It's hard to imagine that Supernatural creator Eric Kripke ever dreamed that the series would run this long. In fact, Supernatural is actually a year older than The CW network itself. Whether you think the show's best days are far behind it or that the most recent season was a return to form, one thing that can't be denied is the slavish loyalty of its fanbase. As such, Supernatural's producers routinely go out of their way to throw special treats into each season, including the occasional returns of long-dead fan favorite characters.
One deceased character whose return Supernatural fans have long been clamoring for is John Winchester, father to Sam and Dean, and the man who taught them the "family business" of monster hunting. Played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, John (or at least his present-day self) last appeared in season 2, dying in the premiere and making a posthumous appearance to say goodbye to his sons in the finale. A young version of John has subsequently appeared in a few episodes involving time travel, but fans have never again gotten to see Morgan portray the character.
Well, that seems likely to change soon, at least if recent comments by Morgan and Supernatural producer Andrew Dabb are any indication. For his part, Morgan says that he's more than ready to return:
I would absolutely love to come back. There’s no official talk that I know of, but I’m always in contact with Jared [Padalecki] and Jensen [Ackles] - they’re very good friends of mine. With me it’s always been about scheduling. But hopefully we can find a little time and they’ll write something that I can do. It would be a great joy to go back and play with those guys.
If and when Morgan does reprise the John Winchester role, his only request is that co-star Jensen Ackles be the man to direct the episode he appears in. Ackles has directed four prior episodes of Supernatural, and will direct one this coming season as well, so it wouldn't be his first rodeo in that regard.
Of course, for Morgan to come back, Supernatural's producers have to want that to happen. Thankfully for fans, Andrew Dabb sees Morgan's return as an inevitability:
To me, it’s not if he comes back, it’s when. When’s the right time? When it’s going to be for maximum impact? What you don’t want to do is bring a character like that back and waste the opportunity.
While the above statements certainly seem to hint that both Jeffrey Dean Morgan and John Winchester will return to Supernatural, the question now becomes just when they will do so. Morgan said above that there's been nothing official discussed between himself and the producers, making it kind of unlikely that he's going to appear in this fall's eleventh season. Contracts take time to be worked out after all.
On the other hand, just how many more seasons will Supernatural run? Will The CW renew the series for a twelfth season? Or a thirteenth? At this point there is way too much up in the air to try and pinpoint just when Morgan will return to Supernatural for the first time in a decade. Arguably the most logical place to insert him would be the final season of the show, perhaps to join up with his sons for one last quest before Supernatural rides off into the sunset.
Do you want Jeffrey Dean Morgan back on Supernatural? If so, what should the writers have John Winchester do to make his return worthwhile?
Supernatural returns for Season 11 this fall on The CW.