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Supernatural is finally coming to an end on The CW. Stars Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, and Misha Collins broke the news that the show will wrap up at the conclusion of Season 15 next year. Now, fans who have fallen in love with Supernatural's characters and mythology thanks to more than a decade of development are undoubtedly saddened by the news, and even I needed a few minutes to really absorb that the Winchesters will be done saving people and hunting things by the end of the next TV season.
My first reaction -- like what must have been the reaction of many fans everywhere -- was dismay that Supernatural really was coming to an end. After all, I still haven't gotten that Fountain of Youth episode explaining Jensen Ackles' lack of aging, and I've been pitching that for years! Still, now that I've had some time to think about it, maybe even the most diehard fans don't need to be filled with despair. Supernatural ending could be pretty awesome. There's a sunny side to every situation, right?
The early announcement that Supernatural is ending must work in its favor, and not just because it gives fans plenty of advance notice to prepare for any coming heartbreak. In far too many cases, shows get the axe with very little advance notice. Sometimes, cancellations happen when a season has already ended, and the best-case scenario can be for a cancellation to come with enough time to throw together an epilogue with some closure.
Otherwise, a show might end a season on a killer cliffhanger, only to be cancelled and leave fans hanging with more questions than answers, as was the case with Lucifer before it was saved by Netflix. Some shows, like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Season 5 and Castle for what ultimately did prove to be its final season, craft season finales with wiggle room just in case a late-in-the-game cancellation happens. Basically, series are best-served by having advance notice of the coming end, and Supernatural has more than a full season to build to a grand finale.
Supernatural is so expansive with so much history and development that it really needs all the time it can get to build to a finale without sacrificing the fun that has kept fans hanging through all the heartbreak of the series. With all of Season 15, Supernatural has the chance to go for more bonkers and super meta episodes, bone-chillingly scary episodes, and mythology episodes without overlooking anything.
Does this mean that the finale will please everybody? Of course not. When has a series finale of a TV show ever pleased anybody? Honestly, as long as it's more satisfying than the end of The Sopranos, How I Met Your Mother, and The X-Files, I'll be okay. Much like the early announcement of Arrow's end, the sad news comes with the hope of a truly stellar final batch of episodes.
That there's an end in sight means saying goodbye to the Winchesters, Castiel, and the rest, but it also means the Supernatural team can build to that ending. That has to be a good thing. The early confirmation of an end may also mean that Supernatural can go all-out on the impossible.
Admittedly, it would be difficult to argue that Supernatural hasn't already embraced the overwhelming weird, what with episodes like "The French Mistake" that featured Sam and Dean playing actors named "Jared Padalecki" and "Jensen Ackles," "Mystery Spot" with Dean dying over and over again while Sam is tormented by an Asia song every morning, and that whole 200th episode filled with teenage girls putting on a musical version of Supernatural. And then there was Scooby-Doo!
Why shouldn't the Winchesters do something crazy, even if it sets an unbreakable precedent for the in-show universe? Why not have them do something that breaks all the rules that might hold them back if the show still had a long future ahead of it? Wouldn't it make sense for Sam and Dean to do something like visit the Fountain of Youth and guarantee that they never age beyond their late 30s/early 40s? Unleash the craziest ideas that couldn't have worked before! Take advantage of that the end is nigh!
Bring back whatever dead characters haven't already managed to appear via flashback, ghost, doppelganger, and/or resurrection! Go for something even more meta than Supernatural fans could have imagined! Cross over with Arrow, like Stephen Amell once suggested, or Riverdale, or The 100. I mean, that last one would totally work if Supernatural would just go with the Fountain of Youth! Jeffrey Dean Morgan is already on board to return for the finale, so make that happen!
Of course, Supernatural may not want to go too over-the-top if the folks behind the scenes seize the final season as the last chance to properly launch a spinoff via backdoor pilot. The first two attempts at a spinoff never got off the ground, despite the stage being all but perfectly set for The Wayward Sisters.
If The CW wants to keep a Supernatural presence on the airwaves -- which stands to reason, as The CW President Mark Pedowitz said as recently as last month that Supernatural was sticking around unless the ratings tanked and stars wanted to leave -- then it could use the final season to launch a new series.
If Supernatural is ending because Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles finally made the decision to move on, then the spinoff might have to be one that wouldn't necessarily need Sam and Dean in the mix. Wayward Sisters could pull it off, but there are other characters that could theoretically anchor a new series. With all of this time to plan ahead, Supernatural could put together a great backdoor pilot, and viewers might be more inclined to check it out with the knowledge that Sam and Dean's time is running out.
Now, I have to address the question of why exactly Sam and Dean's time is running out. If there is a spinoff, it seems unlikely that Supernatural could end with them just continuing to save people and hunt things across the country in the Impala. A few years ago, Jared Padalecki pitched a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid-esque ending, with the boys facing impossible odds and ready to die in a blaze of glory... but with that blaze of glory happening off-screen.
It's not like viewers would need to see them die again to know what a Winchester death looks like, right? They've both died plenty of times already. For his part, Jensen Ackles once thought that the apocalypse was a fitting way to end the series, but Supernatural has already tackled the apocalypse more than once. There are plenty of possibilities.
Will they die in a blaze of glory together as part of a grand sacrifice? Could one die, and the other moves on in an attempt to honor his fallen brother? Or what if neither dies, and they live a happily-ever-after? Could a family reunion happen before the very end? Was it all a dream, and they wake up in the back of the Impala being driven by their parents, played by Bob Newhart and Suzanne Pleshette?
Given that there's no saying how the current Season 14 is going to end, it's too soon to guess with any certainty how the series finale will wrap up. For now, tune in to The CW on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of what is now the second-to-last season of Supernatural.