Supernatural’s incredible 15-season run finally came to an end this year, and while it was a bittersweet, definite end to Sam and Dean Winchester’s journeys as The CW’s foremost monster hunters, it’s probably only a matter of time before the network starts to think about how it can bring the show back to our screens. But it’s not just a case of when Supernatural returns, but also how it returns. After all, a show that prided itself in its fourth-wall-breaking and multiversal expansion doesn’t have to be confined to one particular medium.
Though some viewers may consider the post-Kripke years to be far from the series’ best, one of Supernatural’s greatest episodes of all time came in Season 13, long after the creator had departed from it. Crossing over two of Warner Bros.’s best-loved paranormal mystery-solving teams — Scooby-Doo’s Mystery Inc. and Supernatural’s “Team Free Will” — was a stroke of creative and marketing genius, resulting in a fantastic crossover special that celebrated and sent-up both franchises with love and care.
The episode, for those unfamiliar, is rendered in full Hana-Barbera animation, literally zapping Sam, Dean and Castiel into the world of Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Velma and Daphne to embark on a classic haunted house-style mystery. The Supernatural element truly comes into the mix when Mystery Inc. realizes that they’re dealing with real grisly murders and, confronted by the knowledge that monsters are, indeed, real, and not always some weirdo in a mask pulling off a real estate scam, hilariously descend into a group crisis of confidence.
Even though the episode aired as part of a regular season, part of what made “Scoobynatural” even more special was the way it functioned independently of both Supernatural and Scooby-Doo, as any good crossover special should. Despite its cult status and legions of loyal fans, the former series has never successfully launched a spinoff. Even its most successful tie-in — the anime iteration of the show’s first season — only lasted for a short run of episodes. Supernatural spent years developing its rich mythology, largely born from a mix of urban legends, folklore and biblical figures, and the Winchesters were supported by a large cast of recurring characters — many of whom became unquestionable fan-favorites. That’s why it’s such a misnomer as to why the longest-running genre show in American television history struggled so much to build its legacy into a bigger franchise. Scoobynatural, however, is that opportunity — and it’s already been tried, tested and approved by fans.
Even with Supernatural over, why not do it all again? Using the Scoobynatural episode as a springboard for a full series — or even just another special — would allow both properties to relive their glory days again, and provide an avenue for Ackles and Padalecki to return to their roles without undoing the finale’s deaths, as it could easily exist outside of either universe’s canon.
This would also solve the suspected crux of the spinoff issue Supernatural has always had. The chemistry between the show’s two main actors was always the secret grease behind the wheel. A world without Sam and Dean in it is one devoid of this lightning in a bottle magic, but that phrase is exactly how you could describe Scoobynatural.