A Supernatural Origin Story

New prequel The Winchesters tells the story behind Supernatural

New prequel The Winchesters tells the story behind Supernatural

Before Sam and Dean Winchester, the world was defended by their parents, John and Mary. And the epic story of how they put their love and lives on the line is told via this Supernatural prequel, coming to The CW. 

In The Winchesters, it’s 1969 and John Winchester (Drake Rodger, Murder RX) has just returned to his Kansas hometown after fighting in Vietnam. He’s haunted by the death of a comrade and PTSD but that’s nothing compared to an otherworldly encounter he has that sparks him to trace his father’s past. 

Along the way, he crosses paths with his future wife, Mary (Meg Donnelly, American Housewife), a 19-year-old monster hunter who is also trying to learn more about her own father’s disappearance. Much of the show’s focus will indeed rest upon Mary and John’s “supernatural love story,” but we’ll also meet quirky hunter Carlos (newcomer Jojo Fleites) and young hunter-in-training Latika (Nida Khurshid, Station 19), who join with the Winchesters to form a motley demon-killing crew. 

The series was developed by Robbie Thompson (a writer on Supernatural) and counts among its executive producers Jensen Ackles, who played Dean Winchester in the original 2005-2020 CW series and served as an invaluable resource for Rodger in creating the character of John Winchester. 

“I think with John,” the actor explains, “where I started with that is: What in my life can I bring to this character that resonates with the pain of losing a father at a young age, with growing up with only a mother in the ’50s and ’60s where your mother was supposed to be a motherly figure to you back then and she was much more of a father? So what would it be like to grow up without having an empathetic figure around?” 

Another challenge for Rodger was in matching the character to the older John played early in Supernatural by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The WinchestersCTV Sci-Fi“What can get really constricting playing a pre-existing character,” he says, “is having to play within the realm of what’s already been established. And we’re doing that, it’s just that we’re giving ourselves a lot more artistic freedom by choosing the contrasts, basically. Where do we want to start him at and show his transition into who he ends up being? Which actually I think is a lot of fun because I don’t really have to paint who he ends up being. The fans already know that.” 

“I was just trying to deconstruct Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character,” he continues, “which has been a lot of fun because I’ve never played the younger version of anyone. So instead of just creating a lot of stuff, it’s been cool to deconstruct his character and just pull from like, ‘Oh, he has this trait’ so I can show where he got that trait from.” 

Ackles, who came up with the concept for the series alongside his wife/occasional Supernatural co-star Danneel, will also have something of an onscreen presence, as Dean Winchester himself will narrate his parents’ story; alas, any Supernatural fans expecting to get another taste of B.C. will be disappointed, as the prequel has set up production in New Orleans.  

The Winchesters premieres Tuesday, October 11 on CTV Sci-Fi and The CW