|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)
|Family||Sam Winchester (brother)
John Winchester (father, deceased)
Mary Winchester (mother, deceased)
Samuel Campbell (maternal grandfather, deceased)
Deanna Campbell (maternal grandmother, deceased)
Adam Milligan (paternal half-brother, deceased)
Emma (daughter, deceased)
Henry Winchester (paternal grandfather, deceased)
Bobby Singer (adoptive father, deceased)
Dean Winchester is a fictional character and one of the two protagonists of The CW Television Network's Supernatural, which began airing in 2005. 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, often living out of their car, a '67 Impala, 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 Dean was gifted the '67 Impala.
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 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.
Through 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. 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.
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 "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 that the Colt is one five things in the universe that the Colt cannot kill. In "My Bloody Valentine", 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 and goes to Lisa as 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 them from outside.
The sixth season picks up a year later. Keeping the promise he made to Sam, Dean gives up the life of hunting and now lives with Lisa and her son Ben. After Dean became poisoned by a Djinn, begins hallucinating his worst fears. Sam saves Dean by injecting him with an antidote and later wakes up seeing Sam alive and well. Sam reluctantly tells Dean that he has been back for nearly a year while hunting with their grandfather, Samuel. After helping kill the Djinns, Dean declines returning to the life of hunting and decides to continue living with Lisa and Ben in order to keep them safe. Lisa tells Dean to return to the life of hunting and she and Ben will be there when he gets back.
In "Live Free or Twi-Hard", Sam and Dean investigate cases of missing girls who are obsessed with vampires. They stake out a bar that eventually leads them to the cause. Dean later crosses paths with a vampire that turns him into one. Expecting to have to be "put down", he goes to visit Lisa, but almost loses control while talking to her and flees. After being cured, he realises that Sam may possibly have let him be turned; but to an unknown end.
In "You Cant Handle the Truth", Dean and Sam investigate a town in Illinois, where everyone who has wished for truth not only received his wish, but has become insane and committed suicide. While initially believing that the Horn of Truth, an angelic weapon, is the culprit, Sam discovers the summoning ritual to Veritas, the pagan goddess of Truth. However, Dean unknowningly invokes her and is forced to deal with harsh truths from everybody; including Lisa, who calls about the events of last episode and ends up telling him not to ever come back. Questioning Sam, he believes he gets the truth from him about why he didn't help keep him from being turned, but when Veritas captures them on their raid of her property, she declares that Sam is inhuman, as no human is immune to her aura of truth. The brothers manage to dispatch her, but Dean holds Sam at knifepoint, demanding the truth. Sam admits his lack of emotion and fear, but Dean doesn't accept it and beats him unconscious. Dean learns from Castiel that Sam has no soul, also that Crowley was the one who brought Sam back from Hell. Crowley also says that the only way to get Sam's soul back is to help him find Purgatory. Dean and Sam attempt to capture Crowley to force him to give back Sam's soul. Crowley tells them that not only can't he get Sam's soul but also that Sam's soul has been tortured endlessly by Lucifer and giving Sam back his soul would leave him useless. Once learning this, Castiel kills Crowley, so Dean goes to see Death to have him bring back Sam's soul. Death agrees but only if Dean becomes Death for one day and never takes off his ring. Dean fails, but Death still agrees to return Sam's soul, since Dean learned about messing with the natural order.
With Sam's soul restored, Dean and Sam return to hunting, attempting to track down Eve- the 'mother' of all monsters- after she is released from Purgatory by dragons, but Dean becomes suspicious of Castiel after he discovers that Crowley is still alive despite Castiel allegedly torching Crowley's human bones. After Dean is forced to have Ben and Lisa's memory of him erased, he confronts Castiel about his actions, but is unable to stop Castiel from absorbing the souls of Purgatory and becoming the new God.
Trapped for options against the insane and god-like Castiel, Dean, Sam and Bobby attempt to summon and bind Death to order him to kill Castiel. Death refuses, but provides them with a means of performing a ritual to extract the Purgatory souls from Castiel. Unfortunately, Castiel's vessel has already been taken over by the Leviathans, God's prototype monsters, who seemingly kill Castiel before escaping.
Facing a new threat immune to their conventional weapons, Dean and Sam are left desperately struggling against the Leviathans, with matters being made worse when Bobby is killed by Dick Roman, the leader of the Leviathans. With Sam's sanity breaking down due to him experiencing halluciations of Lucifer based on his memory of his time in Hell, Dean attempts to continue their usual jobs- even teaming up with Elliot Ness during a time-travelling battle with the pagan god Chronos-, but Sam's sanity eventually reaches such a low point that Dean is forced to commit him to a psychiatric institution. Based on a card that he later learns was provided by Bobby's ghost- who has remained on Earth by 'bonding' to his flask-, Dean manages to find a healer for Sam in the form of Castiel, alive with no memory of his angelic past, but even the restored 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 in Purgatory as Dick dies.
After a year in Purgatory, Dean escapes with the aid of a vampire called Benny, who he subsequently restores to life with a ritual, but Castiel's fate is initially unknown. Reuniting with Sam and Kevin, Dean learns that Kevin has discovered another Word of God tablet containing a ritual that could seal the gates of Hell forever, but Kevin flees because he does not trust Dean to keep him safe. Despite this, Kevin and Dean eventually make contact again after Dean saves Kevin with the aid of the returned Castiel, Kevin continuing his research under the protection of Garth, who has taken over Bobby's former role as Hunter co-ordinator. Although Dean and Benny grow more distant after Sam learns of his existence, Dean stands by Benny when another hunter accuses him of murder.
Following a meeting with their temporally-displaced grandfather, Henry Winchester, Dean and Sam take custody of the archive 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-, but Dean stops Sam when he learns that the trials will kill him, shortly before renegade angel Metatron seals the gates of Heaven using another tablet, banishing all the angels from Heaven and leaving Castiel and other angels merely human.
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.
- Knight, Nicholas, (Season 1 Companion), p.6
- "Fact scarier than fiction". The Daily Telegraph. March 8, 2007. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- Maria Elena Fernandez (January 5, 2006). "On the road trip from hell". Melbourne: The Age. Archived from the original on September 14, 2010. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- 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.
- "Supernatural: Your Burning Questions Answered!". TV Guide. October 12, 2006. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- Knight, Nicholas, (Season 1 Companion), p. 130
- Mumtaj Begum (September 12, 2008). "Jensen Ackles enjoys doing Supernatural". The Star Online. Retrieved September 22, 2009.