Jared Padalecki appeared in the first five seasons of The WB drama, Gilmore Girls, appearing in 63 episodes as Dean Forrester, the on-again off-again first boyfriend of Rory Gilmore. He left Gilmore Girls in 2005, after he landed the lead role of Sam Winchester on Supernatural. In 2016, Padalecki reprised his role as Dean Forrester on the Netflix miniseries Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
At Jus In Bello 7 on Saturday 21 May 2016, Padalecki talked about his abrupt exit from Gilmore Girls and how satisfying it was to have the chance to return for the new series: “I never had closure. One day I was an actor on Gilmore Girls and the next day I had a TV show and would never again be on Gilmore Girls,” he said. “So for me, as a person, it was weird, because I was like, ‘What about Dean?’… So it was fun to go and wrap it up in a really cool way.”
Gilmore Girls, which was created in 2000 by Amy Sherman-Palladino, premiered on 5 October 2000 and quickly became one of The WB network’s highest rated series. It was set in the fictitious town of Stars Hollow in Connecticut, and revolved around the relationship between three generations of Gilmore women – matriarch Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop), her rebellious daughter and single mother Lorelai (Lauren Graham), and Lorelai’s teenage daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel). They were surrounded by a wonderful supporting cast, who portrayed the many quirky residents of Stars Hollow. The show also became famous for its pop culture references and fast-paced dialogue.
After Gilmore Girl’s sixth season, Sherman-Palladino and executive producer Daniel Palladino left the show due to a contract dispute. On 26 September 2006, Gilmore Girls moved to The CW and then, on 15 May 2007, the final episode aired. The show had lasted for seven seasons, with 154 episodes. But Sherman-Palladino – and many of the cast and fans – felt that they did not get the ending they wanted. Sherman-Palladino had even talked about knowing the final four words of the series way back in season one, but because of the circumstances this ending hadn’t eventuated.
Over the years, rumours of a revival never abated – and then, in June 2015, when most of the cast reunited for the show’s 15-year reunion, the speculation and buzz grew particularly loud. While Amy Sherman-Palladino remained non-committal, she and the cast agreed that they would be willing to return to Stars Hollow if the stars aligned and the right circumstances allowed it.
On 29 January 2016, it was confirmed that the Gilmore Girls would return on Netflix as a miniseries, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. This consisted of four 90-minute episodes – Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall – which were released simultaneously on 25 November 2016. The revival gave Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino the opportunity to write and direct the ending, including those elusive final four words. The principal cast all returned, except for Edward Herman (Richard Gilmore), who’d passed away on 31 December 2014.
Over the duration of the show, fans of Padalecki were often referred to as Team Dean. This was in reference to Rory’s love life, as she had three main beaus during the series. The others were bad boy Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimiglia) and college boyfriend Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry) – Team Dean, Team Jess and Team Logan respectively. All three returned to Stars Hollow for the miniseries; however, Padalecki’s appearance was brief, due to his hectic Supernatural schedule. He only spent one day on the Stars Hollow set filming a scene that was set in Dean’s old workplace of Doose’s Market, which fortunately gave his character some closure.
“There was always something missing,” said Padalecki in one of his many interviews. “Gilmore Girls was great through all seven seasons, but we were finally able to tell the complete story and put the period that was supposed to be there in the first place. So I think it will help complete the circle.”
Gilmore Girls in relation to Supernatural
Jared Padalecki often jokes at conventions about being the ‘original Dean’ and how it was confusing when he first started working on Supernatural. In the early days, the crew would call them by their character names and tell Dean to go to his mark. Both actors would head for the same mark, until Padalecki got used to being Sam.
In episode 2.18 Hollywood Babylon a reference is made to Padalecki’s former show. Sam and Dean are on a tour of The WB lot and the tour guide says they are about to pass the location of the Gilmore Girls and, if they are lucky, they might see one of its stars. Sam looks alarmed and then abruptly leaves the tour, much to Dean’s dismay. Excerpt from Hollywood Babylon.