Does The CW See A Future For The Winchesters Beyond Season 1?

Four episodes into its debut season, "The Winchesters" was starting to feel too good to be true. The idea of The CW's 15-season behemoth "Supernatural" getting a spinoff was always a daunting prospect — after all, they've tried this many times before. While prior attempts never made it past their backdoor pilots, "The Winchesters" quickly got the go-ahead for a 13-episode season (plus the possibility of a full 22-episode order). But even when the show finally started hitting the airwaves, fans (yours truly, included) were plenty skeptical of the "Supernatural" prequel.

Told from the perspective of narrator Dean Winchester (voiced by Jensen Ackles), "The Winchesters" is the story of how his and Sam's parents fell in love and saved the world — a story that was already partially told by the OG series. So why craft an entire prequel around a romance we've already seen play out? I still don't have an answer for that, but oddly, that doesn't matter. Because by some magical combination of Ackles as executive producer and longtime "Supernatural" writer Robbie Thompson stepping up as showrunner, the prequel has superseded those dubious expectations and gotten better by the episode.

"The Winchesters" is challenging the "Supernatural" canon in interesting ways, exploring new lore, cracking the door open for familiar faces, and allowing its entire ensemble cast to shine as the original show never did. So naturally, it is now at risk of being canceled.

The Winchesters has been capped at 13 episodes

For many months now, the young-skewing CW network has been facing down an uncertain fate: TV giant Nexstar Media Group recently acquired a majority ownership stake in the network and shifted gears, with plans to target older viewers and add more low-cost, unscripted programming. Since then, The CW has been victim to the grim reaper of TV cancelations. The network made headlines earlier in the year when it axed over half a dozen of its titles, including DC entries like "Naomi," "Batwoman" and "Legends of Tomorrow." Final seasons for popular series like "Riverdale" and "The Flash" were also announced.

Despite all that, the network moved forward with its Fall and 2022-2023 lineup, which included new titles like "The Winchesters" and "Walker: Independence." A new report from Deadline has revealed a startling update for the future of these titles: each show has been capped at its original 13 episodes, with no back orders. This will be applied to all The CW freshman series (including the yet-to-premiere "Gotham Knights").

According to the report, network head Dennis Miller has stressed that the lack of back orders does not necessarily indicate cancelations. But that's a small comfort because other news out of The CW has not been optimistic: Nexstar also laid off 30 to 40 staff members at The CW in the same week (via Variety). 

Will The CW bring the ax down on The Winchesters?

Under normal circumstances, renewing titles like "The Winchesters" and "Walker: Independence" would be a no-brainer. Both are continuations of successful CW franchises and according to Deadline, have done well by the network's rating standards. But obviously, these aren't normal circumstances. This news also comes in the wake of two other network cancelations. Last week, it was announced that "Nancy Drew" would end with its upcoming fourth season, and earlier this week, DC's "Stargirl" was canceled after three seasons.

But not every title in the CW original series lineup is facing cancellation or a reduced season: "Superman & Lois," "Walker," "All American," "All American: Homecoming," and "Kung Fu" are still set for the 2022-2023 season with no update on their futures. Seeing how these shows are handled in the coming months will reveal a lot about the future of The CW.

There is a small silver lining in all of this. If "The Winchesters," "Gotham Knights" and "Walker Independence" don't live to see another season, then at least they've been given advance notice about their shortened seasons — hopefully, enough time to alter their finales for the sake of closure.

Maybe we'll get to see "The Winchesters" complete its story, with Mary, John, Carlos, and Latika defeating their mysterious Big Bad by the end of the season. Maybe we'll even get some answers about how the hell their story fits into the previously established "Supernatural" canon. And even if we don't, then by virtue of this being a prequel, we can just assume that everything works out for the better! After all, they're not the Lose-chesters (sorry).