Mostly everyone who dies in Supernatural finds some way to come back, but not every deceased character is so lucky. As its very title implies, Supernatural's connection with the afterlife is a full-time gig, with angels, demons and God himself making regular appearances. As such, it's hugely difficult to truly kill off a main character. The central trio of Sam, Dean and Castiel have each died on multiple occasions and the vast majority of the other major characters who were killed off have also returned via various means.
This can often be through an old fashioned resurrection, where a character is lifted from their final resting place and popped back into the world of the living, or a departed figure can return as some sort of ghostly entity - reappearing on the show without actually returning to life. In other instances, characters have been replaced by parallel universe versions of themselves or have returned to the series thanks to Sam and Dean meddling with the timeline. One way or another, saying "goodbye" is rarely absolute in the world of Supernatural.
And yet, sometimes it is. While the vast majority of Supernatural's dead characters have been written back into the show somehow, a select few have never returned, not as a ghost, a zombie or a parallel universe alternate. Here are the biggest characters that died in Supernatural and were never seen again.
Mark Sheppard's tenacious and entrepreneurial crossroads demon began as a relatively minor figure in Supernatural but grew to become one of the show's central cast members, sharing top billing with the Winchesters and Castiel during his pomp. Crowley's moral ambiguity made for one of Supernatural's most fascinating and unpredictable arcs, with fans never completely sure whether to cheer or boo the contract-loving demon.
Crowley came good in Supernatural's season 12 finale, sacrificing himself in an attempt to lock Lucifer away in the Apocalypse World. At the time, Supernatural's producers claimed that they had no plans for Sheppard to ever reprise his role and, unusually, their word has been true thus far. Given Crowley's conniving and secretive personality, it certainly wouldn't have been far-fetched by Supernatural's standards to have him somehow survive. Alas, Crowley has yet to return, but could still feature in Supernatural season 15.
Portrayed by two separate actresses, the demon Ruby acted as Sam Winchester's love interest between seasons 3 and 4, much to the annoyance of his brother, Dean. Eventually, the eldest Winchester sibling was proved correct, as Ruby revealed herself to be a member of the Lucifer fan club all along, manipulating Sam and molding him into the Devil's perfect vessel.
Dean got his revenge by finishing Ruby off, but while several prominent demons have returned in Supernatural, Ruby hasn't been seen since her demise. This is especially odd as the temptress was most recently played by Jared Padalecki's real-life partner, Genevieve. Even stranger, Genevieve Padalecki appeared in season 6's "The French Mistake" playing herself, rather than Ruby, in a super-meta crossover episode.
An early role of The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan, Bela was a femme fetale with a hankering for paranormal treasures, regularly clashing with the Winchester brothers during her adventures. Bela appeared regularly throughout Supernatural season 3 and proved a popular addition with viewers, but was killed by Hellhounds after her deal with the white-eyed demon Lilith expired.
Given that Sam and Dean treat crossroads deals with the same respect they treat U.S. credit card companies, it's unusual to see a character actually claimed by hellhounds and remain deceased afterwards. This may have something to do with Cohan's rising star as an actress, but Bela also feels very much like a character that wasn't necessarily designed to last beyond a single season. Nevertheless, Cohan wouldn't have been readily available after entering the zombie apocalypse in 2011.
While the role of "Death" was passed on to Billie, the original Horseman himself has yet to return. Memorably played by Julian Richings, the original version of Death was a highlight of Supernatural and by destroying him, Dean delivered one of the most shocking moments in the entire series. As with Crowley, viewers might've expected Death to have a trick or two up his sleeve with regards to surviving a blow from his own scythe but, heading into Supernatural's final season, Billie is the only version of Death to have appeared since that infamous moment.
While the original Death's successor has been an able replacement, and has offered her own unique take on the intimidating God-like aura that comes with the job, Julian Riching's dry wit is sorely missed in Supernatural, but he may also be due a return in season 15. Supernatural's season 14 finale saw Billie assembling a crack team to take down God, included a revived Jack, and she might just be desperate enough to consider requesting her predecessor's help.
Supernatural's resident archangels have a fairly good resurrection rate, with the exception of one. Gabriel has made a couple of heroic returns, two separate versions of Michael have appeared and Lucifer has been revived approximately once per season. The fourth and final archangel, however, has stayed true to his demise.
Raphael first appeared in Supernatural season 4 before becoming a lead antagonist two seasons later during his war against Castiel for control of heaven. Raphael is eventually defeated after Castiel boosts his power with an influx of souls, and is torn apart by a snap of the trenchcoat-clad angel's fingers. Considering the prominence of the archangels in later Supernatural seasons, it's a little surprising that Raphael is to only one of the quartet to never make a return.
Another victim of Castiel's evil phase was Balthazar, the lovable and charming rogue with an English accent. Balthazar's death was a tragic one. Originally a self-absorbed angel who mostly looked after himself and enjoyed the finer things Earth could offer, Balthazar was executed by Castiel for aiding Sam and Dean, acting as a double agent in the ongoing struggle for heaven.
The Apocalypse World version of Balthazar was mentioned in Supernatural season 13, as Jack reported his victory over the angel and his army, but the alternate iteration of the character never physically appears on screen, leaving only the prime version of Balthazar. Supernatural has highlighted several different ways to bring an angel back to life, so it's a little surprising that Castiel never made an attempt to resurrect his old friend and correct a deadly past mistake.
Supernatural's prime antagonist for seasons 3 and 4 was the white-eyed demon, Lilith. Ringleader of a wider plan to have Lucifer resurrected, Lilith took several forms, but is perhaps most fondly remembered as a creepy little girl who tormented Sam and Dean and eventually gave her life in sacrifice to the Devil's return.
While Lilith died willingly, it certainly would've been possible for the villain to return in later seasons. Just as Lilith magicked Lucifer back into existence, so might one of her own followers returned the favor. Like the other angels and demons on this list, Lilith resides in the Empty - a place viewers saw Billie raiding at the end of Supernatural season 14. Consequently, it's plausible that Lilith could appear in Supernatural's final season, even if she resides within a different actress.
Like Crowley and Balthazar, Metatron died after experiencing somewhat of a redemption arc in Supernatural. Initially a sympathetic misfit, Metatron was soon revealed as a power-hungry and bitter angel looking to take God's place, and the consequences of his actions upon heaven are still clear in Supernatural season 14. Nevertheless, Curtis Armstrong's performance as the bookish messenger of God was roundly praised by fans, leading the character to appear through to Supernatural season 11.
Here, Metatron sacrificed himself during a group effort to take down the Darkness, surprising even Dean Winchester with this noble act of courage. Given that the Darkness possesses power on par with God, it's perhaps understandable that Metatron has never returned to the Supernatural fold, but the absence of his self-depreciating humor is still felt.
Supernatural season 15 premieres October 10th on The CW.