Supernatural went off the air after fifteen seasons, but apparently the ending the creators and writers had been working towards after all of these years needed significant changing in the final hours. That’s because pandemic-related regulations and closures meant that the original ending the show had planned needed serious alterations. What a shame considering how long the program had been around and how much thought they’d put into it after all those years. But the ending you saw definitely wasn’t the one they originally had in mind. Covid-19 changed all of that.
The Supernatural finale “Carry On” aired on November 19, 2020. It was the 327th episode of the series and meant to bring final closure to the stories around the brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles). The two had been part of numerous adventures over their 15 seasons, slaying all kinds of undead beasts along the way and dealing with countless folks in their travels. It was a pretty expansive show all things considered and ranged a number of settings and characters. And the ending was meant to wrap so many of those storylines and relationships up into a tidy ending. But the pandemic had different plans.
In a longer Twitter post, Supernatural Season 15 showrunner Andrew Dabb explained what happened with the finale and how the Covid-19 pandemic changed the show’s plans for the ending. Here, check out what he had to say about the differences in what fans ultimately got compared to what they wanted to put on screen.
You can see from Dabb’s description that the Supernatural endings differed immensely and much of it had to do with gatherings and travel during the time of the pandemic. The episode’s title “Carry On” is a reference to a Kansas song and the original plan was to have the band playing for everyone who’d been on the show and passed along over the course of the many seasons. But this kind of crowd getting together alone was a non-starter because of regulations put in place around large groups.
They had even built the set for what would have been in this large Kansas concert for the Winchester brothers, This was going to represent Heaven for the two with the multitude of characters greeted to join them. In the end, this wasn’t going to work and they opted to have Dean simply driving down the road solo style. This fit more with the regulations and they didn’t need to worry about gathering such a large group of folks for the final shots.
The differences in the finale and the response from fans highlight why the changes Supernatural had to make were so glaring. Because the show had wrapped up most of its storylines in the penultimate episode, the original plan was to have many characters make reappearances throughout the course of the finale. They were going to have something of a retrospective approach rather than having it strictly plotted. That was going to work before the pandemic, but having to shift on the fly led to a clunky narrative.
A show should never be judged on its finale alone of course. Supernatural had such a great run that it will go down as a great show regardless. But fans who maybe were left wanting with that last episode should blame the pandemic more than the show’s creatives.