11:50 pm EDT, April 1, 2019

‘Supernatural’ season 14 finale: Theories on the special guest as our season 15 wishlist begins

The Supernatural season 14 finale marks the beginning of the end, and the surprise fan favorite character set to return could pave the way for the plot of the final season.

As Supernatural’s trusty Team Free Will trio announced last week, season 15 will serve as the grand finale for our beloved and frankly epic Winchester saga. This final 20-episode run will see Supernatural round out its story at 327 episodes overall, going down in history as one of the longest-running scripted prime-time shows of all time — certainly America’s longest-ever genre series and The CW’s last remaining inherited property from the days of The WB.

Supernatural sat on the bubble for years before it earned its unshakeable status, so it’s gratifying to know that this decision to say goodbye comes directly from those who care about it the most dearly — the brothers Winchester, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, who have carried this thing on their backs since day one and remain unmatched as TV actors in terms of the dedication and depth given to a single character, and Misha Collins, whose shorter tenure — season 15 will be his 11th year as Castiel — is still an immense commitment when you compare it with most other shows airing.

The stars spoke on this hard decision this weekend in Las Vegas and we’ll likely learn more of their thoughts about the choice to cross the finish line as the cast hits the convention circuit in the coming months — the boys have always promised us that they’d call it when it felt right, and they’ve always been incredibly honest and personal when engaging with their audience — but for now, it’s gratifying to know that Supernatural is going out on its own terms.

It’s also gratifying to know that the story is being brought to a close very carefully, over the course of a couple of seasons, which is what I’ve been hoping for since the 2016 speculation around the 300 episode milestone itself being the end of the line. Despite the news only being announced recently (as season 14 wrapped filming) a combination of textual analysis, production logic and honestly a bit of sheer gut led me to believe — even before the casts’s comments this weekend — that the team have been working under this assumption for some time, and have been steering season 14, as it unfolds, towards the big endgame.

I’ll be writing more on what season 14 has achieved in terms of character growth that just has to stick in the near future, but straight-up plotwise, with only four episodes of season 14 left, it’s safe to say that this year’s Supernatural finale, airing April 25, has a lot at stake. As the final finale before the finale, episode 14.20 has to set up the show’s last ride as powerfully as possible.

Supernatural has never done a clean, done-and-dusted season closer — there’s always a cliffhanger or some way to tie the prior season into the next. It’s one of my favorite things about the show — despite its mammoth episode count, it still feels tight and connected in a very unconvoluted way. The threads of a Supernatural season are always intricately woven back into its own history, or, in blunter terms, shit just keeps happening, usually in a direct cause-and-effect way, for the Winchester family.

So mark my words, some aspect that the writers have developed during season 14 is ultimately going to set up the events of the season 14 finale, which will then in turn set up the direction of the show’s last season and ultimately the series finale, which I hope against hope is a hopeful one.

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One thing we know right now about the Supernatural season 14 finale is that it’s going to be a BIG one — which makes sense in light of the news. The cast have been teasing this for some time — most recently, with Misha Collins tweeting that “This is going to go down as one of the most epic finales of the series.”

Showrunner Andrew Dabb had a few more detailed comments about the Supernatural season 14 finale. “I will say, true to Supernatural form, season 14 does not end on an ‘everybody is super happy and hugging’ note, necessarily,” Dabb told Laura Prudom of IGN. “Bad things are coming, as they always are, for the Winchesters. But I do think that, moving into 15… I think that people will be surprised and will be happy in terms of where we’re going, not only in terms of the plotline, but also in terms of our guys and their ongoing growth as people.”

As mentioned, that probably permanent positive personal development is exactly what I want to hear about the show’s final season. I’m currently attempting to Tulpa that “everybody is super happy and hugging note” for the actual series finale next year. (While I doubt it will be this simple, I am very firmly on Team Happy Ending — they have earned it. Again, more on this later.)

But the most specific detail we know about the Supernatural season 14 finale is that it will feature the return of a “very significant” fan favorite character. Dabb confirmed this to both IGN and to Michael Ausiello of TVLine, and while there are some pretty solid reasons to suspect or predict who this particular character might be, just for fun, I’m suggesting 14 options for you to entertain the possibility of.

Caveat: some of these characters are much more likely to return to Supernatural than others, but what they have in common is that none of them have appeared this season so far.

And you know what, even if most of these characters will not be our mysterious Supernatural season 14 finale surprise — there can only be one, after all, and that one may not even be on this list (though I personally believe they are…) — just transfer this concept over to season 15, for characters who we want (or if not ‘want,’ per se, we expect) a final look at!

Claire Novak

I love and value Kathryn Newton as Claire Novak, I truly do, but given her pursuit of larger projects, if killing her off — perhaps via Dark Kaia — lead to a more realistic redux of Wayward Sisters, I would take it, no matter how much I wanted the initial version of Wayward which should have rightfully included plenty of Claire and Cas bonding time (as well as appearances from these other amazing women who survived Supernatural.)

The CW passing on Wayward wasn’t Newton’s fault whatsoever, but now that the Wayward Sisters contract has well expired and her star is rising, it would be unlikely to be able to get her back. If the network has a change of heart in light of the season 15 news and wanted to carry on with these wayward girls and give their retiring sons a place to come home to every once in a while, that could control the outcome of Supernatural season 15 in a big way — like, a “do the boys live or die” kind of way.

Gabriel

We expect to see more of Richard Speight, Jr’s work behind the camera in season 15, but of course, we first met him as an actor — portraying the archangel Gabriel. In season 13, we got to revisit Gabriel onscreen for the first time since his ‘death’ in season 5 before he was slain again by his AU brother Michael. (Yes, we saw him in season 9, as well, but he was a manifestation of Metatron’s.) As this long-awaited arc revealed how he faked his own death at Lucifer’s hand, as well as how he came to assume the identity of Loki, two ideas spring to mind.

Number one? He’s faking again and will come back before the close. But number two is perhaps more interesting — Gabe made his deal with Loki centuries ago, and the Apocalypse World only diverged around the era of the Winchesters — therefore he still looks like Richard Speight, Jr. So if we revisit that world following Michael’s theories about Chuck’s “failed drafts,” we may have a chance to meet Gabriel Redux and compare notes.

Eileen Leahy

The cold-blooded murder of Eileen Leahy, the deaf Woman of Letters who Sam was clearly falling for, is the only character death during Andrew Dabb’s tenure as showrunner that I am truly not narratively comfortable with. I’ve written about why, but it sickens me that this choice was made at all, let alone how. The fact that the boys are still allies with Ketch and treat him merely as a necessary annoyance is dire. I cannot believe that Eileen is dead and that Ketch got a redemption arc. I mean, come on. That’s just not fair.

I’d personally love to see Sam with a romantic partner at the end of the series, and we are running out of realistic contenders. Sam and Eileen, played by Shoshannah Stern, were the most organic, natural development of a potential relationship that we’ve seen on this show in a long while, and while I get why it wouldn’t have been sustainable earlier, it would have been a lovely thing to work into the final stretch of the series. I grant Supernatural full license to pull a “faked my own death, suckahs” on this one.

Lucifer

Look, unfortunately, this is a theory we must entertain. This Nick plot has to go somewhere and I still find it hard to believe that Lucifer is really and truly dead, especially after Nick seemed to call to him from the Empty via the power of true evil soulmate love or whatever. If he really is dead, then why were we wasting everybody’s time with this side story all season? I guess there’s always the Jack of it all, especially as he seems to grow more and more corruptible as he’s regained his powers but lost some of his soul. However, if Andrew Dabb genuinely thinks that Lucifer is a fan favorite, then he’s got another think coming. If he’s coming back, please let it be to kill off both of these cretins for good.

Bela Talbot

That being said: with Lucifer and Crowley dead, what the hell is going on in Hell? Since Sam challenged Kip and his rogues in the season premiere, we haven’t dealt with much demon activity this season – none at all, actually. I’m still kind of under the impression that Sam accidentally claimed the throne to Hell, but seriously, what is going on down there? We need to find that out and clean it up before the final curtain.

Someone who could tell us? Bela. She was taken by Hellhounds over 10 years ago. If you use Dean’s Hell Tenure Math, Bela has been tortured for over 1200 years — surely long enough to become a demon herself. Lauren Cohan was wasted at the time of her appearance, and the audience today now seems much fonder of Bela than they were back then. Perhaps it’s time to meet a new demonic ally in the form of an old friend — or perhaps she’s the Queen to beat.

Crowley

This won’t happen due to offscreen casting drama, but a girl can dream. We don’t really know what happens to demons after death — apparently they go to the Big Empty alongside dead angels. Given that the Empty isn’t quite as final as it would have liked to think, the potential for reanimated characters from those ranks is pretty endless. Crowley had a really great redemption arc and a good death, but I would like to see him again before the show is over. His growth into someone almost human raises questions about the nature of good and evil, and his personal relationships with the boys — and his mother — were unfinished. There’s a lot we could still learn from Crowley, so if Mark Sheppard could make it work, I’m in.

Meg

Meg was the show’s first serious exploration of free will and humanity among demonkind, much like Castiel was for angels, so she would be a welcome addition while figuring out the ‘why’ of it all in Supernatural’s final season, especially in light of actress Rachel Miner’s recent decision to pursue acting again as a wheelchair user.

Miner left the show after she was diagnosed with MS, but given that representation of physical disability is very poor in action-based genre shows across the board, a beloved Supernatural character returning in a wheelchair could be a really interesting angle, whether as a result of a grave injury sustained upon her presumed death, an AU version, or something else entirely. The only question here is whether she would be another contender for the throne of Hell, or jump right back into her allyship with the boys.

Benny Lafitte

Speaking of dead friends, if this show ends without reuniting Dean and Benny I will just be so, so, so sad. Season 8, while brilliant, was cruel in some ways, and worst of all was the somewhat manufactured conflict between Sam and Dean about Dean’s relationship with Benny — it needed to go up against Sam hitting a dog and choosing a life with Amelia, but the arguments about it never made sense.

When Benny allowed Dean to kill him in order to help Sam, Sam finally understood what a great and loyal friend that Benny actually was. He and Dean, thanks to Jensen Ackles and Ty Olsson, had something tangibly special, and it’s something that present-day Sam would absolutely support. Dean never burned Benny’s bones, choosing rather to bury him in the hope that he could someday find a way to bring him back. I would like the season 14 finale to be that day. There’s definitely dorm space for him to live in the Bunker with the gang and he would be a very welcome addition to Tuesday movie nights.

Linda Tran

Extreme Marge Simpson Voice: I Just Think She’s Neat. Seriously, if season 14 can give me an unexpected Pamela Barnes cameo — a dream come true — then I personally believe that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. This would work especially well if we are leaning in to the Carina MacKenzie season 15 scenario, which I would not be mad at, and in that case, I have several other suggestions of people worth revisiting to say hi and bye to. But Lauren Tom as Linda Tran deserves her own spin-off and that’s the tea.

Ruby

I’m fascinated by Sam Winchester’s relationship with power, the moments he chooses to accept or reject it, and his terror of being corrupted — being the one true vessel of Lucifer has to do something to your self esteem. His personal endgame will very likely be related to becoming some sort of leader of men — even after the recent loss of his first “army,” it is still, I believe, what he was born to do and what the show has been building for him for a long time. He must overcome his mistrust in himself and embrace who he is meant to be.

It’s no secret that I’m also obsessed with the idea of Sam as a witch, wielding literal supernatural power, to a positive end. As his relationship with Rowena grows firmer, I’d love to see Sam go through some sort of trial or initiation as a student, either tapping into his old psychic powers and bending them to his will, or embracing learned witchcraft. And in these trials, I want to see him confronted by his demons, so who better to appear in this ordeal than a manifestation of the actual demon Ruby – played, of course, one last time, by Jared Padalecki’s now-wife Genevieve Cortese – as a reminder of all the dark deeds Sam was party to when she was his guide?

Adam Milligan

Some fans feel deeply sympathetic and passionate about justice for Adam Miligan, and there’s the idea that Sam and Dean leaving their blood brother in the Cage for all this time is a moral failing. This might make me a horrible person, but I actually could not care less about Adam himself — no offence to actor Jake Abel, who’s a dear, and a very good sport. But in the fictional narrative, I don’t think the boys owe him anything at all.

Meeting Adam showcased the greatest failings of John Winchester as a father to Sam and Dean, and I think that being faced with another “real” brother and not having a deep and meaningful connection is really powerful if you subscribe to the series’ “family don’t end in blood, but it doesn’t start there either” motto — which I do. However, a vengeful Cage-crazy Adam could make for a great Big Bad, and hammer home some final lessons about brotherhood and chosen family the way Supernatural does so well.

Michael

While we’re examining residents of the Cage, I’d be remiss to neglect Michael — our world’s Michael, that is, not the Dean-wearing bastard Jack just fried. If Lucifer and Gabriel really and truly are dead, that leaves Michael the only remaining archangel on Earth, and after centuries in the Cage alongside Lucifer, he’s gone nuts. We’ve heard that he’s literally sitting in a corner rocking and singing showtunes to himself, drooling, catatonic, in no shape to offer help to anyone. But the Host needs grace power to keep the lights on in Heaven, so perhaps they’re willing to put up with him for the wattage.

And I said this last year, when predicting the finale of season 13, but I am obsessed with the idea of seeing someone — his Earthly vessels Jake Abel or Matt Cohen, or his dream date Jensen Ackles, as the archangel’s chosen manifestation in the Cage or in Heaven — portray this crazy and erratic and broken version of Michael.

Chuck Shurley

Season 14 showed us a very different path for the archangel Michael in his AU version, and we still don’t know when or what about the divergence in worlds caused him to turn against God and go looking to kill him. But after his time possessing Dean, the theory he shared with Castiel, — about the layered universes being Chuck’s “drafts” of a perfect world — makes a hell of a lot of sense, and the cosmos likely won’t be at peace until there are answers about what Chuck thinks he’s playing at. The absence of God has been felt very heavily in the past two seasons, and many thought that Dean’s desperate prayers in the season 13 premiere, as well as Jack’s development as a being of unknown power, may draw the deity back to Earth. We didn’t see him in season 13, but right now, as soon as this week’s “Game Night,” we know that Castiel is actively looking for him.

There’s no way we’re getting off of this ride before he returns in some way — whether to fix some problems or create new and final ones. Chuck claims to support humanity and free will, but if the repeat draft theory is true, it means that is actually a fallacy. He isn’t willing to create and let his creation grow via free will — instead, he starts fresh when things don’t go as he wanted. He’s a lazy, lying asshole — sorry, Rob Benedict — and if and when he meets the Winchesters again, he will have a lot to answer for.

The Darkness

When we last saw Chuck, he was taking his sister on vacation somewhere in the universe, to talk things out and make peace with coexisting. Emily Swallow’s Amara caused a lot of trouble, but ultimately in her time on Earth she was being destructive in much the same way AU Michael was — to call attention to God and bring him home for a confrontation. Locking the Darkness away ultimately caused Lucifer’s fall, and the battle between good and evil — all the things that led to God abandoning Heaven and Earth. It seems to me that the Darkness existing as she was meant to would have possibly been a balancing force, so for order to be restored to the universe perhaps Amara and Chuck need to be working and coexisting and creating together.

Amara now has personhood and frankly, when we last saw her, she was a nicer and more compassionate person than Chuck, so I’m of the belief that you can’t have one without the other. Most mythology and lore in any culture always speaks of balance being the most crucial element — and Chuck shot himself in the foot by upsetting the balance of the universe by locking her away. Maybe, after this time together, Chuck and Amara have worked out the key to coexistence and their union will bring about the peace we need in order to allow the Winchesters to be, at last, done.

So that’s it for right now — the beginning of the end!

But we have a whole year to mourn and to honor Supernatural. There will be plenty of words to say and tears to shed as we wrap our minds around the scope of this news, what it represents about our past and what it means for our future. As for the future of the Winchesters — the Supernatural season 14 finale should give us a clue or two when it airs in a few weeks. What’s worth reflecting on today — what this article proves, I believe — is that there are literally hundreds of untapped scenarios left in this world, dozens of directions the journey could go, and this richness is what will see interest in the show survive long after new episodes cease to air.

It will take years to properly describe what Supernatural has achieved, both onscreen in terms of its character-driven storytelling and offscreen as a leading force in the reshaping of fandom communities and spaces from a period pre-social-media to the hellscape — I mean landscape — in which we engage online today. That’s without even going into things like developments in technology, shifts in marketing trends, even the influence of the economy — all the other aspects that make the survival of a show like this one over a space of 15 years so incredibly unlikely and so incredibly impressive. This show was affected by the writers’ strike, and there’s not too many shows on air that can still say that. Hell, this show has seen three presidential administrations!

Always growing and continuing to find ways to thrive, yet always keeping sight of its core truths, Supernatural literally spans eras, especially in the lightspeed age of the internet, and it will live on for eras as one of the great texts of this generation. To quote Ben Edlund, one of the show’s most influential executive producers, “Fifteen seasons does a genre continent make, one which will be explored as were it a living thing for some time to come.”

And so it will be — these ideas, and a million more, are yours to explore. No matter what the end has in store, Supernatural will live on forever.

‘Supernatural’ season 14 airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW

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