Carry on my wayward… Parents? Supernatural prequel casts Winchesters

(Meg Donnelly, Drake Rodgers, CREDIT: D Free Shutterstock)

On November 19, 2020, the CW aired the final episode of Supernatural, the longest-running fantasy series in TV history, after 15 years and 320 episodes.

Since then, fans have been desperate for their fix and in June we reported that Jenson Ackles, who played Dean Winchester for a decade and a half, would be involved in creating a spinoff of the immensely popular series called The Winchesters, “an epic untold love story of John and Mary of how they not only saved their love but also the entire world,” narrated by none other than Dean Winchester (Ackles).

Executive Producers (under their company Chaos Machine Productions)Jensen and Danneel Ackles, both starred in Supernatural. Jensen starred as series lead Dean Winchester in all 327 episodes across 15 seasons. Danneel was a guest star for 5 episodes as the angel Anael.

“After Supernatural wrapped its 15th season, we knew it wasn’t over. Because like we say in the show, ‘nothing ever really ends, does it?’” Ackles told Deadline. “When Danneel and I formed Chaos Machine Productions, we knew the first story we wanted to tell was the story of John and Mary Winchester, or rather the Supernatural origin story. I always felt like my character, Dean, would have wanted to know more about his parents’ relationship and how it came to be. So I love the thought of having him take us on this journey.”

The Winchesters marks the third attempt at a spinoff from The CW’s hit supernatural drama, following 2014’s Bloodlines and then Wayward Sisters from 2017 to 2018.

The Winchesters was picked up for a pilot order by The CW on February 3, 2022 and now the actors who will be portraying John and Mary have been announced. Drake Rodger (The In Between) has been cast as John Winchester, the man who would eventually father Sam and Dean. John was a widowed hunter in the original series and played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

The upcoming series will feature a much younger version of the character. “Recently returned from Vietnam, the selfless and clear-headed John Winchester finds a new mission back home, where traces of his father’s past lead him to a secret organization and a whole new war as a hunter,” says the official description.

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Meg Donnelly (American Housewife, Z-O-M-B-I-E-S) will play Sam and Dean’s eventual mother, Mary. At 19 years old, “Mary Campbell has been fighting the forces of darkness since she was a child. After losing someone close to her, the hardened hunter considers quitting the family business — until her father’s disappearance and the arrival of newcomer John Winchester forces her to lead a new team.” Samantha Smith played the mom in the original series. 

On Supernatural, Matt Cohen and Amy Gumenick portrayed John and Mary as young adults. 

The spin-off seems remarkably similar to the original series. In the original, Sam and Dean were forced to “carry on” the family business they inherited from their mom once she was killed by a demon and widowed John. Once John disappeared, Sam and Dean had to take up the cause and eventually discovered that they were members of the Men of Letters, a “secret organization.”

Much like John and the boys losing Mary, in The Winchesters, Mary is the one who suffers a traumatic loss, but instead of stepping into becoming a hunter, she contemplates leaving the hunter life behind, much like Sam attempted a few times during the series. 

On Supernatural, the Winchester brothers spent a lot of time hunting ghosts, wendigos, vampires, demons, werewolves, djins, ghouls, changelings, wraiths, reapers, leviathans, angels, rakshasas, archangels, and even god himself, aka Chuck (Rob Benedict). Whether or not The Winchesters will hunt the same scary menagerie remains to be seen.

Supernatural’s Robbie Thompson will write and executive-produce the prospective series. Glen Winter, who produced the Arrowverse shows Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl, will direct the pilot.

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Joia DaVida reports on the entertainment industry in both Chicago and Los Angeles.