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The Significance Of The Winchesters' Men Of Letters Organization

Contains spoilers for "The Winchesters" Season 1, Episode 1

The first episode of "The Winchesters" doesn't exactly try to hide the fact that it's a "Supernatural" prequel. From a Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) cameo to the fact that the "Supernatural" siblings' parents are the show's main characters, any fan of the original CW paranormal drama should be right at home with the show's early 1970s vibe.

Along with serving as the origin for the monster-hunting love story of John Winchester (Drake Rodger) and Mary Campbell (Meg Donnelly), the show also does plenty of heavy lifting to set up the stories this particular corner of the "Supernatural" universe  — or, rather, multiverse, taking some of the original show's wilder antics into account — intends to focus on. From new characters and antagonists to familiar characters played by fresh faces, the premiere includes a rpotentially important allusion to a certain organization.

Apart from "The Winchesters'" new large-scale villain, the Acrida, the first episode shows us an old base of an organization known as the Men of Letters, with whom John's father Henry (played by Gil McKinney in "Supernatural") was affiliated with. But who exactly are the Men of Letters, and what is their significance in the world of "The WInchesters?"

An influential secret society with a cool base and a hell knight problem

The Men of Letters are a secret society of scholars and students of arcana who have been around since at least the 17th century. Though much of them is shrouded in mystery, "Supernatural" reveals that their Stateside heyday ended after the 1950s — though several members, many of whom have all sorts of mystical powers, have popped up all across the series' timeline. What's more, a version of the Men of Letters continue to keep vigil over the supernatural world in the U.K., and Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) in particular becomes quite influential in the reformed U.S. branch. 

Though the group has been quite influential over the years, their arguably biggest impact in "Supernatural" is the Men of Letters bunker. This mystical building acts as Sam and Dean Winchester's headquarters for a while, as they look into the organization and end up resurrecting a version of it.  Add that to the fact that the brothers' granddad Henry Winchester is a powerful Man of Letters, and it's clear that the organization is intimately connected to the Winchester bloodline. 

By the time "The Winchesters" takes place, the U.S. branch of the organization has run afoul of the hell knight Abaddon, who has essentially carved its way through the membership. As such, it's not quite clear how big a threat (or ally) the organization will be for John and Mary, but it would be quite surprising if this is all we see of them in the show.