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The Real Reason Supernatural Seasons 1-3 Had No Angels

After 15 years following in the footsteps of the demon- and monster-hunting brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), the CW wants to make sure that its final night airing new episodes of Supernatural is as much about the journey as it is the destination.

To that end, the series finale Thursday, November 19 will be accompanied by a retrospective special, Supernatural: The Long Road Home, which traces the journey the show has taken from its inception to its end and answers some questions fans have always harbored about the show's inner workings, such as how come it took so long for a series about battling demons to introduce its first angel? 

In a preview clip provided to Entertainment Weekly, Eric Kripke, who created the show and served as showrunner for its first five seasons, explains why he instituted a "no angels" policy throughout the show's first three seasons, and also how he came to eventually break that policy. "I thought it'd be too easy if someone really powerful could come in and save them," Kripke said. There wouldn't be much tension in the brothers' ongoing battle with all manner of demons in audiences knew they had an entire heavenly host of angelus ex machina waiting to pull them out whenever they found themselves in over their heads.

How Supernatural got its angels

That all changed at the beginning of season 4, when the angel Castiel (Misha Collins) was introduced to pull an in-over-his-head Dean out of hell itself. Once the angel was out of the bag, there was no putting it back in, but Kripke said he came around to the idea when he realized angels could be a lot more than benevolent guardians to Sam and Dean. "The thought popped in my head," he says in the special, "which was like, you could have angels, just make them d*cks."

And so the angels arrived with their own motivations and foibles. Their interactions with the Winchesters are filled with friendships and rivalries, alliances and betrayals. In the fourth season, the brothers learn that many of the angels can't wait for the Apocalypse to occur so they can wipe out the current Earth and rebuild Paradise there. Throughout much of the rest of the series' run, the brothers would have to navigate a host of heavenly civil wars and other power struggles that never failed to spill over onto Earth.

That brainstorm would serve Kripke well during the course of his career, considering his latest project is the series adaptation of the Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson comic The Boys. That show asks the same question of superheroes, only kicked up to 11 by making them sadists, addicts, and literal Nazis. Season three of that show promises a Supernatural reunion when Ackles arrives to play the washed-up hero Soldier Boy. If precedent holds, he'll be no angel.