As the current elder statesman among CW dramas, Supernatural just keeps chugging along year after year with no clear end in sight. Still, with season 11 hitting the home stretch soon and season 12 already ordered for this fall, one would assume showrunner Jeremy Carver and the Supernatural creative team are at the very least starting to formulate an exit strategy for the long-running show.
During a recent joint interview, Supernatural stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles were asked how they personally would like to see the series end. Understandably, the duo's opinions on this subject have changed over the years, with Ackles saying:
"If you’d asked me season 1, I would’ve thought that it would’ve been the apocalypse. But then again, you can’t end the TV show with the worst thing happening. As we’ve evolved, I think that there’s different roads that the show could certainly go down that would be interesting. I think we’ve taken some really good turns."
Padalecki seconded that sentiment, while also adding that due to his Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid fandom he "always thought it’d be great to see the boys [end things] against insurmountable odds and to freeze-frame on them and just hear stuff in the background. You don’t know if they die, you don’t know if they live, but you know that they’re going to go out in a blaze of glory." Padalecki also sees merit in a less downbeat but still-ambiguous send-off, involving the series ending with Sam and Dean simply arming up for another battle with evil, ensuring fans that the Winchesters will continue fighting the good fight until their last respective breaths.
For his part, Ackles appears to possess a slightly more pessimistic view of what the Winchesters' ultimate fate should up being:
"It’s either going to end tragic or it’s going to end not tragic, and I can kind of make an argument for both. I don’t really know where it’s going to go. I always thought Dean would make the ultimate sacrifice for his brother. I guess if I had to choose something, that’s probably what I would choose."
If past is prologue, Supernatural may very well end with one or both Winchester brothers dying, either trying to save one another or humanity itself. In fact, it's become a kind of in-universe running gag among the forces of evil in recent seasons how Sam and Dean always seem to be able to cheat death, and/or find a way out of whatever (sometimes literal) hell they find themselves trapped in. Still, one would think that their luck will have to run out at some point, and having the scenario that Ackles describes come to pass would certainly be a poignant, emotional way to wrap up a decade of the heroic siblings miraculously escaping the grave.
On the other hand, there's the question of whether Supernatural's fanbase would be okay with their favorite brothers going out on the losing end after suffering through so much loss and destruction over the course of their seemingly cursed lives. They've lost their mother, their father, their surrogate father, and countless friends and girlfriends to the forces of darkness so far, and season 12 will likely add even more bodies to Sam and Dean's personal cemetery of loved ones. Either way Supernatural chooses to go out, the ride getting there is sure to be rocky and tumultuous. Thankfully, the fans wouldn't want it any other way.
Supernatural airs Wednesdays at 9pm on The CW.