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|Created by||Eric Kripke|
|Portrayed by||Jensen Ackles
Hunter Brochu (toddler)
Ridge Canipe (child)
Nicolai Lawton-Giustra (preteen)
Brock Kelly and Dylan Everett (teenager)
Chad Everett (elderly)
Demon (since 'Do You Believe in Miracles?')
|Family||Sam Winchester (brother)
(maternal grandfather, deceased)
(maternal grandmother, deceased)
(paternal half-brother, deceased)
Emma (daughter, deceased)
(paternal grandfather, deceased)
Dean Winchester is a fictional character and one of the two protagonists of The CW Television Network's Supernatural. He is mainly portrayed by Jensen Ackles, with other versions of the character having been portrayed by Hunter Brochu (toddler), Ridge Canipe (child), Nicolai Lawton-Giustra (pre-teen), Brock Kelly and Dylan Everett (teen), and Chad Everett (elderly). Dean hunts demons, spirits and other supernatural creatures with his younger brother Sam, occasionally their friend and father figure Bobby Singer and is recurrently assisted by his friend Castiel, an angel who joins them in season four.
Dean Winchester was created by Eric Kripke, creator and original showrunner of Supernatural, when he pitched a show to the WB about two brothers who investigate the supernatural. Dean's name is a homage to Jack Kerouac's road-trip novel On the Road, tying into Kripke's concept for an Americana road-trip television series. It was originally intended for the brothers' last name to be "Harrison" as a nod to actor Harrison Ford, as Kripke wanted Dean to have the "devil-may-care swagger of Han Solo". However, there was a Sam Harrison living in Kansas, so the name had to be changed for legal reasons. Combining his interest in the Winchester Mystery House and his desire to give the series the feel of "a modern-day Western", Kripke settled on the surname of "Winchester". Dean and his brother Sam are from Lawrence, Kansas, due to its closeness to Stull Cemetery, a location famous for its urban legends. Jensen Ackles, who portrays Dean Winchester, was originally asked to audition for the role of Sam, but preferred the character of Dean after reading the script.
Dean Winchester was born on January 24, 1979 to John and Mary Winchester in Lawrence, Kansas. He is the couple's first child, four years older than his younger brother, Sam. He is named after his maternal grandmother, Deanna Campbell. On November 2, 1983, Mary was killed in Sam's nursery by the demon Azazel, and in the ensuing fire Dean was tasked with carrying Sam out to safety while John unsuccessfully tried to rescue Mary. Since then, Dean has felt responsible for Sam and was always given the job to take care of him while they were growing up.
John began investigating the cause of Mary's death and in that course learned about the supernatural and the people who hunted them. John became a hunter himself, and trained Dean to be one as well, though both hid the supernatural from Sam until he was 8 years old. The Winchesters constantly moved around the country, living in motels and the homes of John's hunter friends. Dean had a large hand in raising Sam due to John's constantly being away to hunt. When Dean was 16, he was arrested for stealing and spent time in a boy's home where he had the opportunity to go to a regular school, though eventually Dean chose to return to John and Sam.
Prior to the pilot of the series, Sam left John and Dean to pursue his own life away from the supernatural. John and Dean continued to hunt together and traveled all the way through the United States.
Dean is known for handling a large number of weaponry, and his signature looks are black shoes, a dark leather jacked and dark shirts with dark blue jeans. He is also known for driving a signature black 1967 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe, in which he occasionally sleeps in and he has a huge stash of guns in the trunk.
Dean is 26 years old when the season begins, and has been allowed by John to hunt by himself. In the first episode, Dean goes to Sam, whom he hasn't seen for a few years, and asks for help finding John, who has gone missing. The pair are initially unsuccessful, and at the end of the first episode, Sam's girlfriend Jessica Moore dies the same way their mother did. Sam joins Dean on the road, hunting various supernatural creatures, tracking down their father and searching for the culprit behind the deaths of their mother and Jessica.
Dean and Sam are eventually contacted by their father in episode 20, "Dead Man's Blood", who reveals that he has been away because he is tracking the demon that killed their mother. The family unites as they come into possession of the Colt, a special revolver which can kill anything, including demons. The season finale, "Devil's Trap" concludes with Sam, Dean, and John escaping from their clash with Azazel, the yellow-eyed demon. While Sam is driving an injured Dean and John to a hospital, a demon-possessed driver drives his semi truck into the Impala Sam is driving, causing massive damage to the car and the Winchesters inside.
The season premiere "In My Time of Dying," has all Winchesters surviving the wreck, though Dean is in a coma and dying. In order to save Dean, John makes a deal with Azazel, trading the Colt and his life for Dean's. When Dean wakes up, John whispers something in Dean's ear which the audience cannot hear, and then gives the Colt to Azazel. John dies immediately afterward, and is later revealed to be in Hell. Through the first half of the season, Dean struggles with John's last words and death. At the midpoint of the season it is revealed that John told Dean that Azazel intends to turn Sam evil and, if Dean cannot save Sam, Dean must kill his brother.
Throughout the season, Dean and Sam continue to hunt the supernatural and avoid authorities. Dean is briefly arrested in "The Usual Suspects", in connection with another series of murders, during which it is revealed that Dean has a police record, with charges over the years including credit card fraud, breaking and entering, and grave desecration. Sam and Dean are able to prove that the murders were actually committed by one of the detectives on the case, however, and his partner lets the brothers escape. In "Nightshifter", a team of FBI agents, led by Special Agent Victor Henriksen, catches up with Dean and Sam in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where an attempted bank robbery and several more murders are added to Dean's list of supposed crimes, thanks to another shapeshifter.
In the season finale two-parter, "All Hell Breaks Loose", Sam is stabbed and dies in Dean's arms. Dean summons a Crossroads demon and trades his soul for Sam's life. The conditions of Dean's deal are: Dean gets one year of life, at the end of which he dies and goes to Hell. Dean manages to kill Azazel with the Colt, but not before Azazel has opened a gate to Hell, allowing hundreds of demons to escape from Hell as well as their father, with whom they share an emotional moment before he disappears in a glow of light.
The third season mainly features Dean and Sam hunting the demons that were released at the end of the previous season, while Dean tries to make the best of his final year and Sam tries to find a way to save him. The brothers meet a demon named Ruby, who helps the Winchesters and offers to help free Dean from his contract. Dean doesn't trust her, though she saves his life, fixes the Colt and gives the brothers a knife that can kill demons. Dean and Sam learn from Ruby that all demons used to be human, but their humanity is burned away during their time in Hell; Dean now has the fear that he may one day become a demon himself.
Over the course of the season, the brothers repeatedly cross paths with Bela Talbot, who acquires magical objects and sells them for a large profit. She is an occasional rival to the brothers, and steals the Colt from them, which they had hoped to use against the demon that holds Dean's contract. The brothers eventually learn that that demon is Lilith, who has her own demon army and views Sam as a rival she wants to kill. In the season finale, "No Rest for the Wicked", Dean and Sam confront Lilith but are unsuccessful. Lilith's hellhounds kill Dean and his soul is dragged to hell. In the final scene of the season, Dean is shown in Hell crying out for help and for Sam.
The season premiere, "Lazarus Rising", is set four months after the third season finale. Dean awakens inside his grave, his body intact and healthy, and digs himself out. Dean reunites with Sam and fellow hunter Bobby. It is revealed that an angel named Castiel pulled Dean from Hell on God's command, and in the next episode, "Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester", Dean is told by Castiel of Lilith's plan to break the 66 seals and free Lucifer. The season mainly follows the Winchesters' attempts to stop Lilith and prevent the Apocalypse.
In "In the Beginning," Dean is transported back in time by Castiel to 1973 Lawrence, Kansas, where he meets younger versions of John and Mary, as well as his maternal grandfather Samuel and maternal grandmother Deanna. Dean learns that Mary and her family, the Campbells, were hunters, and Mary made a deal with Azazel to revive John's life. Mary's deal is what lead to her death in the pilot episode, where she had interfered when Azazel visited Sam and fed him Azazel's blood. Upon returning to the present, Dean is informed by Castiel that Sam is "going down a very dark road" and that, if Dean doesn't stop him, the angels will. In "Heaven and Hell", Dean reveals to Sam that time flows differently in Hell and he was tortured for thirty years before agreeing to torture someone else in return for being taken off the rack. In "On the Head of a Pin", it is revealed that Dean was the first seal, and his breaking under torture in Hell was also the breaking of the first of the 66 seals. Since he started it, Dean has to be the one to end it.
Dean learns that during the months he was dead, Sam developed a relationship with Ruby, who taught him using his powers to exorcise demons, which he believes is a good thing and wishes to one day use to kill Lilith. Dean manages to convince Sam to temporarily stop using his powers, though in a later episode, "The Rapture", Dean witnesses Sam drink the blood of a demon he is about to kill, which is what gives Sam his strength. Dean and Bobby then trick Sam into entering a demon-proof panic room, forcing him to detox from the demon blood. Sam escapes the room, and the brothers argue over the blood-drinking and whether Ruby's methods are trustworthy. The pair separate.
In the season finale, "Lucifer Rising", Dean is captured by Zachariah, an angel, and told that the angels are actually welcoming the Apocalypse and want Sam to kill Lilith, who is the final seal. Dean asks Castiel for help, convincing him to turn against the other angels and fight beside Dean. They escape, and Castiel sends Dean to Ilchester, Maryland. Dean is too late to stop Sam from killing Lilith. Ruby reveals she has been working to free Lucifer the entire time, and the brothers kill her. The season ends with a portal opening for Lucifer while Dean and Sam can only watch.
Following up immediately where the last season ended, Lucifer has been freed from his cage, starting the Apocalypse. Dean and Sam learn that they are meant to be vessels for Archangel Michael and Lucifer, respectively, for the battle of Heaven against Hell. Angels require consent to take on their vessel, and both brothers refuse. The season mainly follows Dean and Sam's attempts to evade the angels and demons that want them to accept their roles, to stop the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and find a way to defeat Lucifer.
Dean and Sam defeat the Horsemen War and Famine and obtain their rings in the episodes "Good God, Y'All!" and "My Bloody Valentine" respectively. In "Abandon All Hope", Sam and Dean plan to kill Lucifer using the Colt, which they have obtained from Crowley, leader of the Crossroads Demons. They shoot Lucifer, only to learn Lucifer is one of the five things in the universe that the Colt cannot kill. Dean becomes more disillusioned with their cause, and in the episode "99 Problems" decides to accept his role as Michael's vessel. However by the next episode, "Point of No Return" (also the series' 100th episode), Dean changes his mind due to Sam's faith in him, and the angels resurrect the Winchester's half-brother Adam as a successful replacement for Michael.
In "Hammer of the Gods", Dean and Sam learn from the archangel Gabriel that they can trap Lucifer back in his cage with the Four Horsemen's rings. In "Two Minutes to Midnight", they successfully obtain Pestilence and Death's rings. Death gives his ring willingly to Dean, on the condition that Sam say yes to Lucifer so that he can throw himself into the cage. When Dean reluctantly agrees to this, Death shows him how to use the rings.
The season finale, "Swan Song", opens with Sam preparing to accept Lucifer and making Dean promise to live a normal life with Lisa, Dean's former girlfriend, and not try to save Sam from the cage. Sam says yes to Lucifer, who takes over his body and leaves. Dean, Bobby and Castiel go the location of the final battle, Stull Cemetery in Lawrence, Kansas, where Dean interrupts Michael and Lucifer (possessing Adam and Sam respectively) before they can fight. Dean tries to connect with Sam, refusing to fight back when Lucifer beats him up. Memories of Sam's brotherhood with Dean help Sam overpower Lucifer and take control of his body. Sam reopens the cage and pulls Michael into the pit, which closes as they both fall in.
Dean is healed by Castiel. Castiel returns to heaven and Dean and goes to Lisa, as this is what he had promised Sam. The final scene of the season is of Dean sitting down to dinner with Lisa and her son, Ben, while, unknown to them, Sam is watching from outside.
The sixth season picks up a year later, during which Dean has given up the life of hunting and now lives with Lisa and Ben. When Dean is poisoned by a Djinn, he is saved by Sam, who he is shocked to learn has been out of the cage for nearly a year and hunting with their grandfather, Samuel Campbell, who has also been mysteriously resurrected from the dead. Dean initially chooses to continue living with Lisa and only occasionally helping Sam hunt when needed, but by episode "Live Free or TwiHard" has decided to return to full-time hunting.
Dean is unnerved by Sam's cold and ruthless behavior, and in the episode "You Cant Handle the Truth", is told by Veritas, the pagan goddess of Truth, that Sam is inhuman. The next episode, "Family Matters", Dean asks Castiel to check on Sam. Castiel discovers that Sam has no soul. They learn that Sam was resurrected by Crowley, who also resurrected Samuel. Crowley is searching for Purgatory, the place where most supernatural creatures go when they die, in order to consume its power. Dean goes to Death, agreeing to act as Death for a day in return for getting Sam's soul back. Dean learns the importance of maintaining the natural order, which includes death. Death returns Sam's soul to him.
Dean and Sam return to hunting, attempting to track down Eve, the mother of all monsters, who has emerged from Purgatory in order to avenge the children tortured at Crowley's hands. Eve is defeated, but Dean is angered and betrayed to learn that Castiel is working with Crowley, and was the one who raised Sam from the cage and left his soul behind. Crowley kidnaps Lisa and Ben to get Dean to stop sabotaging his efforts to find Purgatory; Dean manages to save Lisa and Ben, and asks Castiel erase their memories so that they won't remember who he is and can't be used against him.
In the season finale, "The Man Who Knew Too Much", Dean tries to convince Castiel to give up taking Purgatory's power but fails, and can only watch when Castiel absorbs the power and declares himself the new god.
Following the previous season, Castiel is taken over by the Leviathans, God's prototype monsters that had been locked in Purgatory. They seemingly kill Castiel before escaping. The seventh season is mainly Dean and Sam's efforts to prevent the Leviathans, who eat humans, from taking over the planet.
Dean and Sam continue their usual hunting jobs in between trying to find a way to stop the Leviathans. Sam's sanity breaks down due to his hallucinations of Lucifer based on his memory of his time in Hell, and Dean eventually has to commit Sam to a psychiatric institution. Bobby is killed by Dick Roman, though Bobby's ghost is bonded to his flask and allows Dean to find a healer for Sam in the form of Castiel, though the Castiel can only 'heal' Sam by taking Sam's mental damage onto himself.
Learning of the Leviathans' plans to turn humanity into the perfect food source, Dean and Sam mount a final offensive against Dick Roman after Castiel recovers enough to help them find a tablet containing the Word of God, which the prophet Kevin Tran is able to read, revealing that Leviathans can be killed by the bone of a righteous mortal soaked in the blood of the three fallen (Castiel the fallen angel, the Alpha Vampire, and Crowley the King of Hell). Armed with this weapon, and with Castiel's ability to perceive the true nature of each Leviathan, Dean is able to kill Dick, but he and Castiel are pulled into Purgatory together as Dick dies.
A year after the previous season finale, Dean escapes Purgatory with the aid of a vampire called Benny. We discover through flashbacks that Dean spent a year in purgatory with Benny, first searching for Castiel, and then attempting to escape having found him. Dean returns filled with guilt over letting go of Castiel's hand in the struggle to escape and leaving him behind. He later learns, however, that Castiel chose to stay behind in an attempt to make amends for his mistakes. Reuniting with Sam and Kevin, Dean learns that Kevin has discovered another Word of God tablet containing a ritual that can seal the gates of Hell forever. The season follows Dean and Sam's attempts to complete the ritual and close the gates of Hell.
Dean and Sam continue their regular hunts, with Dean coming to terms with his time in Purgatory and how Sam thought he was dead and didn't try to save him. Dean and Sam also come to blows over Benny, with Sam distrusting Benny because he's a vampire. Dean eventually breaks ties with Benny. Castiel is brought back from purgatory by Naomi, who is controlling him to monitor the Winchesters. When it is revealed that there is an "angel tablet", Naomi does not want the Winchesters to have this, so she tells Castiel to kill Dean and take the tablet before he can. Castiel injures Dean, but is unable to kill him when Dean tells Castiel "Cas, it's me, man. We're family. We need you. I need you." Castiel drops his blade, heals Dean and disappears in an attempt to outrun Naomi, leaving Dean alone.
Following a meeting with their temporally-displaced grandfather, Henry Winchester, Dean and Sam take custody of the bunker of the Men of Letters, an organization dedicated to recording the supernatural before their destruction in the 1950s. With the archive resources and Kevin's translation of the tablet, Sam sets out to complete the three trials to seal the gates of Hell: killing a hellhound, freeing a deserving soul (Bobby) from Hell to ascend to Heaven, and curing a demon. In the season finale, "Sacrifice", Dean stops Sam before the last step can be completed, as he has learned that the trials will kill Sam. At this time, the renegade angel Metatron has tricked Castiel into helping him and sealed the gates of Heaven using the "angel tablet", which banishes all the angels from Heaven, causing them to fall painfully to Earth.
Following immediately from the end of last season, the season opener "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" has Sam dying from the effects of the trials. Dean prays to the angels, hoping one of them can help. An angel named Ezekiel claims he can, but only if he possesses Sam. Dean knows that Sam will not agree to an angel possession, so he and Ezekiel work together to trick Sam to say yes. Dean colludes with Ezekiel to keep Sam ignorant of the fact that he has an angel inside him. This collusion includes telling the now-human Castiel to leave the Men of Letters bunker.
In the episode "Holy Terror", Dean discovers that Ezekiel is actually another angel, Gadreel. Dean asks Kevin for a spell that will enable him to speak to a vessel with the angel listening. Dean uses it to tell Sam about the angel inside him, but Gadreel claims that Sam is gone, and kills Kevin for Metatron before leaving to kill more people on Metatron's list. In "Road Trip", Dean calls Castiel to the bunker and tells him the truth about Sam and Gadreel. They turn to Crowley for help, as they want to find a way to access the "Sam" part of Sam, rather than Gadreel. Dean blames himself for Kevin's death, and when Sam is recovered, Sam is frustrated that Dean lied to him and was unwilling to let him die. Dean tells Castiel and Sam that he just gets everyone he is close to killed, and leaves alone.
Soon afterwards, in the episode "First Born," Crowley enlists the aid of Dean to find the biblical Cain, who is the only one capable of killing Crowley's rival for ruler of hell, Abaddon. Cain tells Dean that he can do this with the Mark of Cain, and the First Blade, which he used to kill Abel long ago. Dean receives both of these, but finds the burden of the mark and the blade to be a strange anger inside of him. As the season progresses, Sam and Dean start to mend the bond made from Sam feeling betrayed, and Dean aids Castiel as he starts to form a rebellion against Metatron with the other angels. Dean eventually kills Abaddon with the first blade, but finds his lust for murder growing stronger. When Gadreel realizes Metatron's true intentions and offers to help the Winchesters defeat him, Dean's briefly loses control and attacks Gadreel, nearly killing him.
In the season finale, "Do You Believe in Miracles?," Dean reveals to Crowley that resisting his murderlust causes physical symptoms, ones Crowley seems familiar with. Dean later knocks out Sam and tries to take on Metatron alone using the First Blade, but is defeated (through Metatron's use of the Angel Tablet's power) and fatally stabbed. After Dean dies, Sam tries to summon Crowley to make a deal to resurrect him. However, Crowley is already with Dean's body, and describes an apocryphal story about Cain killing himself to avoid his own lust for murder, but not truly dying due to the First Blade's influence. He then places the First Blade in Dean's hand and tells him to wake up; Dean opens his eyes, now black like a demon's.
Skills and abilities
Dean is a skilled and highly resourceful hunter. He is well-versed with multiple types of firearms; he prefers his Colt 1911 and sawed-off shotgun, but is proficient with most other weapons he might acquire. He is also adept with brawling and knife fighting, and has subdued several human assailants with ease and bested physically more powerful creatures such as shapeshifters, vampires and demons. He frequently utilizes improvised weapons and explosive devices; in "Croatoan", he demonstrated knowledge of chemistry, constructing Molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices, and in "Phantom Traveler", he revealed knowledge of electronics and reverse engineering, having built an electromagnetic field detector from an old Walkman radio. Dean also possesses extensive knowledge of the supernatural and mythology, and from season 4 onwards learns and is able to perform spells that are effective against angels.
Dean's work as a hunter requires him to impersonate various occupational roles in pursuing his investigations and avoid the attention of law-enforcement. To this end Dean is well-versed in how police, fire departments and various government agencies (FBI, CDC) typically operate and conduct investigations. In supporting this lifestyle, Dean is also skillful in lock picking, breaking into security systems, carjacking and hustling for pool. Due to his time spent in Hell as Alistair's "student", Dean has an in-depth knowledge of torture. Dean is also an accomplished mechanic and maintained an intimate knowledge of automobiles and engines since childhood; he maintains his Impala in top condition.
- ‘Supernatural’ Season 10: Mark Sheppard Promoted to Series Regular, Variety, Laura Prudom, May 23, 2014
- Knight, Nicholas, (Season 1 Companion), p.6
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- Angie Rentmeester & Noelle Talmon (February 14, 2008). "A 'Supernatural' Spin-Off? Death By Bad Taco? Series Creator Eric Kripke Explains". Starpulse. Archived from the original on September 14, 2010. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
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- "The Monster at the End of This Book" (in English). Supernatural. Season 4. Episode 18. 2009-04-20. CW. "PUBLISHER: "What's May 2nd?" SAM: "That's my – Uh... that's Sam's birthday." DEAN: "January 24th is Dean's.""
- Knight, Nicholas (2012-11-15). The Essential Supernatural: On the Road with Sam and Dean Winchester. Insight Editions. ISBN 1608871452.