Endings are a tricky business, both in real life and when it comes to wrapping up a popular television series. Of course, this is even more true when said TV show has been gathering fans (and fan expectations) for 15 seasons, meaning that the merits of a series finale such as the one delivered by Supernatural fairly recently will probably be hotly contested by viewers for several years. While we can always guess at the ways that series-ender could have been more fulfilling, now we're hearing about the original plan for the finale, but I think many of us will agree that the Supernatural ending we got was actually better.
OK, before you get up in arms at that last statement, let me be clear that I think the Supernatural series finale we got was better than the originally planned ending would have been. I'm not someone who feels that the finale was a total stinker, anyway, but I'm also not saying that some aspects couldn't have been handled a bit better overall.
So, just what was this previously set finale? In the (already sold out) collector's book Supernatural 15 Seasons: The Crew Member's Souvenir (via FangasmSPN on Twitter), showrunner Andrew Dabb, who took over in 2016 after writing on the show since Season 7, revealed that previous finale plan. Apparently, the idea was always for Dean to end up dead and in Heaven first, with us watching Sam's life fast forward through until his death, but then the last few moments would have wrapped a bit differently. As Dabb noted in the book:
When Bob Singer and I sat down to talk about Season 15, and our inevitable end, we came up with something that felt like a fitting version of Sam and Dean's Heaven: all the people the boys had met along the way (or, at least, those we could convince to fly to Vancouver) crowded into a re-built Roadhouse, as the band Kansas played our (official unofficial) theme song: Carry On Wayward Son.
I can certainly see where this would feel like the best ending to Supernatural for Andrew Dabb and executive producer Robert Singer. And, I can admit that it does pull at my heartstrings a bit, as well. Not only did I love the characters who were introduced along with Harvelle's Roadhouse in Season 2, but I always lamented how many other cool characters were brought onto the show, only to be horribly murdered / sacrifice their lives for the greater good.
We did get to see a teensy bit of the Roadhouse in the finale, but, as Dabb tells it, this plan would have showed off a completely rebuilt set and filled it to nearly bursting with everyone they could bring in for the finale. Honestly, though, as much as this would have been cool, it feels like it would have been way too...hopeful for a show like Supernatural, doesn't it? We did get a chance to revisit some dearly departed characters here and there toward the end of the series, and that seems way better to me than filling the final shot with almost everyone who'd ever helped Sam and Dean.
Supernatural's final scene was one where Dean has come to a stop on a bridge overlooking a picturesque scene after driving around in Heaven's version of Baby. Almost immediately after getting out of the car to enjoy the view, he realizes Sam is standing behind him. The reunited brothers hug and look out at the scene before them together as the show fades to black for the last time. That is, truly, quintessential Supernatural to me.
The focus of the show had always been Sam, Dean and how much they'd go through to stay together. The series left us with the knowledge that the brotherly love continued into the afterlife for both of them, which is an even more fitting end, in my opinion.
As you might imagine, the Roadhouse-focused ending met it's own fast fate because of the production shutdowns and the many new filming rules the cast and crew were under once they were able to begin work again. But, I really think everything ended up basically going the way it should have for Supernatural's finale.