Sam and Dean Winchester return for the thirteenth season of Supernatural after suffering heavy losses and facing an uncertain future
Supernatural is The CW’s longest-running series, one of the longest-running genre shows in North America, and will soon be returning for its thirteenth season. That’s an impressive run for any series but somehow the show has continued to remain relatively fresh for most of its run. Every year, the show’s increasingly complicated lore and internal history are expanded further, and season 12 set us up with one of the largest shakeups to date. Between that shakeup and Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) being left with one of the largest threats they’ve faced yet, it’s no wonder why we’ve been dying for more. The twelfth season left all of our main characters in highly precarious positions, or worse. While the body count on Supernatural has always been extremely high, main characters have often managed to escape certain death.
Last season’s finale managed to kill off not one but two main characters that had both been on the show for the better part of a decade. Castiel (Misha Collins) was shockingly killed with an angel blade and Crowley (Mark Sheppard) showed an uncharacteristic moment of heroism and sacrificed himself to save the brothers. Meanwhile, Mary Winchester (Samantha Smith) and Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) were left stranded in a parallel world plagued by the Apocalypse. To add even more to the stakes, a powerful Nephilim named Jack (Alexander Calvert) was born. The Winchesters have once again found themselves almost entirely alone against an extremely powerful and largely unknown threat. While the situation is bleak, the brothers’ devotion to family and protecting each other has consistently been at the heart of the series. So let’s dig into why we’re so excited for what’s in store for them in the upcoming season.
1. With limited allies, the Winchesters will once again have to rely on their own experience and each other to survive
What it means to be a family has been a central theme of Supernatural since the very first scene in its series premiere. Each season has evolved Sam and Dean’s relationship in unique and often nonstandard ways. Whether it was the loss of Sam’s soul or Dean’s time in Hell or Purgatory, the brothers have consistently been challenged by their increasingly complicated and highly unusual circumstances. These challenges haven’t always felt as organic as we’d like but overall the show has come out on top with their development. Despite these hardships, their familial bond and love for each other have always been their greatest strengths and weaknesses. How many brothers can say they’ve literally been to Hell and back for each other?
With last season’s finale, Sam and Dean have once again found themselves alone and with very few allies to rely upon. This isn’t entirely new territory for them or the show. However, the circumstances are quite different than they’ve been in quite some time. They’ve lost one of their biggest allies and long-time friend, Castiel, and one of their biggest enemies/tentative allies, Crowley, sacrificed himself. Mary, their mother, is presumed dead or lost forever in a parallel reality with Lucifer himself. The brothers also completely rejected the British chapter of the Men of Letters after they started systematically killing off all American hunters.
So without powerful friends or allies around to bail them out of difficult situations, the Winchesters will once again have to rely on each other to survive. This is a classic Supernatural setup but with a Nephilim in their care, it’s bound to create some uniquely tense and interesting situations for the brothers.
2. With a Nephilim featured as one of the main characters, we’ll finally get a more detailed look at their powers and what makes them tick
In a season finale full of major deaths and twists, one of the largest was the birth of a Nephilim, a human-angel hybrid. We’ve seen Nephilim at multiple points throughout the series with varying degrees of power. They’re always bad news for the world but Jack isn’t just any Nephilim. The more powerful the angelic parent is, the more powerful the resulting Nephilim becomes. Jack’s father, of course, is none other than Lucifer himself, the most powerful archangel in existence other than Michael. We saw early signs of Jack’s immense power even before he was born. He was able to possess and control both his mother and Castiel.
While Jack’s godlike powers will no doubt be a major part of his development and the story for season 13, this will also be the first time a Nephilim is included as a major character in the series. With Sam and Dean being early influences on Jack, he has a chance, even if it may not be a great one, of becoming a positive influence in the world instead of one hellbent on its destruction. Of course, this is heavily dependent on whether Sam and Dean will be able to properly fill a parental/mentor-like role for him.
Regardless of whether they succeed ‒ and we suspect things will get a bit rocky ‒ Jack’s inclusion should inject plenty of opportunities to expand the show’s lore while giving the Winchesters sway over the fate of the world. We’re hoping they’re able to get Jack to use his powers for good. But in the event of an unfortunate Apocalypse, we’re certain the brothers will be there to stop it (again).
Lucifer and Mary both found themselves trapped in a literal Hell on Earth without friends, allies, or their children last season. In Mary’s case, she’s separated from Sam and Dean. Lucifer, while not exactly the friendliest of creations in existence, became a father last season and is now separated from his newly born son, Jack. While the Devil was initially quite happy with the concept of the Apocalypse being in full swing on the parallel Earth, his version of Hell might just include being separated from his all-powerful Nephilim son. The Apocalypse just isn’t the same without family.
This unlikely pairing has enormous potential for future storylines and character development. We’re hesitant to say that the two of them will become allies given that they hate each other and Mary’s first encounter with Lucifer involved her beating him with Enochian brass knuckles. But we can absolutely see them teaming up and double-crossing each other while surviving on the parallel Earth and attempting to get home to their children.
“Look, seriously, I just wanted to say thank you for everything. I owe you, kid.”
Now that Crowley is presumably dead for good, Lucifer and Mary tentatively working together should help fill the “Will he double-cross them?” void he left behind. It’s a formula that has worked well since season 5 and it should be interesting to see it shaken up by these two characters. Samantha Smith and Mark Pellegrino haven’t been in many scenes together yet but the few short, tense moments they have had were a lot of fun. If the early chemistry is an indication of what’s to come, count us in.
4. The apocalypse-stricken wasteland of the parallel world might be grim, but it opens the series up to alternate versions of fan-favorite characters and new story opportunities
One of the largest opportunities introduced in the show as we move into season 13 is the inclusion of the parallel, apocalyptic “rift world.” In the hours leading up to Jack’s birth, he opened a rift to another reality where Heaven and Hell are in a constant state of conflict on Earth. While briefly visiting this rift world, Sam and Dean ran into an alternate version of their long-time friend Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver). He has no idea who they are but like the Bobby they knew, he’s full of fire, knowledge, and helps them out.
The introduction of this doppelgänger Bobby got us thinking. Which other fan-favorite characters will be introduced from this Hell on Earth reality? Will the Winchesters befriend this other world’s Bobby, paving the way to let Jim Beaver return more regularly? Will a battle-hardened Castiel be introduced to replace their dead friend?
“The Michael of apocalypse world is the victor. He’s a very different character than the one we met even in season 5. He’s Genghis Khan. He’s been through the wars. He’s conquered the world.”
‒ Andrew Dabb (showrunner)
According to Supernatural showrunner Andrew Dabb, Michael (Christian Keyes) is one such character that will be making an appearance. The story potential for introducing alternate versions of characters is enormous and the possibilities are endless. Michael and Bobby are just the beginning. If we start factoring in the complexities of this parallel world colliding with Winchesters’ world, it’s really difficult to say where the story is headed.
For a show that has been on the air for over a decade, having this kind of uncertainty and excitement about where things might be headed is both refreshing and surprising. Who else will be appearing? We have no idea but we can’t wait to find out.
5. We’re getting a backdoor pilot for Wayward Sisters, the second major attempt to create a Supernatural spin-off series
Supernatural fans have been asking ‒ ok, begging ‒ the producers and The CW for a spin-off series for years. An attempt was made with a backdoor pilot for Supernatural: Bloodlines in season 9. While the episode introduced a potentially intriguing premise of hunters versus monsters in Chicago, it focused heavily on original characters that fans had no emotional connection to. Ultimately, the concept for the show was scrapped and fans were left without a Supernatural spin-off. There are far worse places to be left (just ask Sam or Dean) but Supernatural fans are extremely passionate about the show and aren’t known to sit by quietly.
If we fast forward to season 13, we may finally get our wish. Wayward Sisters is set to act as a backdoor pilot for a spin-off series with the same name. The proposed spin-off will follow a group of women led and trained by Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes). After losing her own family to monsters, Sheriff Mills adopted Claire Novak (Kathryn Love Newton) and Alex Jones (Katherine Ramdeen).
“I solemnly swear not to hunt like a dumbass. Jody said that she’s gonna teach me to vet leads and teach me how to investigate. She thinks I’m going to get myself killed.”
Claire and Alex also have a history of personal loss and hardship. Along with Jody, they form an unconventional family. Sheriff Donna Hanscum (Briana Buckmaster), a friend of Jody’s and the Winchesters, is another familiar face that will be part of the sisterhood. Clark Backo will also be starring as Patience Turner, the granddaughter of psychic Missouri Moseley (Loretta Devine). Together, this group of “wayward sisters” will fight monsters and deal with other supernatural threats.
Historically, Supernatural has often had a fairly testosterone-heavy main cast despite having numerous recurring female characters. Wayward Sisters is set to be an answer to that shortcoming of the parent show. Needless to say, we’re very excited by the potential of this series and the unique take on the Supernatural universe that it promises.
Despite some heavy losses and unexpected setbacks, we have little doubt that the Winchesters will continue saving people and hunting things in style for years to come
The twelfth season finale of Supernatural left most of the characters in rough shape and multiple friends/tentative allies dead. The brothers have once again been separated from their mother and the situation is grim with the birth of one of the most powerful Nephilim ever to have been born.
Along with this darkness comes new story opportunities and the chance to evolve of existing character relationships. Sam and Dean’s relationship over the years has certainly had its ups and downs. Season 12 left the brothers in a relatively good place that recaptured some of the earlier seasons of the show, and we’re hopeful that season 13 will continue developing them in that manner. The apocalyptic parallel Earth can introduce new versions of long-dead characters without impacting the original characters. Despite the show’s age, the upcoming season of Supernatural is set to offer new twists while also ending the Sam-Dean-Castiel-Crowley era and giving us more of what we’ve come to love.
With new characters, threats, and an apocalyptic parallel reality set to shake things up in ways we can only begin to imagine, the thirteenth season of Supernatural has the potential to be one of the show’s strongest seasons to date. We can’t wait to see where the Winchesters’ journey takes them (and us) next!