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How Supernatural's Samantha Smith And Amy Gumenick Inspired Meg Donnelly's Portrayal Of Mary In The Winchesters - Exclusive

When fans first watched Mary Winchester die in a blazing glory in the pilot episode of "Supernatural," no one could imagine how integral her character would later become to the Winchester story. Not only did Samantha Smith reprise the role in ghostly form for the Season 1 episode "Home," but she also appeared in a djinn fever dream and plenty of other hallucinations and flashbacks.

Yet that's not all. Season 4 introduces the concept of angelic time travel when Dean (Jensen Ackles) goes back in time to discover that Mary (Amy Gumenick) was actually the hunter of the Winchester family long before John knew demons existed — and the culprit behind the demon deal that led to her death and Sam's (Jared Padalecki) demon blood affliction. Of course, Amara resurrects Mary in Season 11, and we see her continue making her mark in the family business.

For a character who dies in the first episode of the series, her impact on the show is tangible. Now, fans get to see the backstory of an even younger Mary (Meg Donnelly) and John (Drake Rodger) play out in the "Supernatural" prequel series "The Winchesters." The CW invited Looper to the "Winchesters" press room at New York Comic Con, where we exclusively spoke to Donnelly about how Smith and Gumenick inspired her portrayal of Mary Winchester.

Finding young Mary Campbell

Given that we've seen so many variations of Mary's character throughout the years on "Supernatural," we asked Meg Donnelly whether she'd studied any of the character's previous arcs and how she settled on her version of Mary. Donnelly only had lovely things to say about the OG Mary Winchesters. "Their performances were wonderful, and I've watched a lot of Mary's portrayal and 'Supernatural.' Later in the series, she's in it quite a bit because they bring her back," she said. "Watching that definitely helped. It gave it a lot of context because I wanted to make sure that Mary is a strong, independent woman, as she is in the 'Supernatural' series. That was important."

Yet this is the youngest iteration of Mary we've seen on screen, which offers plenty of room for Donnelly to do her own thing. She added, "But this is Mary as, like, a 19-year-old, so I definitely wanted to have my own take on it as well. But it definitely has helped, for sure."

While we know Mary is as badass as she is compassionate in all versions of the character, Donnelly's performance is a bit more hardened and sarcastic — as you might expect from any teen, especially one indoctrinated in risking her life on a daily basis to hunt monsters. The compassionate side is still there, but it takes a bit more work for her loved ones to see that side of her. Then again, that's a classic hunter trait when you lose so many people; when Mary returns to life in "Supernatural" Season 11, she also displays some of these characteristics.

New episodes of "The Winchesters" air Tuesdays on The CW, with episodes streaming on the website the next day.