Although Supernatural ended in 2020 with a somewhat divisive series finale, the Winchesters’ story doesn’t appear to be over yet. After the cancelation of the short-lived prequel-spin-off The Winchesters, it seems that Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) may be coming back for more after recent reports of a potential revival have surfaced, potentially bringing the story back from the grave. However, while we wait for the Winchesters to return to saving people and hunting things, let’s take a look back at all the other attempts to expand on the Supernatural legacy beyond the original series. Believe it or not, there are a lot more of them than you’d think!

‘Supernatural’ Tried To Expand Its Universe With ‘Supernatural: Bloodlines’
Fans of the long-running series will remember that The Winchesters (more on that in a bit) wasn’t the first attempted spin-off set in the Supernatural universe. Back in Season 9, writer (and future showrunner) Andrew Dabb partnered with director Robert Singer on “Bloodlines,” an episode that served as a backdoor pilot for their proposed spin-off: Supernatural: Tribes. “Bloodlines” saw Sam and Dean discover a vast monster conspiracy in the city of Chicago, only to turn it over to the young police academy trainee-turned-hunter Ennis Ross (Lucien Laviscount) after his fiancée was killed outside a monster club.

Tribes, which was soon re-titled Supernatural: Bloodlines, was set to follow Ennis as he sets his sights on the five monster mafia families who control all aspects of the Windy City’s infrastructure. Ennis would be joined by shapeshifter David Lassiter (Nathaniel Buzolic) who wishes to end the blood feud between his family and the family of his lover, the werewolf Violet Duval (Melissa Roxburgh). Bloodlines was an interesting and exciting concept that had a lot of potential to work on the CW, especially in the wake of the other genre shows circulating on the network at the time.

For one thing, the diverse ensemble cast and setting allowed for different stories to be told within the Supernatural universe, stories that Sam and Dean had no business telling. Bloodlines seemed to cater heavily to the CW’s young adult audience through younger actors and romantic subplots, while also adding the horror genre element to keep fans of Supernatural interested. Other spin-off shows like Angel and The Originals, which originated from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Vampire Diaries respectively, became obvious blueprints for success as they also followed a blend of human and supernatural creatures navigating love and loss in a major city.

‘Supernatural: Bloodlines’ Never Happened, but Other Spin-Off Attempts Followed
Why didn’t Supernatural: Bloodlines happen? We might never know for sure. “[Our idea] was probably a little too similar to The Originals,” co-creator Andrew Dabb reflected later, explaining that the timing just wasn’t right. But that wasn’t all of it. Dabb later admitted that they were trying “to do something set in the Supernatural world but very unlike Supernatural.” That’s where the whole thing went wrong. Not only was “Bloodlines” one of the most hated episodes of Season 9, but the concept was so unlike the original Supernatural that it felt somewhat unnatural to watch.

The characters weren’t as exciting as Sam and Dean, and the story, while compelling, didn’t land the same way as the Winchesters’ revenge-fueled early seasons did. Had Dabb and company taken a more Chris Carter approach to spin-offs, they might’ve had a hit on their hands like The X-Files creator did with the short-lived series Millennium. While Millennium only lasted three seasons, the series made its mark and has a large cult following to this day. What made it work was that it didn’t rely on an X-Files connection other than sharing the same series creator. Instead, it allowed itself to be its own thing, eventually crossing over with The X-Files as time went on.

Contrast this with Carter’s later spin-off, The Lone Gunmen, which followed three X-Files supporting characters and only lasted one short season. Its heavy reliance on X-Files fans, though the series ran a starkly different tone, kept it from ever standing on its own and the characters were quickly drafted back into the main series. Similarly, Supernatural: Bloodlines was trying too hard to connect itself to the Sam and Dean story while also separating itself too much from it. That sounds like an oxymoron, but when you think about “Bloodlines,” and how disconnected it feels from the rest of the show, it becomes clear that their tone was misguided from the start. Supernatural: Bloodline’s ultimate downfall was that it tried to break away from the Winchesters too much, something Dabb would learn for the next attempted spin-off.

‘Supernatural’ Tried To Spin-Off Again With ‘Supernatural: Wayward Sisters’
When “Wayward Sisters” aired in Season 13, Supernatural fans thought for sure that this next spin-off series, titled Supernatural: Wayward Sisters, would be an immediate hit. Having spent years with characters like Sheriffs Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) and Donna Hanscum (Briana Buckmaster), and the past few seasons getting to know Claire Novak (Kathryn Newton) and Alex Jones (Katherine Ramdeen), Dabb and company used the beginning of Season 13 to set the stage for their next attempt at a spin-off set in the familiar Supernatural location of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The flagship series soon introduced the psychic Patience Turner (Clark Backo), the granddaughter of Sam and Dean’s one-time ally Missouri Mosely (Loretta Devine), and dream walker Kaia Nieves (Yadira Guevara-Prip), who tried to help the brothers find their missing mother. By continually introducing and developing these new rising stars, Supernatural hoped to create a built-in audience that would carry over to the prospective spin-off. With lots of character history behind them, the Wayward Sisters seemed like an instant hit, feeling “more like an outgrowth of Supernatural” rather than some random side-plot, according to Andrew Dabb.

The CW Didn’t Pick Up ‘Supernatural: Wayward Sisters’
As Supernatural grew into more of an ensemble series under Dabb and Singer’s lead, it felt natural that the Wayward Sisters gang would branch out into their own series, protecting the people of Sioux Falls from otherworldly monsters and demons. It felt like a place where Jody, Donna, Claire, Alex, and the rest could grow and continue their own journeys as Sam, Dean, Castiel (Misha Collins), and Jack (Alexander Calvert) traveled across America.

Unfortunately, Supernatural: Wayward Sisters wasn’t picked up either, and it’s a little bit unclear why since Dabb wanted to “cross-pollinate” between the two shows as often as possible. No doubt, that would’ve helped the series’ ratings right off the bat. Maybe it was the overtly “girl power” tone or maybe the network saw Supernatural’s end in sight and wasn’t confident enough that Wayward Sisters could carry on without the Winchesters. Whatever happened behind the scenes, it was sad and disappointing that the world of Supernatural wouldn’t continue on past Sam and Dean themselves.

Of course, since Dabb and Singer were the showrunners of the main series, Jody, Donna, and Kaia all returned to finish out their stories in the final two seasons of Supernatural, with three episodes specifically dedicated to continuing on the “Wayward Sisters” story. Claire, Alex, and Patience would get passing mentions over the years, with all of their continued character development and hunting occurring off-screen. As unsatisfying as that was, it’s better than the never-again-mentioned events of “Bloodlines,” which is possibly the biggest ball the Winchesters ever dropped (besides not closing the Gates of Hell, that is).

Spin-Offs Like ‘Ghostfacers’ and ‘Supernatural: The Anime Series’ Were More Successful
Over the years, there were rumors of other Supernatural-related spin-offs, including series creator Eric Kripke’s idea of one set in the Old West following the demon-killing hunter Samuel Colt (Sam Hennings). Kripke considered Supernatural to be somewhat of a “modern western” and thought that continuing Colt’s story as a “horror western” would have been a neat way to go. However, talking about it was as far as Colt’s spin-off ever got. Eventually, Colt — who was the creator of the magical demon-killing revolver of the same name — made an appearance in Season 6’s “Frontierland” when Sam and Dean travel back in time to the 1800s, a fun nod to the original spin-off idea.

But in 2010, the short-lived web series Ghostfacers spun off from the Supernatural Season 3 episode of the same name, running for 11 episodes during the show’s fifth season. It followed then-recurring Supernatural characters Ed Zeddmore (A.J. Buckley) and Harry Spangler (Travis Wester) as they and their Ghostfacing team investigated a haunted theater. They even get to meet Castiel, who warns them about the Apocalypse. But, that premise aside, the Ghostfacers weren’t ever seen again beyond one Season 9 episode (“#THINMAN”) that finally broke the Ghostbusters-wannabees up for good.

Then, in 2011, the Japanese studio Madhouse adapted the first two seasons of Supernatural into Supernatural: The Anime Series, also known as Supernatural: The Animation. This series would be released in both Japanese and English, with Padalecki reprising his role as Sam for the English dub and Andrew Farrar voicing Dean for the first 20 episodes until Ackles would return for the final “All Hell Breaks Loose” two-parter. Benefitting from its animated format, the series expanded heavily on the Supernatural mythology by adapting some of the first two seasons’ greatest hits and telling original stories like “Temptation of the Demon” and “The Spirit of Vegas”.

There Is Potential for More ‘Supernatural’ Stories in the Future
It wasn’t until after Supernatural ended, however, that another spin-off attempt would succeed past the backdoor pilot stage. In 2022, The Winchesters premiered on the CW, developed by former Supernatural writer Robbie Thompson and executive produced by none other than Jensen Ackles himself. Ackles reprised his role as Dean Winchester in The Winchesters, which was set up as a prequel series that followed younger versions of Sam and Dean’s parents, John (Drake Rodger) and Mary (Meg Donnelly) in 1973.

Though originally described as a prequel, it was soon revealed that The Winchesters took place on an alternate Earth after the events of the Supernatural series finale “Carry On.” In the finale episode of The Winchesters, Dean arrives to help the Monster Club (which features John, Mary, and their hunter friends) deal with a threat from his world. His appearance here also serves as a necessary epilogue to Dean’s story in Supernatural, and may imply further adventures going forward. Even Bobby (Jim Beaver) and Jack make it back this time around, with other Supernatural alumni reprising familiar roles.

Unfortunately, The Winchesters was canceled by the CW after a single 13-episode season, after a series of internal changes led to its demise. Ackles and company attempted to find a new home for the spin-off but were ultimately unsuccessful. This just goes to show that without both Sam and Dean at the helm of a series, anything labeled Supernatural but without the original Winchesters is likely doomed to fail, which is a shame given all the interesting stories that could still be told in that world. Nevertheless, with the news that Supernatural could return in the future, maybe we haven’t seen the last of the Winchesters after all.


By Damyan Ivanov

My name is Damyan Ivanov and i was born in 1998 in Varna, Bulgaria. Graduated high school in 2016 and since then i'm working on wordpress news websites.