families like the Winchesters, so we made them our defacto surrogates. So very thankful that we went along for the ride, so long, yet way too short.
Saddest day in the last 15 years
Thanks for that. I started crying reading this. I miss seeing their faces on the screen every week. I am so lucky to have experienced this. Supernatural is by far the best show I’ve ever seen. I never thought I’d feel like I was apart of their family and share such great memories with all you guys. Thank you again.
I miss these guys. Now I just watch the repeats on Netflix everyday not joking! They have really became a part of us. I hope to see Jensen on The Boys. I am watching Jared on Walker. They are truly my Super Stars😃
Hi, I have been with the show from start to finish. I am an avid Supernatural fan. I loved the show and all of the people that played in the series. Now I’m watching reruns and I love them just as much. I love all of you so much and I hope there is something buzzing for the future. God bless all of u so very much and stay safe. My God bless you all.
I sat numbly for so long trying to process that video. It still feels surreal. I posted to my status “Check on your Supernatural friends. We are NOT ok.” As I read your narrative, I absolutely concur. I have a signed script of S1E1 that I can’t psyche myself to open. It’s my final thread to hold on to & pretend it’s not over. Now back to watching!