The season 12 finale of SUPERNATURAL had quite the body count (read our recap). Normally I’m not one to deal with speculation — I much prefer facts and spoilers — but this finale had the potential to be more of a game changer than we’ve seen of SUPERNATURAL for many, many years. And so with months to go before we get confirmation of what will happen, it might be fun to speculate on what’s to come.
Before we go on let me be very clear: I do not possess any spoilers that you, dear reader, don’t know. Everything I say from this point forward is 100% pure speculation on my part. It is entirely possible that I may be absolutely, completely wrong about this theory. But if I was writing this show, this is how I would do it.
So with that in mind, let’s begin with the facts….
What We Know
The British Men of Letters are, essentially, dead in America. It’s clear that at least part of the vast organization still exists in the UK, but I suspect that we won’t see them again, or at least for a long while. I think that story is concluded (for now).
Rowena is dead. We didn’t see Lucifer kill her, but it seems as if she is definitely gone. Her possible return is probably the most uncertain part of this speculation. Then again, they didn’t even bring Ruth Connell back to kill off her character, so if we never see some version (we’ll get to that soon) of Rowena again I would be extremely disappointed.
Crowley is dead. In some ways, the character had a bit of a redemption arc. He went out in perfect Crowley style — having proven his “loyalty” to his unlikely frenemies, the Winchesters, but not allowing Lucifer to best him one last time, even if he had to kill himself to do it. Crowley, in other words, went out on his own terms.
Castiel is dead. Unlike Crowley, Cas is a far more tragic figure in death. It’s clear now that he wasn’t really brainwashed by the nephilim, but he was shown a future he hoped would come to fruition. And in the end he died trying to stop Lucifer, but he didn’t achieve his purpose and so there’s a certain amount of tragedy to his demise. The interesting thing is that, despite the fact that the scene was quite dark, it seems very likely that you could see Castiel’s burnt and broken wings on the ground after his death once the camera panned up to the overhead shot. Frankly, they look different from the full wings we used to see of angels before the “fall”.
I think this is important because back in 2015 while visiting the SUPERNATURAL, we spoke to the VFX department about why we hadn’t seen burnt angel wings in recent seasons at that time. VFX Supervisor Mark Meloche explained that the showrunner at the time (Jeremy Carver) had made the choice not to show the wings any longer. Now we have a different showrunner (Andrew Dabb), but it’s interesting that he chose to bring back the burnt wings for this particular moment. Was it to prove that Castiel was, indeed, dead?
A multi-verse exists in the SUPERNATURAL universe. I’m always happy to see Jim Beaver return to the show, but what was the purpose of this alternate world? (Let’s call it Earth 2 for simplicity’s sake). Was it just a place to temporarily lock up Lucifer and Mary? If what was the case, then why show us an Earth 2 version of a beloved character? Was it for expository purposes only? Was that world going to try and spill over into the existing SUPERNATURAL world a la the MORTAL KOMBAT movie?
E2 Bobby was also very clear — there exists no copies of our show’s two lead characters in this alternate reality. There is no Sam or Dean and both Winchester parents are dead on Earth 2. Why specifically address that fact if that wasn’t going to lead somewhere? I think it was crucial to understanding this speculation. But what we know is that Earth 2 exists and that it is possible that different versions of some characters who have died in the normal SUPERNATURAL reality could exist, much like E2 Bobby.
Mary and Lucifer are trapped on Earth 2. Neither of them are dead, but right now there seems no hope that they might return to their Earth unless Jack were to open up another portal. There exists no alternate version of Mary in Earth 2, but I suppose there could be an alternate version of Lucifer there.
Kelly is dead and the nephilim (Jack) has been born. Whether or not Jack is evil remains to be seen. His ultimate purpose (whether it’s to destroy like Lucifer or bring peace to the world as Cas had hoped) is unknown. The powers he possesses are also unknown. Let’s assume, however, that Jack does not have the power to supernatural beings back to life, as only God/Chuck seems to possess that power and he has headed out on vacation with his sister.
Let’s go on a short tangent here because I know what you’re going to say — angels have the ability to bring people back from the dead. Dean, Sam and Charlie were all resurrected thanks to angels. Here, however, is the difference — in each of those cases their souls were returned to their (healed) bodies. Angels do not have souls. That’s been made clear to us. Presumably when an angel dies they are simply gone. God, having created everything, could bring back angels (much like he did with Cas) because he created them in the first place. But there’s been no confirmation that an angel, an archangel or even a hybrid-archangel such as Jack could resurrect an angel, so how could someone like Jack simply bring Castiel back to life? That would blatantly violate everything we know about the show’s canon. In addition, every time Cas has died in the past it was because he was exploded. He’s never experienced death the way that other angels have — by being stabbed with an angel blade and seeing his burnt wings. Angels don’t come back from that (and yes, there’s been a hint that maybe Gabriel survived but that hasn’t been proven and it’s speculation up until this point).
Meanwhile, demons are slightly different than angels as they are souls that were twisted into evil. Technically Crowley could possibly be brought back to life, but I think that the history of the show dictates that it’s unlikely. There has to be a reason they showed both Castiel and Crowley “fizzling” out as they died and why these are the deaths those two species experience. The fizzling out essentially indicates that their essences — the things that make them “alive” — are obliterated.
So that brings us to the speculation portion.
Is This What Season 13 Has in Store for SUPERNATURAL?
In order for this speculation to proceed we have to assume something extremely specific: that the versions of both Crowley and Castiel as we know them are truly dead and they will not be returning. However, I think it’s unlikely that both Mark Sheppard and Misha Collins are actually gone from the show permanently. How, then, do you bring one or both of them back?
In addition, let’s see what Andrew Dabb told EW before the finale: “There are some things that happen that impact strongly and directly on the [Winchester brothers], while at the same time, we are starting a new chapter in the show, [though] not in a way of erasing what’s come before,” Dabb says. “I think it’s something that will be a natural progression of what we’ve done but also cool and different and hopefully give us a lot of energy going into season 13.”
How does one start a whole new chapter if one or both of Castiel and Crowley are simply resurrected somehow (even if it takes work to make that happen)? That seems like the same old chapter to me.
Again, this is pure speculation on my part — but what if the new chapter involves the Earth 2 versions of Castiel and/or Crowley? What if, somehow, these supernatural creatures have inhabited the same vessels (that seems a bit farfetched in a world where the through-line from point A to B is completely different, but let’s assume it’s the case). What if Mary and Lucifer somehow come across one or both of these alternate versions of Castiel and Crowley at some point early on in season 13?
And what if the Winchesters find a way to open up the portal once again (with or without Jack’s help) and out comes Earth 1 Mary and Lucifer and Earth 2 Castiel and Crowley? Then E2 Cas and/or Crowley need to figure out a way to live on E1…
Such a situation would shake up the dynamics of the show. The Earth 2 versions of Castiel and/or Crowley could be entirely new characters in a way that Demon Dean or Soulless Sam weren’t. It’s the ultimate nature versus nurture argument — there will likely be some similarities to the characters that we know, but they would have gone through an entirely different set of circumstances. They live in a world where the apocalypse happened. They have never met Sam and Dean and have never been affected by their friendships with them. They are how to introduce entirely new characters while still utilizing the same actors. What we know of Earth 1’s Castiel and Crowley does not disappear (in other words, Dabb is not “erasing what’s come before”), but we would be starting a new chapter with semi-new characters.
If this doesn’t happen and somehow Cas and/or Crowley is simply resurrected using Jack’s powers or there’s another explanation (like one or both of them were inexplicably switched somehow with their counterparts and didn’t actually die), then that would be the worst storytelling choice the writers could make. Bringing back the same characters is not new. It’s not bold. It’s a cop out of the cheapest order and it would be cowardly for the writers to fall back into old, stale patterns. The show needs a shake up and this would be the best way to do it without resetting the whole mytharc. Earth 2 would also give the writers the opportunity to return other deceased characters in new ways and to show us how these characters would be different for not having had Dean and Sam in their lives.
SUPERNATURAL has a limited shelf life left. Eventually the show has to come to an end in the next few years. It’s simply inevitable. If we assume that there’s a clock ticking down somewhere, Dabb can opt to continue the status quo for another few years. But I wonder if he chose a different route instead. Again, this is pure speculation, but it would breathe a new shot of life into the show’s supporting characters and find a way to shake things up.
UPDATE: Mark Sheppard (Crowley) has announced that he is leaving the show after the season 12 finale, which means that original Crowley will not be returning and it looks like E2 Crowley will also not be making an appearance. Meanwhile, Misha Collins (Castiel) also said at a recent convention that he will be returning, although he did hedge his words a bit and said “I do think we’ll see a version of [Cas] again”. There seems to be no indication with respect to Castiel whether this speculation is correct, but I’m hoping I’m right. If not, as I mentioned above, simply healing him would fly in the face of canon and just return us to the status quo (except minus Crowley).
SUPERNATURAL will return this fall for season 13. Hopefully by the time Comic-Con rolls around we’ll get some indication of whether this speculation is completely off base or if it’s possible.
In the meantime, what do you think? Is this speculation completely off base or do you agree? Or do you have some thoughts of your own?