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Jensen Ackles Celebrates 15 Years Of Supernatural With Before-And-After Photos On Dean Winchester's Birthday

Contains spoilers for the Finale of Supernatural

It’s been a little over a year since the last episode of the final season of Supernatural aired, and the fandom still isn’t quite over it. Following the end of the long-running series, leads Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki have both moved on to other major roles, but it looks like they’re still holding onto their inner Winchester too. Ackles celebrated his on-screen persona’s birthday by comparing a Season 1 Dean Winchester to a picture of him from Season 15, and it’s giving me all the feels. 

It’s no secret in the Supernatural fandom that Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki became very close to their characters and their Supernatural family. Padalecki had been very vocal about wanting to return to the character if possible in the future, and now Ackles is showing some serious Dean Winchester withdrawals. 

In a recent Instagram post, Jensen Ackles compares a young, fresh Dean Winchester with that of an older one he left us with at the end of Season 15.  You can check out the side-by-side below, along with Ackles’ touching caption:

After 15 years of working on one show, building a life around it, and forging lasting relationships from it, it makes since the absence would leave some kind of void. The post from the star doesn’t leave a lot to the imagination in regards to just how much the character meant to him. I mean, how often does an actor give a heartfelt happy birthday tribute to a fictional character? 

Fans seem to be of a like mind to Jensen Ackles, because the comments section is full of kind words and heavy hearts, as fans say that they too miss Dean Winchester and Supernatural. While most fans are commenting in solidarity to how Ackles seems to be feeling about his beloved “imaginary friend," others are commenting that they wished Dean had a better ending on the series.

Jensen Ackles himself had a hard time coming to terms with Supernatural's ending and, in particular, the ending of his character. The final episode of Supernatural saw the death of Dean Winchester - like, final death, not one of the many temporary deaths the character saw during the series. Dean went to a newly reformed heaven and was able to find peace. It’s an ending that was controversial in the Supernatural fandom, a stance that Ackles says is understandable.

Whether you agree with the ending or not, you have to admit that the show had a good run. Indeed, all good things have to come to an end. Jared Padalecki is now the lead in The Cw’s Walker, Texas Ranger reboot Walker and Jensen Ackles has wrapped on Season 3 of The Boys and is pursuing other projects with his and his wife Danneel Ackles’ (Formerly Danneel Harris) production company, with potential for a Supernatural spin-off series in the future. While both have moved onward and forward, this latest post indicates the look back can be bittersweet.