[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Supernatural ahead.]

In an early episode of The CW’s elder statesman horror/drama Supernatural, Dean (Jensen Ackles) reminds Sam (Jared Padalecki) that their duty as Winchesters is to continue “saving people, hunting things. The family business.” This line has become somewhat of a catchphrase for the series over the years, and often finds itself repeated each season in recap videos that serve to remind fans of Sam and Dean’s road so far.

This theme of family bonds and emotional ties between loved ones runs deep through every facet of Supernatural, as it was the murder of Sam and Dean’s mother Mary by a powerful demon when the boys were very young that propelled their father John Winchester into taking up the nomadic life of a monster hunter. In turn, it was Sam and Dean’s quest to first reunite with and then reconnect with their missing dad that served as a major plot arc through Supernatural’s first two seasons.

It turns out that this recurring theme of unbreakable family connections is very much what the cast and crew intend to function as the heart of Supernatural, and is the element they most credit for helping to maintain the series’ seemingly endless life. In a new interview with USA Today, the SPN team offered their thoughts on why exactly they think that is, and how Mary’s return in season 12 will further expand the scope of the Winchester family.

Supernatural Season 11 Poster How Family Allows Supernatural To Keep Going Indefinitely


According to Ackles, Supernatural’s focus on family ties was spelled out to he and Padalecki by series creator Eric Kripke all the way back during the filming of the second episode. “This whole thing begins and ends with you and the relationship you have on screen,” Ackles says Kripke told his two young stars. Executive producer Andrew Dabb expressed similar sentiments elsewhere during the interview, saying that “the core of the show” is an emotional saga about family, whether that be the Winchesters’ blood relations or close allies like Castiel and even Crowley.

Dabb: “We will do things in production, a stunt or a special effect, and the episode will air and Twitter will be like, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’ And then the moment when Dean turns toward the camera and sheds one man tear, Twitter goes insane. It’s very obvious to see where our bread is buttered.”

As for Mary, it was revealed during subsequent seasons of Supernatural that she came from a family of hunters – unbeknownst to John – and had opted to leave the life behind to get married and start a family. Now that she’s back, executive producer Robert Singer says that she’s not exactly happy to learn about the path her sons chose.

Singer: “It was a life that, while she was really good at it, was not something she wanted and certainly didn’t want it for her (sons). To find out what transpired after her death is a blow to her gut.”

Of course, as Supernatural heads into season 12, many fans continue to wonder when – or even if – the series will come to a conclusion. After all, most genre shows are lucky to get 2-3 seasons, much less reach double digits. Even a juggernaut like The X-Files (originally) only got 9 before being canceled. According to The CW boss Mark Pedowitz though, there is still no firm end point in sight.

Pedowitz: “If the show keeps performing the way it has, there’s an open pass [to continuing it indefinitely] if the boys keep wanting to do it.”

If Pedowitz’s remarks are any indication, it looks like the Winchester family business is going to remain open for a long, long time to come.

Supernatural season 12 premieres October 13 on The CW.

Source: USA Today