Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How The Winchesters' John And Mary Mirror Sam And Dean On Supernatural

For 15 long years, "Supernatural" reigned supreme as The CW's longest-running series, with Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles in the lead roles of Sam and Dean Winchester. Originally a story about finding their missing father while hunting ghosts, demons, and monsters, "Supernatural" eventually became something much bigger, exploring different timelines, universes, and even cosmic deities. If Sam and Dean couldn't kill or trap it, then nobody could.

Though not every fan enjoyed the series finale, it marked the end of an era. However, as Chuck would say, "Nothing ever really ends." With Jensen Ackles as an executive producer, and reprising his role as Dean in a narration capacity, the prequel series "The Winchesters" has continued the "Supernatural" story. Or, more accurately, it's delving into the history of Sam and Dean's parents, John and Mary Winchester. Played by Drake Rodger and Meg Donnelly, John and Mary's story had been touched upon in the mothership series, but never expanded on in this capacity.

While we hope that Sam will eventually join Dean on his quest to uncover their parents' secret origins, there's no doubt that Sam himself, just like his brother, is woven into the series. As we continue to explore the history of the Winchester family, we can't help but notice some of the crucial ways in which John and Mary mirror their future children. So hop on in, we're going for a ride!

Missing fathers

One of the biggest connections between "Supernatural" and "The Winchesters" is the missing father trope. In the case of "Supernatural," Dean pulls Sam from his new "normal" life at Stanford because their father John Winchester — originally played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan — was on a monster hunt and "hasn't been home in a few days." This leads to Sam and Dean becoming an expert hunting team, finding their father, and eventually saving the world multiple times over.

On "The Winchesters" — set in 1972, one year before the events of the "Supernatural" episode "In the Beginning" — both John Winchester and Mary Campbell search for their respective fathers. John's father Henry Winchester (Gil McKinney) was a member of the now-defunct Men of Letters and has been missing since John was a boy. The "Supernatural" episode "As Time Goes By" reveals that Henry traveled through time while escaping from a demon, only to die defending Sam and Dean in 2013. While John may never learn the truth in the prequel series, his boys eventually reveal all of this to him in "Lebanon," the 300th episode of "Supernatural."

On the other hand, Mary's father Samuel Campbell — played on "Supernatural" by Mitch Pileggi and on "The Winchesters" by Tom Welling — is on the move, trying to stop an unspeakable evil. Not unlike what John would do on "Supernatural," it seems like Samuel is trying to protect his daughter and keep the world safe.

Devil-may-care attitude

On "Supernatural," Dean Winchester is known for having an easy-going, devil-may-care attitude that makes him a bit of a hot-head at times. We're only a few minutes into "The Winchesters" when we realize that he inherits this trait from his mother, Mary Campbell. Like her sons, Mary was raised as a hunter. Because of this, she understands the world better than most.

To deal with the horrors she's seen, she plays things pretty close to the chest. However, her jovial exterior is in place to hide her struggle with the hunting life (more on that later). Of course, that sounds exactly like her son Dean, and, as we've seen them interact quite a bit in the later seasons of "Supernatural" (in which Mary is played by Samantha Smith), it's easy to see that this is a trait that stuck. While this Mary has more of a youthful vigor, not unlike the early "Supernatural" version of Dean, her older self often struggles with personal trauma — the loss of her husband obviously impacts her massively.

In any "Supernatural" series, you need a Dean-like character who can deal with some serious stuff and also be a complete goofball at the same time. While we have yet to see the extremes of that latter side in Mary, there's no doubt that her apparent easy-going attitude is trademark Dean. Or, rather, Dean's is trademark Mary.

Haunted by mental ghosts

In the very first episode of "Supernatural," John witnesses Mary's gruesome death at the hands of the Yellow-Eyed Demon. The evil spirit, after infecting Sam with its demon blood, kills Mary for interfering, which sparks a life of hunting and revenge for John and his young children. 22 years later, Sam watches his girlfriend Jessica (Adrianne Palicki) die in the same manner. Jessica's death haunts Sam for the better part of the series, to the point where he begins to see her when she's not there. By Season 15, Sam admits to Dean that he still thinks about Jess every day.

While John has yet to lose the love of his life, his experience overseas during the Vietnam War was enough to haunt him upon his return. Even after being exposed to the world of ghosts, demons, and monsters, John still sees the "ghosts" of his Marine buddies as he works to live a "normal" life. Or, at least as normal as a Winchester can expect. Thankfully, Mary helps John confirm that these apparitions aren't actual vengeful or violent spirits, but that doesn't make the visions any less real for the young Winchester.

Later episodes of "Supernatural" imply that the reason John and Sam fought so much during their time together was because they were more similar than either one of them would be comfortable admitting. If anything, "The Winchesters" is beginning to prove that this is true.

Wanting out of the hunting life

Being raised by a family of hunters can't be easy, especially when your father is pretty tough and there's evil all around. This was Sam and Dean's experience nearly their entire lives on "Supernatural," and it's being echoed on "The Winchesters" with Mary. In Season 4 of "Supernatural," Dean discovers that Mary was raised as a hunter by her parents. Desiring to leave the life, Mary's love affair with John turned into a fully-blossomed romance that helped her leave it all behind, especially after Azazel killed her parents.

But, as it turns out, Mary couldn't leave the life behind forever, and upon her resurrection at the end of Season 11, she joins her now-grown sons for the next few years in hunting angels, demons, and plenty of other creatures. That is, until she dies again, and is reunited with John in Heaven. The moral of the story is, no matter how hard you try to fight it, once a hunter, always a hunter. That's the battle that Mary is fighting within herself in "The Winchesters," and it's the same battle that Sam fought throughout "Supernatural."

On more than one occasion, including at the end of the series, Sam tried to leave the hunting life behind and find happiness in a "normal" life. Dean tried it for a year or so between Season 5 and Season 6, but Sam was always the most consistent in his hopes to put the horrors of hunting behind him for good.

Trademark plaid and leather

Sam and Dean had some classic looks throughout the 15 seasons of "Supernatural," but by far their most consistent tended to be their love of plaid patterned button-up shirts and Dean's fixation for leather jackets. No surprise, the boys' taste in fashion was inspired by their folks, who — as we see on "The Winchesters" — way back in the 1970s wore the same apparel that Sam and Dean would wear later on. While the young Mary might be a bit more fashionable than the Winchester boys, they don't look too bad themselves.

Ironically, Mary's fashion sense would conform to the same style as her deceased husband and her sons by the time she was resurrected on "Supernatural," and she'd don just as many plaid button-ups as Sam and Dean. Likewise, John would develop a love for leather jackets that would eventually be passed on to Dean by the beginning of the mothership series, a style he no doubt picked up from his wife. But, regardless of who started which trend, it's clear that in order to be a Winchester, you must first dress like a Winchester.

Sam is the only member of the Winchester clan who never quite crossed over into leather jacket territory, but he went from zip-up hoodies in the early seasons of "Supernatural" to plaid button-ups pretty quick. Are they comfortable to hunt in, or do they just like the way they look? We guess it's a bit of both.

Classic rock tunes

One of the most important aesthetics of the "Supernatural" world is the Winchesters' love for classic rock. Although Dean's favorite band Led Zeppelin was never played on "Supernatural," the series had a pretty iconic rock-n-roll soundtrack that included the likes of Styx, Foreigner, Boston, AC/DC, Bob Seger, and Kansas — most notably the series' unofficial theme song, "Carry on Wayward Son." No doubt, one of the most beloved aspects of the original series was the Winchesters' taste in music, but that doesn't originate with Sam and Dean.

From what we've seen of John and Mary in the original series, we know that John's taste in classic rock was passed down to Sam and Dean — well, mostly Dean. While "The Winchesters" has yet to fully embrace the traditional classic rock sound, there have been a few moments that allude to John and Mary's love of good music. While we certainly hope for more rock-n-roll as the series progresses (maybe John and Mary could attend a rock concert during the heyday of these classic bands?), with Jensen Ackles at the helm as an executive producer, we're sure to get at least some Kansas in there before "The Winchesters" is over.

One thing that's always been a constant in the "Supernatural" world is the music, so we can only hope that this trait will carry on over to "The Winchesters." After all, John and Mary live in the exact era where most of their favorite tunes come from, so it would make sense to feature them as the show goes forward.

The Men of Letters connection

One of the biggest connections between John's arc on "The Winchesters" and Sam and Dean's journey on "Supernatural" is the inclusion of the Men of Letters. For those who don't know, the Men of Letters is a super-secret society who, above all else, fight to protect the world from supernatural adversaries. Rather than using methods of violence like hunters do, Men of Letters often use magic or science to trap or kill everything from flesh-and-blood monsters to spiritual beings. John's father, Henry Winchester, was one of the last American members left alive when the demon Abaddon (Alaina Huffman) killed the rest.

Had Henry not traveled through time, he would have died then too. Instead, he journeyed to 2013 where he'd meet his grandsons, Sam and Dean, revealing to them their heritage. Just as Henry's father and grandfather had been Men of Letters, so were John, Dean, and Sam to be as well. Unfortunately, with the American branch of the Men of Letters all dead, there was no one left to train John in their ways, thus his role as a hunter on "The Winchesters." Likewise, John would eventually raise his own sons as hunters, and they wouldn't discover their purpose until halfway through the original series. John's journey on "The Winchesters" is very reminiscent of Sam and Dean's, and that's not by accident.

Saving people, hunting things

In one of the scariest episodes of "Supernatural" — the second episode of Season 1, titled "Wendigo" — Dean tells Sam that "saving people [and] hunting things" is the family business. It's become an iconic line that nearly every "Supernatural" fan can recite, and one used throughout the rest of the series. Needless to say, if you're a Winchester, it just goes with the territory.

In the pilot episode of "The Winchesters," Drake Rodger's John Winchester says a similar line to his mother Millie (Bianca Kajlich), seeing this new world that he's now a part of as a way to better connect with his absent father. Though John won't be trained as a Man of Letters, his work as a hunter speaks for itself. His military training and sharp moral compass make him an effective hunter who cares about saving lives. We know from the early years of "Supernatural" that John would become one of the best hunters in the business, but this is where it all begins, long before Mary's demon deal, the birth of their sons, and her eventual death.

The family business is more than just hunting — the saving part is important, too. Thankfully, that's at the forefront of John's mind. While the person in need of saving might often be Mary, it only brings the two of them closer together as the story of "The Winchesters" unfolds.