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Some Fans Think The Winchesters Is Set In An Alternate Universe

"Supernatural" was on the air for 15 years, and it told many stories during that time. So, when "The Winchesters" prequel series was announced, showrunner Robbie Thompson and his team were tasked with finding the perfect balance of honoring canon while expanding the lore to keep fans invested. So far, though, "The Winchesters" has unleashed some unexpected surprises that many long-term "Supernatural" enthusiasts didn't see coming.

"The Winchesters" chronicles the origin story of Mary (Meg Donnelly) and Dean Winchester (Drake Rodger) as they go around saving people, hunting things. However, their origin tale isn't an authentic retelling of the one "Supernatural" depicted all those years ago. Elsewhere, there is a cabal of interdimensional creatures who want to eradicate the universe. That said, their existence in the "Supernatural" universe was unknown until "The Winchesters."

It's not uncommon for spin-offs and sequels to take some creative liberties with a franchise's canon. However, some elements of "The Winchesters" suggest that the story is set in an alternative universe to that of "Supernatural." Some fans believe this theory too, and it's understandable why. Let's examine the facts.

The Akrida aren't acknowledged on Supernatural

"The Winchesters" introduces a previously unknown villain to the "Supernatural" lore. The Akrida are still shrouded in mystery at this point, but we do know that they're interdimensional beings who want to invade Mary and John's universe and wipe out everything — humans, angels, demons, you name it. The early episodes reveal that the Akrida pose a significant threat to all existence, so it's fair to say that they're a big deal.

The Akrida were designed specifically for "The Winchesters," but it's strange that the creators conjured villains of this magnitude out of nowhere for a prequel series to a show that's steeped in lore and backstory. Why didn't the creators introduce a Big Bad who had a documented history with John and Mary? Why would Mary and John fail to mention these beings to their sons, given that the Akrida are seemingly more powerful than any angels, Satan, Leviathans, and other major foes from the "Supernatural" saga?

Jensen Ackles previously claimed that "The Winchesters" will tackle "Supernatural" mythology in unexpected ways (per TV Line), promising to touch upon the familiar beats while throwing some surprises into the mix. Some of those surprises have been revealed, but how will they connect to the overarching story without creating plot holes?

The Winchesters rewrites John and Mary's origin story

"Supernatural" told viewers that John and Mary first met after bumping into each other outside of a movie theater. Afterward, she invited him out for coffee and they eventually started dating — even though they needed some prompts from Cupid to make them fall in love and bring Sam and Dean into the world. Unfortunately, their romance wasn't a happily-ever-after affair as Mary was killed by Azazel in 1983. This led to John learning about the existence of demons and other spooks, setting him on his path toward a life of hunting.

"The Winchesters" doesn't stick to that origin story. While Mary and John do meet outside of a movie theater, they don't go out for coffee afterward. Mary is too busy looking for her father and dealing with monsters. Later on, John learns about the supernatural after he stumbles into Mary at the Men of Letters lair, where they encounter demons and a terrifying Lougarou from Haitian folklore.

John has continued hunting with Mary since then, indicating that he knew about monsters before "Supernatural" told us that he did. Alternatively, it's possible that both origin stories are true.

Is The Winchesters set in an alternate universe?

When all of the above information is taken into account, two things are possible: "The Winchesters" is set in a different universe from "Supernatural," or the show is willing to break from the established canon. However, the alternate universe reason seems entirely plausible given that the later seasons of "Supernatural" unveiled a Marvel-style multiverse.

Reddit user u/EmperorJoker believes that the Akrida's entry into Mary and John's universe will create new realities moving forward. "I honestly think the Akrida will shatter time and reality when they enter the world, and we'll see something similar to the Loki finale where timelines branch out into a new multiverse."

Fellow Redditor u/EndoraLovegood backed this theory while noting that Dean (Jensen Ackles) looks a little "off" during the narration scenes. "Dean and all the characters look a little different," they noted while stating that he seems "slightly different" from the main iteration of the character.

Conversely, some fans believe that the series is set in the same universe as "Supernatural" and that memory tampering could eventually factor into the equation. This would explain why the Akrida aren't mentioned on "Supernatural," as well as John not knowing about demons until he witnesses Mary's death. "[The] big reveal will be Castiel time travel[ing] from a time before he was introduced on SPN (when he was an order following Angel), and wipes John's memory in order to ensure Sam and Dean are born, because I think John would otherwise choose to not bring kids into the life," u/powerED33 speculated.