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Supernatural is one of the defining series of The CW and seemed for a long time like the show that would just keep on showing. Now, however, the show is poised to enter its fifteenth and final season, and The CW will have to enter a whole new era. Interestingly, Misha Collins, who plays the angel Castiel on Supernatural, recently revealed that he doesn't think Supernatural would have gotten on the air in the current era.
Speaking to CinemaBlend and other press at San Diego Comic-Con, Misha Collins said this:
Supernatural is known for many things after nearly a decade and a half on the air already, but the longevity of major female characters is not one of them. In fact, they have a tendency to be killed off, although to be fair, mostly of the major Supernatural characters have been killed off at least once. Misha Collins even once revealed the best of Castiel's many deaths to CinemaBlend!
The show is just fundamentally the story of Sam and Dean Winchester, and it happens that the most profound bonds they've formed over the years have been with other men. Or at least celestial beings occupying male vessels, as is the case with Castiel, who has occupied female bodies as well. Fans just know him best in the original form of Jimmy Novak, played by Misha Collins.
If Supernatural premiered today, there would almost certainly be a greater presence of female characters from the beginning. That's not to say that one of the Winchester siblings would be Samantha or Deanna rather than Sam or Dean, but the most important women of Season 1 were Jess and Mary Winchester, both of whom were very dead.
The focus on brotherhood and masculinity that came to define Supernatural might have been absent if Supernatural premiered in 2019 rather than 2005. Misha Collins went on to discuss how Supernatural found itself as well as early attempts to incorporate female characters on a more regular basis, saying this:
Misha Collins may not have joined Supernatural until Season 4 as the angel more or less on Dean's shoulder, but he dropped some interesting information about Season 3. Fans will undoubtedly remember that Season 3 featured two female characters in relatively prominent roles: Katie Cassidy's Ruby and Lauren Cohan's Bela Talbot.
As Misha Collins noted, both Katie Cassidy and Lauren Cohan went on to successful careers, tackling long-running roles on other series, with Cassidy playing various versions of Laurel Lance from the very beginning of Arrow (also on The CW and ending this year with a new suit for Cassidy) and Cohan becoming a key part of The Walking Dead ensemble starting in Season 2 and running through Season 9.
Interestingly, Lauren Cohan has expressed interest in returning to Supernatural for the final season, and may return to The Walking Dead following Whiskey Cavalier's cancellation. Hey, if Jeffrey Dean Morgan could return to Supernatural while maintaining a presence on The Walking Dead, why not Lauren Cohan? Supernatural has brought back characters from wilder fates than what happened to Bela.
That said, we should probably rule out Katie Cassidy returning to Supernatural before the end, unless via flashback. Her version of Ruby was destroyed and replaced in Season 4 by Genevieve Cortese, who later married Supernatural co-leading man Jared Padalecki.
According to Misha Collins, neither Ruby 1.0 nor Bela really "fit" into Supernatural as the story of the Winchester brothers, whereas characters like Cas and Crowley and Jack did work. Mark Sheppard probably isn't coming back, but I'd be surprised if Castiel doesn't make it to the very end, and likely Jack as well despite his recent death. Collins elaborated:
Misha Collins certainly has a point about the early years trying to work in some romance for the Winchester brothers from time to time, and it was the death of Jess that actually propelled Sam to start saving people and hunting things in the family business again.
Fortunately for womankind in the Supernatural universe, considering what often happens to the women who cross paths with the Winchester brothers, Supernatural shifted its focus almost entirely on family rather than romance, although there are plenty of viewers hanging on to hopes for a Dean/Castiel romance. They do have a more profound bond, after all!
Although the attempt to launch a Wayward Sisters spinoff did increase the prominence of some of the women of Supernatural, the core group is still Sam, Dean, Castiel, and Jack. Misha Collins credits the network and studio for allowing Supernatural to go with the formula that works:
Supernatural has indeed been breaking the mold for a long time, and we can only hope that the series goes out with a bang. Jared Padalecki promises a "version of peace" for the Winchesters by the end of the series finale, and Jensen Ackles revealed that he had a lot of trouble with the ending until he chatted with an old friend about it.