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Supernatural Fans Claim Dean Grew Up In A Major Way In Later Seasons

"Supernatural" blazed an impressive trail over the course of its run on The CW. Airing for a staggering 15 seasons on the network, the horror drama was powered by a legion of dedicated fans and the burgeoning communities they created along the way (via Plugged In). As such, "Supernatural" became an unlikely success story and has even paved the way for a spin-off in the form of "The Winchesters."

Naturally, the show ran the gamut when it came to storylines over the years, with both Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) dying repeatedly as the series went on, and more than a few apocalypses along the way. Still, the brotherly bond between the Winchester brothers remained strong all the way through, even if they regularly kept secrets from one another. On the subject of character growth, though, "Supernatural" fans have definitely noticed some patterns for Sam and Dean over the years, and still regularly discuss how things shook out with the brothers, even with the series wrapped up for good.

Dean grows into a new form of maturity

On the r/Supernatural subreddit, u/CuteFruitandPumpkin noted how Dean's character had matured over the course of the series. "Does anyone notice how Dean becomes much less of a womanizer in the later seasons?" they asked. "If you really rewatch the show you can see Dean slowly fade away from his womanizing-bad boy-ego persona he displays in the beginning and [he] even stops having sex completely," the user went on. "He definitely turns into a more nerdy dad like guy, and it's cute."

Dean is definitely the bad boy of the brothers early on, regularly breaking the rules and always chasing the latest pretty face as they travel across the United States battling ghosts and demons. However, as is often the case, it would seem that perhaps age gradually cures Dean's wandering eyes, leading to him seeking the same comfort and security that many of us choose to pursue at some point in our lives.

"The show was on for a long time, probably changed with the times a little bit or the CW had a thing about it," mused u/elridge2e in response. With the onset of the #metoo movement occurring during the run of the show and many high-profile sexual misconduct trials taking place in the background, there could definitely be something to this conclusion. u/lupatine doubled down on this assessment. "Also a female audience. [The] hero womanizing [is] very much a male fantasy not a female one. When your audience is majorly female you accommodate," they concluded. They're definitely right about the female demographic of the show being a huge part of its success (via Gizmodo), so there could certainly be something to that theory as well.

Jensen Ackles talks Dean's changes

In 2015, Jensen Ackles sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk Dean's growth as a character, and expressed skepticism as to whether the elder Winchester brother could keep it up for good. "'Clean Dean' is what I call him, but the spoiler alert is that it doesn't last that long," said Ackles. "It's kind of against his fabric; it's against his code; it's not who he is." 

There's definitely a sort of philosophical question that "Supernatural" regularly plays with as to whether certain characters, or even the monsters they do battle with, can really change who they are at their core, and Ackles seems to be leaning into this line of questioning. "Sure, he can clean it up a little bit, but at the end of the day, he's a burger-and-fries kind of guy," Ackles went on, but he was quick to point out that this isn't necessarily a bad thing. "From an audience's perspective, I like my Dean a burgers-and-fries-and-beer kind of guy!" Ackles turned out to largely be wrong about his prediction, as Dean never fully resumed his old ways before being killed off late in Season 15. Still, there's a chance he's finding new love in Heaven.