Supernatural may be over, but the show’s fandom drama is still alive and well. The latest plot twist revolves around a newly-announced prequel series. This isn’t the first time the CW has tried to launch a Supernatural spinoff, and the new show is already earning backlash from fans. But we’ll get to that in a moment. The bigger scandal involves the main Supernatural cast, two of whom had no idea this spinoff was even happening.
Titled The Winchesters, the upcoming prequel is produced by Supernatural star Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester) and his wife Danneel Ackles. It’s going to focus on the Winchester brothers’ parents John and Mary, with Ackles narrating the story of their early relationship. But when he announced the news on Twitter, his Supernatural co-stars, Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) and Misha Collins (Castiel) revealed that they weren’t even told about the project. “Wish I heard about this some way other than Twitter,” wrote Padalecki.
Misha Collins’ tweet seems kind of jokey, in line with his quirky internet persona. Padalecki, on the other hand, seems genuinely upset—and happy to air his grievances on a public forum. He and Ackles co-starred as brothers for 15 years and appeared to be close friends. It’s pretty surprising that he wasn’t made aware of The Winchesters, suggesting that Ackles kept the project secret from him while they were still promoting Supernatural‘s final season. Padalecki confirmed in a later tweet that he wasn’t joking about his response, saying, “This is the first I’ve heard about it. I’m gutted.”
As for the spinoff itself, the idea behind The Winchesters is inspiring criticism from fans on social media. John Winchester is seen as an abusive father by many longtime viewers, and his relationship with Sam and Dean’s mother Mary has already been covered heavily in Supernatural. The prequel’s announcement describes their romance as an “epic, untold love story,” but according to Supernatural canon, John and Mary’s enemies-to-lovers arc relied on divine intervention for them to fall in love, and culminated in Mary dying a violent death. And while Supernatural is full of messy, tragic relationships, this isn’t necessarily a story that fans were begging to explore in detail.
There’s often a gulf between the most vocal parts of a fandom and the mainstream audience for a show, so maybe The Winchesters will be a hit despite this backlash. But among Supernatural‘s core fanbase, people still seem more enthusiastic about Wayward Sisters, a previous spinoff attempt that focused on a team of female characters instead of the main Winchester family.