Supernatural fans are familiar with the ongoing struggle for the long-lasting CW series to land a spinoff. There was first Supernatural: Bloodlines, which got a backdoor pilot. More recently, there was Wayward Sisters, which also only got as far as a backdoor pilot, though one with an epic action sequence. Sadly, neither project landed a greenlight announcement, though original characters from Wayward Sisters got brought back for Supernatural Season 14.
Clearly, there are big ideas and room within the mythology for Supernatural to expand its primetime influence. The CW explained why the Wayward Sisters spinoff in particular did not end up happening, but why haven't the spinoffs worked out in general? Supernatural’s executive producer, Brad Buckner, has an idea. Speaking with CinemaBlend and other press outlets at San Diego Comic-Con, Bucker said:
So this show is really an anomaly for the beauty of its machinery and the chemistry. So every time you pitch a Supernatural spinoff, or you shoot one, it's very difficult to rise to that level. And obviously some of them haven't worked for other reasons, but measuring it against the original, it's not the same. You want a great sequel to resonate with what made the original fantastic, and this one is such an odd collection of happenstance. Wonderful happenstance. That it's tough to get to that level yet.
You cannot wholly recreate the world of Dean and Sam Winchester without, well, Sam and Dean Winchester. It is tough to argue that Supernatural’s extended bottled-lightning success could be easily duplicated by anyone, either those involved with the show or those who aren't. Its endurance is a testament to its impact on fans, and how faithful that fanbase has been.
Supernatural has thrived for more than 300 episodes. It's a milestone that was reached last season, replete with a visit from Dean and Sam’s late dad, John Winchester, as reprised by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Throughout the years, the storylines and mythology hallmarks have shifted as new cast additions have come to the forefront, which plays into the consistent attempts to branch away from the Winchester brothers for other tales.
Still, Supernatural’s executive producer Brad Buckner went on about why spinoff ideas don't have the lasting power. In his words:
You know, they keep talking potentially doing a spinoff. I think part of the reason that some of the spinoff attempts haven't succeeded, even the ones that never got shot, but just never got off the ground is that this show just struck gold. The boys, and then Misha [Collins], added Misha, worked out tremendously. Adding Jack. That just almost never happens. You screw with the tried-and-true formula and there really is no formula for the show. That's what the odd thing is. It's not CSI.
With “Misha,” Brad Buckner is referring to Misha Collins, who plays the great Castiel. Collins joined Supernatural in Season 4 and quickly became a fan-favorite, leading to him staying on the show ever since, give or take a few hiatuses. Jack, as played by Alexander Calvert, was introduced in Season 12 as the son of Lucifer, and has been around ever since.
As Brad Buckner points out, Supernatural is anchored by its particular set of characters and cast members, so trying to replicate the same highs with newer characters is a huge challenge. In Supernatural's case, it has worked out for the best, even if its various follow-ups have gone belly-up.
As Brad Bucker points out, Supernatural is not CSI, so simply starting up a new series in a different city won't do. The former is a character-driven horror series, while the latter was a crime procedural, making it arguably much more straightforward to reproduce.
Supernatural fans will soon be dealing with a heartrending farewell, so we may not ever see any spinoffs. Earlier this year, it was announced that the series would be ending with Season 15, with the cast subsequently reacting to the series-ending news.
Without a spinoff in sight, it means the show’s DNA disappearing from television. Why is it ending? Stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles explained why Supernatural is drawing to a close, with the former even explaining how he wants the final season to end for Sam and Dean. Will it go down that way?
The wait for finding out is narrowing down. Supernatural Season 15 premieres Thursday, October at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. Previous seasons of Supernatural are currently streaming on Netflix, along with other exciting premieres. While you await the horror series return, this summer’s TV highlights will surely keep you busy.