Castiel's Trench Coat
Castiel's trench coat has become a trademark of the character. Creator Eric Kripke based the look of the character on the DC Comics character John Constantine, also a trench coat wearer. In 14.13 Lebanon, an alternate timeline Zachariah makes a reference to the resemblance by calling a confused Castiel "Constantine."
Misha has described how when he was cast in the role he had to fly to Vancouver to be fitted for the wardrobe, and he pretty much agreed to the first suit they had him try on - little knowing it would be all he would ever wear in the role!
The trench coat has not had an easy life - it was shot up by Dean on its very first appearance. Yet while it is always rather rumpled, it miraculously appears repaired at Castiel's next appearance. Misha explained it thus: “Not only can Castiel heal the human body he’s possessing, but he has magical clothes mending abilities as well.”
The trench coat also featured in the documentary Behind the Scenes of Supernatural: A Fan's Perspective.
When the Leviathans take control of Castiel, he is last seen 7.02 Hello, Cruel World as he walks into a lake before his vessel explodes. His trench coat washes to shore and Dean fishes it from the water, folds it up, and takes it with him. Director Guy Bee said that there was no specific direction in the script for what should happen to the trench coat but that he suggested to Jensen that he fold it up like "a flag at a soldier’s funeral..."
Jensen said: “I've been playing Dean so long I feel like I have a pretty good handle on how he would react to a situation – his relationship with Cas was very deep, there was a deep friendship there, and I discussed it with Guy Bee, and said if he ever comes back, he’s gonna need the trench coat. And there was just something like, almost a closure, I was just folding it up, like a flag... I wanted to take care of it, it belonged to somebody who meant a lot to Dean."
At Salute to Supernatural Toronto 2011 when asked what had happened to the trench coat after Dean took it out of the water, Jared mimed Dean smelling it and rubbing it all over himself. Jensen said "he used it as a pillow - or as kindling. One of the two."
"What do I think about Dean keeping my trench coat? Well we kind of talked about this, but I - I think it’s a little gay. Not in a bad way, just - it’s… it’s - y’know, he definitely [laughs] - it seems like, uh, it seems like he is definitely pretty, uh, pretty attracted to Cas… [audience cheers] And possibly, borderline obsessed. Um… so… yeah. I mean, it’s a little creepy, too. I kind of shudder to think what he did with that trench coat. Uh… came out, maybe. What’d you think about it?" [audience cheers]
"Misha and Bob Singer, who was directing that episode, we were crying-laughing at how ridiculous it was that I had his jacket nicely folded in the trunk of the car... and not even the Impala, but a stolen car. There was no reason for the jacket to be in the trunk of that car. And Bob was like 'just do it, alright?!' Then we started saying the dialogue out loud and it...it was so bad. There was a line [Misha] said that he couldn’t get out because it was so ridiculous, so we changed it. [The trench coat] was so perfectly folded with the tie and the collar and Bob’s like ‘can you present it so we can see what it is’ and I was like 'no! No, I can’t!' Know that we have problems shooting scenes sometimes.
Dean keeps the trench coat with him, even moving it from car to car after they stop using the Impala to avoid the police. It is glimpsed in the trunk of the car in 7.07 The Mentalists. Months later Dean meets up with Castiel in 7.17 The Born-Again Identity, who has been living with amnesia as a healer called Emmanuel.
After Castiel remembers who he is, Dean returns the coat to him. Both Jensen and Misha have mentioned that they, along with director Bob Singer, revised some of the dialogue as originally written, which felt to them like a cheesy romantic speech and out of character for Dean. Watch Jensen and Misha discuss the scene at Jus In Bello Italy 2012.
Afterwards, Castiel is once again seen with the trench coat even while insane. After waking up, Castiel puts it back on over his hospital gown.
In 9.01 I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here Castiel, without his grace, is human. Covered in blood after killing Hael, he finds a laundromat and strips down to his boxers in order to wash his bloody clothes. However he is also experiencing thirst and hunger, and decides to spend his money on water instead. He steals clothes from another person's washing basket and leaves the laundromat, abandoning the trench coat.
In September 2010 new promo shots were being done for the upcoming season 6. The shoot was in Los Angeles and the wardrobe was flown down from Vancouver a few days before, and was stolen somewhere along the way. Items taken included one of Castiel’s trench coats and Dean's leather jacket. The person who replaced the items didn’t know anything about the show, which is how Misha ended up wearing a black trench coat.
Missing in Action
There are a few occasions when the trench coat is absent.
Not Castiel, but rather his vessel Jimmy Novak, is seen not wearing the trench coat. Jimmy later puts it on when confronting the demons possessing his wife and holding his daughter, and Castiel is thus wearing it again when Jimmy allows Castiel to possess him again.
In a possible version of 2014, Future Castiel has disposed of the trench coat and appears in more relaxed casual wear, in keeping with his changed persona. However, the current version of Castiel is seen wearing it when talking to Dean on the phone and after rescuing him.
Castiel is seen in the hospital wearing only a hospital gown but is shown wearing it the rest of the episode.
In the alternate reality, Misha is seen wearing the trench coat as he plays Castiel, but also without it in a fetching blue sweater.
Castiel is living with amnesia as a healer called Emmanuel. Dean returns the bloodied coat to him when he regains his memories.
When Castiel is revived by the Cosmic Entity, he is brought back with a longer trench coat though he has his old one in the Empty. While mimicking Castiel's appearance, the Entity also mimics his trench coat.
While visiting Donatello Redfield, Castiel switches out his trench coat for a lab coat as part of his disguise as Doctor Novak, though Castiel keeps his suit on underneath. After awakening Donatello and filling him in, Castiel switches back to his trench coat before joining the Winchesters.
In an alternate timeline created by the disappearance of John Winchester in 2003, Castiel is once again wearing his original trench coat. The alternate Zachariah calls Castiel "Constantine" as a result, but Castiel doesn't get the reference.
Link to Castiel's Grace
Fans have theorized that the trench coat symbolizes the status of Castiel's grace. The first time he is seen without it in 4.20 The Rapture signifies the time when Castiel left Jimmy and returned to heaven. Thus, his grace was not present. Similarly, through seasons 4 to 8, every time the coat is missing, Castiel is either unable to use (5.04 The End, 5.21 Two Minutes to Midnight, beginning of season 9) or is unaware of (7.17 The Born-Again Identity) his grace. From season 9 onward the slightly different trench coat that Castiel uses may allude to the fact that the grace that he possesses is not quite his own. The shorter size of Castiel's trench coat also signifies his weakened status after he got a portion of his grace back since it was used in Metatron's spell. Notably in Season 13, as his grace has recovered and he is at full strength, save for teleport ability, his coat is much longer.
Fan cosplay as Castiel is so popular that at Creation Entertainment conventions, there is a separate competition for the "Castiels". Some fan cosplay as Castiel:
- Castiel by @brotheratom
- Castiel for Halloween 2009 by @SabinaBergvall
- Castiel and Pamela Halloween 2009 by may_day_woman
- Group cosplay at Dragon*Con 2009 including Sam, Dean, Castiel, Bobby, Pamela and Mary by tahirire
- Castiel for Halloween 2009 by lilsnbug
- Castiel by terryrose
- Castiel by ~0pheliaImmortal
- Castiel by calceil
- A stage full of trench coats by Salute to Supernatural Toronto 2011
- Fan page for the trench coat on Facebook
- Misha talks about not putting much thought into the wardrobe at Salute to Supernatural New Jersey 2009
- Misha talks about Constantine and Wings of Desire as inspirations for Castiel's trench coat at All Hell Breaks Loose Sydney 2009
- Misha talks about his romantic and sexual relationship with the trench coat at Salute to Supernatural New Jersey 2010
- Misha borrowing a fan's trench coat at Salute to Supernatural L.A. 2011
- Castiel meets the Ghostfacers - in which Castiel clarifies that "technically it's an overcoat"
- A chronology of Castiel's clothes by litebritewrite