Jeffrey Dean Mogan's John Winchester is returning to Supernatural after being gone for 12 seasons, and series showrunners Robert Singer and Andrew Dabb explain why. Playing the father of the show's protagonists, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), John raised his sons to fight the supernatural, which continues to be the core narrative of the series.
John's final appearance in the show was all the way back from Supernatural season 2, although a younger version of him appeared via flashbacks in season 4. Throughout the years, Morgan has expressed his eagerness to reprise his role in the long-running series, but his busy schedule didn't permit that, leaving fans clamoring for a potential Winchester reunion. Fortunately, things finally lined up, paving the way for him to return to the series for its 300th episode, 12 years after his last appearance.
Singer and Dabb spoke to EW in light of the upcoming Supernatural milestone episode and while they were tightlipped about how John Winchester will return, they explained what prompted them to bring him back after being gone for more than a decade. Singer revealed that it was all for the fans who have loyally followed the Winchesters' journey from day 1, citing how previous 100th episodes helped them decide what to offer viewers for their 300th, fully knowing that their 200th offering is hard to top. Describing the upcoming episode as "John-centric," Dabb, on the other hand, teased that it will be an emotional reunion for all parties involved.
“The 300th is in a lot of ways, for Sam and Dean, about home. You’re dealing with two guys who, when this story started and for the bulk of our show, never had a home. It was motel rooms and the Impala and they’d have a place they’d stay for a few weeks or maybe a few months at a time, but that’s pretty much it. Now Sam and Dean have a home, they have a family, and they have Lebanon and that’s really where the idea started. Like okay, what does the town of Lebanon think of these guys? And conversely, what do Sam and Dean think of the town? And then when the idea of Jeffrey Dean Morgan was floated it was great, because not only is it awesome to have him back for a number of different reasons but it’s thematically consistent because suddenly it’s about home, it’s about family, it’s about having that family dinner, it’s about coming home in a more emotional way.”
Dabb furthered by sharing what viewers can expect from the much-anticipated episode, pointing out that John's long absence will play a factor with how his dynamic with his sons have changed overtime. “The fact that the guys were older now and could have different reactions to John was what made it exciting because they’re not going to have the same conversations they had in seasons 1 and 2 of the show,” he added. However, the impending reunion doesn't mean that their story is over.
“They finally get some closure with their father in a way that doesn’t feel like the end of the show. It’s not like, ‘And now roll credits, we’ll never see you again!’ It feels like it allows these guys to put some, not all, of their 14 years of baggage down and move on to the future maybe with some new knowledge, maybe a little bit more unencumbered. Because if we had just brought him back and it had been like, ‘And then they go and hunt a demon together,’ it wouldn’t have been satisfying.”
What makes Morgan's return to Supernatural more satisfying is the fact that it actually took 12 years in real time before his upcoming reunion with Sam and Dean. Considering what the boys have gone through in the last decade, loyal viewers of the show who also haven't seen Morgan in the show can relate to their longingness for their dad. That in itself seems like the perfect way to celebrate the show's 300th episode milestone.