Death is a frequent fate for many recurring and one-time characters on Supernatural. In fact, characters die so often that death is often only temporary, with resurrection and a second (third, fourth, fifth) chance at life almost an expected aftermath of even the most dramatic death scenes. Sam has died seven times, according to Supernatural Wiki. Dean has the record with a whopping 107 deaths. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least four dramatic deaths for Castiel and one fleeting expiration for Jack, although I’d love for someone to do a closer inventory to be sure there weren’t more!
Even with characters’ deaths often being used as nothing more than emotional ploys to intensify the drama, every once in a while a death is permanent and keenly felt by Supernatural fans. In late January, I joined a panel of six authors and media personnel to discuss which Supernatural characters’ deaths left our hearts broken and our imaginations busy creating alternate, preferred endings. A few characters who were taken from us to soon were obvious. With just a little more thought, though, the list soon grew to over a dozen names of mourned friends!
Out of the 1059* characters who appeared in Supernatural‘s 327 episodes, who would make your list of Top 10 unwelcome, undeserved or unwise demises? Let make this a 4-part fun challenge:
1. Make your personal list of characters taken too soon
2. Read through my Top 10 list of characters that I didn’t want to see go
3. Listen to our 45 minute panel discussion to hear who we missed but who were named by others as prematurely passing!
4. Agree, disagree of add more names in the comments!
So here is my list of Top 10 (actually I add 4 honorable mentions for a total of 14) characters gone too soon, presented in order, starting at #1!
Top 10 Supernatural Characters Gone Too Soon
1) Dean Winchester
Dean’s final demise didn’t occur until the last episode of the series, but it was still too soon for me! Whether it was fitting or inevitable has been debated ad infinitum, but I thought it was neither so the eldest Winchester was taken much, much too soon!
Related to #1: The deaths of Sam, Castiel and Jack
I did not want to see any of these beloved friends die at any time in the series, so never would have been too soon as far as I’m concerned. Still, I didn’t officially add them to my Top 10 list because their deaths had purpose and were beautiful in many respects. Sam died a natural death after living a long life with his family. Castiel gave his life to what he considered to be a noble cause so at least he felt that his life and death had meaning. Jack didn’t die but was still taken from us to live in “every drop of falling rain, every speck of dust that the wind blows, and in the sand, in the rocks, and the sea.” A poetic image to be sure but I would have liked to have seen him and Castiel one more time in Heaven at the Winchester family reunion. Perhaps that didn’t happen because circumstances were out of the producers’ control, or perhaps it was always meant to be just the two brothers finishing what they started together. Either way, while I didn’t want to see them go, sometimes we have to let go of our loved ones. (Yes, I teared up posting the pictures of their last moments.)
2) Charlie Bradbury
Unnecessary, heart breaking, ill-considered… what else can I say about Charlie’s death? She meant too much to the fans to kill her off as if she was just some random recurring character. She was a symbol, a beacon of hope, and a breakthrough in characterizations of both female fans and homosexual women. No. Just No.
3) Missouri Moseley
Missouri instantly became a fan favorite in 1.09 “Home” – her one and only appearance in the first twelve years of the series! The show hadn’t been able to use her again in the on-going storyline during the brothers’ formative years because the actress wasn’t available, so her return in season 13 (13.03 “Patience”) as Patience’s grandmother was a very welcome surprise. Reintroducing Missouri as backstory for the wayward sister was an imaginative use of her character, plus it was so fulfilling to learn about how her life turned out. Unfortunately, Missouri was killed in her return visit, to advance Patience’s character profile. Personally, I would have preferred never to have seen her again than to watch her life end tragically.
4) Sarah Blake
Sarah may be an unexpected inclusion, especially so high in the list, but I absolutely loved her with Sam (1.19 “Provenance”). Understanding, practical, sharp-witted, intelligent, unflappable, capable – in my opinion she was his perfect match, better than any other love interest in 15 years. Admittedly, it wouldn’t have made sense to keep her in the story in a relationship with Sam in season one, so her exit at the time was appropriate. As with Missouri, years later Sarah was pulled back into the brothers’ world, and we learned she had built a happy life for herself, but annoyingly, she was quickly killed by Crowley (8.22 “Clip Show”) just to make a point. That was a low blow to the fan heart.
5) Kevin Tran
The only reason Kevin isn’t higher on the list is because we were able to see him grow as a person, a friend and a prophet in 14 episodes before he was killed. Even after all that time, though, I still don’t think it was necessary to write him out of the story. I would have been very happy if they had kept him as the world’s prophet all the way to the end of the series. He was such a colorful character! Of course, like Charlie, he was also brought back in alternate form (as a ghost) but with each reprise episode, they got deeper and deeper into canon consistency trouble. The end result was him being just a shadow of his former self.
6) Pamela Barnes
Is there a pattern here? I love the strong female characters who are interesting, unique and developed enough to be on equal footing with the boys! Pamela was in three episodes in season 4 before meeting her end in 4.15 “Death Takes A Holiday”. Her psychic ability made her a possible storyline substitution for Missouri, so it’s curious that they both made my top 10 list of characters who could have added value and color to the ongoing story. Different than the prior characters mentioned, however, Pamela luckily survived the two additional episodes in which she appeared (in the after life and as a memory) so we were able to enjoy her company without reliving the pain of another death!
7) Ellen Harvelle
Dear Ellen. The wise hunter widow and mom, and don’t-mess-with-me mother figure for the boys throughout season 2. I always loved her interactions with Sam and Dean, keeping them in line with sass and authority figure assuredness (like Missouri who came before her), but still providing a surrogate family for them to call on when they were scared or alone. Ellen was in six episodes before dying a noble, spectacularly dramatic death in 5.20 “Abandon All Hope”. Knowing her appeal to the fans, we got to see her one more time, in an altered world as Bobby’s wife in 6.17 “My Heart Will Go On”.
8) The Banes Twins
Also like Missouri Moseley, Alicia and Max Banes made a lasting impression in their first episode. Introduced in 12.06 “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox”, these hunter twins were “good” witches who used witchcraft to fight “bad” witches, which was a unique take on the “not all supernatural powers are bad” theme. The chemistry between the actors, Kendrick Sampson and Kara Royster, was so natural, they made it seem like they were the twins instead of their make-believe characters. Max was gay, witty and charismatic, but was completed by his sister in a devoted, co-dependency way that was as a parallel lesson for the boys. I would have loved to have seen them on Sam’s speed dial as back-up hunters, but they were instead brought back in 12.20 “Twigs and Twine and Tasha Banes” so Max could make a demon deal for his deceased sister’s soul. At least an entire episode was dedicated to their demise!
Not expecting to see “Alfie” on my list? I loved this kid! Innocent and trust worthy, Samandriel was one of only a handful of Castiel’s brothers and sisters who was worthy of the title “angel”. Instead of his three episode season 8 arc that ended tragically, Samandriel could have stuck around to be a background friend to Castiel; someone who was insignificant to the power wars yet a constant reminder that not all angels have to be bad. His death was gruesome and bitter, as it was carried out by the unwilling and unknowing hands of Castiel.
10) Aaron Bass and his Golem
Adding to the list of hunters who would have been welcome additions to the Winchesters’ long-term allies, Aaron and his golem were another fascinating example of using supernatural forces to fight supernatural evil. Similar to the Banes twins, Aaron and his friend were also featured in only one episode, 8.13 “Everybody Hates Hitler”. Four years later, in season 12, Aaron gave us a brief cameo appearance to report that he and his unstoppable weapon were alive and well, fighting evil in Germany.
I’m not very good at the “stop at 10” limitation, so here are four more characters who made a memorable impression in their singular appearances in the series, then were gone much too soon. I don’t know if it was superb writing or incredible acting, but they all added something very special to Supernatural’s story (listed in order of appearance):
11) Demon Casey (3.04 “Sin City”) – Her disarming truthfulness when talking to Dean hinted at her potential as a great frenemy for the future.
12) Dorothy (9.04 “Slumber Party”) – A new twist on an iconic character! She, Charlie and the boys would have had wild hunts together!
13) Sully (11.08 “Just My Imagination) – Sam could have used a wise friend by his side after his bro, Cas and Jack left him!
14) Mrs. Butters (15.14 “Last Holiday”) – If she had been introduced earlier in the series, she would have made a formidable ally! I would have loved a episode of her and Sully together!
Maybe I should make a “Top 10 One Hit Wonders” list next?
Bobby Singer is conspicuously absent from my list. I dearly love Bobby and all he did for Sam and Dean, but he was never really gone, was he? Bobby was in 77 episodes, brought back after his death as a ghost, a heavenly co-conspirator, and when thrown in Heaven’s jail for his rebellion, an AU version of himself. Jim Beaver was in all 15 seasons of the series, so I can’t in good conscious say we lost him too soon. You can learn more about Bobby in a 3-part character deep dive I did in his character in 2013.
Here’s a recap of the characters that were top of my “gone too soon” list:
|Gone through Death||Disappeared but Survived|| Brought Back to be Killed
(1 Establishing Ep + 1 Fatal Ep)
|Dean, Sam, Castiel||Jack||Missouri Moseley|
|Charlie Bradbury||Aaron and Golem||Sarah Blake|
|Kevin Tran||Alicia and Max Banes|
Now it’s your turn! Share your list in the comments then watch our Supernatural fandom panel, “Gone Too Soon – Characters We Really Miss”, to complete your list with the other panelists’* favorites!
*Professional Authors, Podcasters and BTS Supernatural Insiders on the ConTinual Panel:
Gail Z. Martin
Keith R. A. DiCandido
Revisit Karen list of “Ten Most Disturbing Character Deaths” in Supernatural for a different take on this topic. Her list focuses on specific death scenes that were highly disturbing versus the removal of the character from the storyline.