Joining the ranks of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, the CW’s fantasy/horror series Supernatural now has its own fan film. Written by award-winning fantasy author Naomi Novik (of the Temeraire series) and directed by fanvidder Counteragent, The Other Side runs like a typical Supernatural episode—but with one important twist.
Slotting into the show somewhere around season 4, “The Other Side features a humanoid “dragon” who transforms the two main characters, Sam and Dean Winchester, into women. This handily provides the film with a believably Supernatural-esque problem to solve (seriously, for the Winchester brothers, this situation is barely weird at all), as well as avoiding the difficulty of tracking down a male fan actor who resembles the luminously beautiful Jensen Ackles.
Considering the show’s love of cheesy sci-fi storylines—not to mention the comedy potential of the hyper-masculine Dean Winchester having to walk a mile in women’s shoes—it’s surprising that Supernatural hasn’t yet featured a real episode like this. Still, The Other Side is pretty convincing. Opening with a typical “The Road So Far” sequence and a short scene with the “real” Sam and Dean, this fan film seems authentic enough that aside from some unavoidable budget issues, it could easily be a lost episode from the show. The only thing missing is Dean’s 1967 Chevy Impala, which was probably a little harder to get hold of than most props.
Genderswapped characters are a popular fanfiction trope, particularly for sources that don’t have many female characters to begin with. And for a show with a predominantly female audience, Supernatural is known for some surprisingly poor representation of women. After eight seasons on the air, Cracked.com’s Supernatural female characters chart still mostly holds true: If you’re a woman on this show, you’re probably either evil or doomed to die an early death, and you almost certainly look like an underwear model.
If anything, The Other Side isn’t just a sign of this fandom’s devotion to the show—it also highlights the gender imbalance on a “normal” episode of the show. Even if you don’t count the briefly female-bodied Sam and Dean, The Other Side already features a wider variety of female characters than your average episode of Supernatural—and it certainly doesn’t suffer from it.
Released in three parts, The Other Side will continue on May 7 and conclude on May 14. Until then, the Counteragent Films blog has production notes from the film’s two-year creation, as well as some stills from later in the episode.
Image via Counteragent