The Winchesters star Drake Rodger explains how the Supernatural spinoff compares to Breaking Bad. Aided by the narration of Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), the upcoming CW drama will follow younger versions of John Winchester (Rodger) and Mary Campbell (Meg Donnelly) in the 1970s. Long before the events of the original series, John and Mary fall in love and fight monsters while they search for their missing fathers. A recent video from The Winchesters also highlighted the rest of its cast, including Bridget Regan, Bianca Kajlich, Jojo Fleites, and Demetria McKinney.
The Winchesters isn’t the first effort to build a franchise off the success of Supernatural. The first was Bloodlines, which would have taken place in Chicago. The second was planned to be Wayward Sisters. It would have followed the familiar characters of Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) and Claire Novak (upcoming Ant-Man 3 star Kathryn Newton) as they led a group of women monster hunters. The latest attempt differentiates itself by focusing on John and Mary, two recurring protagonists that are vital to the legacy of Supernatural. But in new comments, Rodger says the connection goes far deeper than just bringing back two notable names.
Speaking with Metacritic to promote The Winchesters, which debuts October 11 on The CW, Rodger talked about one of his favorite episodes of Supernatural and how it reveals so much about John (played then by Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Rodger said that his character’s trajectory is comparable to Walter White of Breaking Bad, noting that the spinoff will illuminate those similarities:
I was watching Season 1 Episode 20 [“Dead Man’s Blood”], which is one of my favorite episodes of Supernatural. It’s a very telling episode for John Winchester. He has this line talking to Sam where he’s just saying, “Once Mary died, all I saw was evil in the world around me. And everything that I did was to prepare you for that, I wanted you to go to college; I had a college fund for you. I wanted you to have a house and kids and family, but I couldn’t see past the evil.” And so, to me, if where I end is, I can’t see past the evil, and Jeffrey’s, as he says, portrayal of John was very drill sergeant. It’s life or death and all he sees is death. So, to me, it’s a very Walter White, Heisenberg, Breaking Bad transition of, “Let’s show who John Winchester could have been; let’s show what he wanted to be versus what fate or God or whatever you want to call it had in store for him.” And to me, it’s a sad story.
How The Winchesters Will Show A Different Side To John
In one sense, John Winchester might seem like a well-known entity because of his importance to Supernatural and the memorable performance of Morgan. He was also played in flashbacks by Matt Cohen. But even these flashbacks are at least somewhat filtered through the lens of Dean or Sam (Jared Padalecki). John was never fully, completely, the hero of the story in the way that The Winchesters will allow him to be. He was never really seen as his own person for a lengthy stretch of time without the presence of his family looming over him. Given that the team behind the series is deeply involved with the original, including Ackles, who is an executive producer, they’ll have a solid grasp on the patriarch that left a huge shadow over everything that Dean and Sam faced.
There is understandably some trepidation from audiences. Supernatural ran for so long before ending on its own terms that the story has been well told. But what Rodger indicates is The Winchesters will offer something fresh by delving deep into a crucial supporting character and showing things from their perspective. With the premiere just days away, viewers will soon judge for themselves how it shakes out.