John Winchester

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J.Winchester.jpg
300px
Name John Eric Winchester
Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Matthew Cohen (young)
Dates April 22, 1954 - July 19, 2006
Location Lawrence, Kansas;
Nomadic
Occupation Marine, Mechanic, Hunter. Vessel for Michael in 5.13 The Song Remains The Same
Episode(s) 1.01 Pilot
1.09 Home
1.11 Scarecrow
1.16 Shadow
1.18 Something Wicked
1.20 Dead Man's Blood
1.21 Salvation
1.22 Devil's Trap
2.01 In My Time Of Dying
2.22 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part Two
4.03 In The Beginning (young John)
5.13 The Song Remains The Same (young John)

History

John Winchester was Sam and Dean's father. He was Vietnam War veteran (USMC) from Lawrence, Kansas, John worked as a mechanic and was eventually co-owner (with Mike Guenther) of a garage in Lawrence, Kansas. He described himself as "a mechanic from a family of mechanics"[1] and this is the only reference to relatives of John's other than his sons.

He and Mary Campbell did not initially get along when they met, but under directions from Heaven, Cupid intervened and they fell in love.[2] John was about to propose to Mary in 1973 when Azazel kills him. Mary makes a deal with Azazel for John's life, in exchange for a promise to allow Azazel her home in ten years time. [1]

John was unaware of Mary's life as a hunter. He did learn of this when Sam and Dean return to 1978 protect their parents from the angel Anna[3], but his memory is wiped of this by Michael, following Michael's possession of John in order to kill Anna.

John and Mary's marriage was not always happy, and at least once he moved out of the family home[4]

When Mary's died in 1983, John raised their two sons, Sam and Dean, alone. Due to the nature of her death, John sought revenge, taking up the occupation and lifestyle of a hunter, which created a unique childhood for his two young sons. John moved his family from town to town following leads on supernatural creatures (telling Sam that he was a traveling salesman), often leaving the boys for days to fend for themselves.[5] [6] Though he never settled anywhere for very long, John did establish a lock-up where he stored weapons (including landmines), Curse Boxes and mementos from Sam and Dean's childhood.

In 1990, unbeknownst to Sam and Dean, John fathered a child with nurse Kate Milligan. Though Adam Milligan didn't meet John until he was 12 years old, John had sporadic contact with Adam from 2002 until John's death in 2006. As John raised Sam and Dean in a very militant and non-conventional environment, it seemed he used his time with Adam to do more traditional father-son activities, such as going to a baseball game, that he either couldn't or wouldn't do with his other two sons.[7]

He cuts off contact with Sam after Sam chooses to leave the family and hunting and attend Stanford, although he regularly would visit Palo Alto to check up on Sam. [8]. In 2005, he leaves discovers that a demon was responsible for Mary's death, and he leaves Dean in order to pursue it.

He eventually reunites with Sma and Dean in order to obtain the Colt. As they get closer to Azazel, John is kidnapped by the demon Meg, and possessed by Azazel. However Sam is unable to kill his father with the Colt in order to kill Azazel. [9]

Following a car crash caused by a demon, John offers his own life and the Colt to save Dean. John reveals that he has known known the "truth" about Sam and before he dies John warns Dean that he may have to kill Sam. [10]

John Winchester dies and goes to Hell where over the next year he is tortured by Alastair, who recounts that he never broke and started torturing souls himself. This would have been the first of The 66 Seals to break. [11]

In 2007, the gate to hell is opened by Jake Talley and John's spirit escapes, helping Dean to kill Azazel. [12]

See also:

Appearances

1.01 Pilot

John discovers his wife Mary on the ceiling of Sam's nursery, which is on fire. He gives the infant to young Dean, instructing him to flee the house, but is unable to rescue his wife.

22 years later Dean visits Sam at Stanford, telling him that John has gone missing. Sam reluctantly accompanies Dean to Jericho where John was on a case, but while they find his motel room, and belongings including John's Journal, he is not there.

1.04 Phantom Traveler

At the end of a case with an old friend, the boys get a cell phone number. The message on it is from John, redirecting people to call Dean if they want help - the first sign the boys have that John is still alive.

1.09 Home

Distressed at returning to his home town as they follow one of Sam's visions, Dean calls John but receives no answer. While investigating the haunting at their old home, Sam and Dean visit the garage John once owned with Mike Guenther. He directs them to Missouri Mosely. She helps the boys, but unbeknown to them John Winchester is in town and in contact with Missouri. He tells her he can't contact them until he knows "the truth".

1.11 Scarecrow

Dean’s cell rings, and Sam answers to hear his father’s voice. John expresses sympathy at the murder of Jess, and for the first time reveals that he knows that what killed Mary and Jess was a demon. John tells Sam that he must stop looking for him and he starts to give Sam details of a new hunt, but Sam argues that he wants to help John hunt the demon. Dean grabs the phone and takes the details from John about couples who have gone missing near Burkitsville, Indiana.

Later Sam leaves Dean, intending to travel to California and find John. However, after Dean goes missing on the case, he returns saying while he still wants to find John, he and Dean need to stick together.

1.12 Faith

With Dean near death, Sam calls John for help but gets no answer.

1.16 Shadow

When Sam and Dean encounter Meg in Chicago and realise she is linked to the demon that killed Mary and Jess, Dean calls John. He later arrives and Dean embraces him warmly. Just as he reunites for the first time in years with Sam, they are attacked by Daevas. Afterward, Dean supports John when he says it is too dangerous for them all to be together, and they part.

1.18 Something Wicked

Dean reveals to Sam that in 1989 when John was hunting a Shtriga, he left Dean and Sam alone. When the Shtriga attacks Sam, John returns just in time to save him.

1.20 Dead Man's Blood

Following up on the death of the hunter Daniel Elkins, Sam and Dean are surprised when John arrives. He tells them about the Colt, a gun that can kill supernatural being, which he know realizes Elkins had. Together they fight the vampires that killed Elkins, and retrieve the Colt, although John and Sam clash almost immediately and argue. After the hunt, Dean insists that they continue the hunt for the demon together.

1.21 Salvation

As hunters they know start being killed, the Winchester start the hunt for the demon in earnest, following signs, that John has learned are associated with its appearance, to Salvation, Iowa. Sam has a vision concerning a young woman and her baby, suggesting she is a target of the demon. John is angry that the boys hadn't told him about Sam's visions, but Dean stands up to him.

When Meg calls she demands the Colt, killing his friend Caleb as John listens. John plans a ruse to give her a fake Colt, as Sam and Dean take the real Colt to kill the demon. Both plans go wrong, when John is captured, and the demon eludes the boys.

1.22 Devil's Trap

Sam and Dean turn to Bobby for help. When Meg turns up, they capture her, and manage to find out John's location. The boys rescue John, and take him to a remote cabin. It is while he is telling Dean he is proud of him that Dean gets suspicious and realises that John is possessed by the Yellow-Eyed Demon. He taunts Dean and Sam and is killing Dean when John manages to wrest control for a moment, and allow Sam to get control of the Colt. Sam however can't shoot to kill and the demon escapes. As they escape in the Impala, a demon-possessed truck driver totals the car.

2.01 In My Time Of Dying

All the Winchesters are in hospital - Dean near death. When Sam discovers John is planning on pursuing the Yellow-Eyed Demon, they argue. John promises to hold off until Dean recovers, but actually summons the Yellow-Eyed Demon and makes a deal - his life for Dean's.

John has a final few moments with his sons. he tries to make some peace with Sam, and then reveals to Dean a secret - that he needs to save Sam, but that if he can't he will have to kill him.

Moments later the deal is called in - John dies and Dean recovers.

2.22 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part Two

When Jake Talley manages to open the Devil's Gate in Wyoming using the Colt, John escapes from Hell and helps Dean kill Azazel. John then disappears with a flash of white light.

3.14 Long-Distance Call

A creature called a Crocotta impersonates John's voice and contacts Dean on his cell phone, telling him an exorcism that can kill the demon that holds his contract. After the ruse is revealed, Dean confides to Sam how scared he is of going to hell.

4.03 In The Beginning

John in 1973 with Dean and the Impala.

Back in 1973, Dean meets a young John Winchester, not long returned from Vietnam. Dean follows John to a car lot, where he suggests his father buy the '67 Chevy Impala instead of an old VW van. Dean introduces himself as Dean Van Halen and assures John that the car will still be "bad-ass when it's 40". Dean tries to get info about any mysterious events but John doesn't know anything. Dean follows John on a date with Mary Campbell - who John is planning to propose to.

Later, as Mary decides to elope with John to escape a life of hunting, he is killed by Azazel. She makes a deal to bring John back to life - his life in return for letting Azazel access to her house ten years in the future, when unknown to her he will feed demon blood to baby Sam.

4.13 After School Special

In flashbacks, John drops off Sam and Dean at a highschool they attended for a few weeks while he was on a job. Throughout the flashbacks he calls Dean and picks them up after the job is done. John's face is never seen throughout the episode, mostly from the neck down in the Impala or as a silhouette.

4.16 On The Head Of A Pin

As Dean tortures Alastair, he reveals that in the hundred years John spent in {{Hell]], he never broke and accepted the deal that Dean was offered - that the torture would stop if he started doing it himself. If he had, this would have broken the first of the The 66 Seals - instead it was Dean who did.

4.19 Jump The Shark

Sam and Dean learn that John had a son with Kate Milligan, a nurse he met January 1990. She worked as a nurse, when he was injured during a hunt. Adam Milligan was born on September 29, 1990. He didn't have any contact with John until he was twelve.

5.13 The Song Remains The Same

Castiel takes Sam and Dean to 1978 to save their parents from Anna, who is trying to kill them. John is shocked to learn the truth about the supernatural, and that Mary was raised as a hunter. When Sam reveals he and Dean, were raised that way too, John, unaware of their true identity, criticizes their father. Sam gets a chance to defend his father and says he know understands better that John tried his best, and that he loves him.
File:Michael as John Winchester.jpg
The Archangel Michael in John's Body

When Anna and Uriel attack the family, John is injured. Michael appears and asks for John's permission to take him over as a vessel and save Mary. John consents.

Later Michael erases all memory of the events from John and Mary.


Age speculation

  • A draft script of the Pilot places John's age at 30 when Mary dies (therefore early 50s at present).
  • John's email address, jwinchester1246@gmail.com, could be read to refer to his birthdate - December 1946. This fits with the use of Mary's date of death throughout the show (it is used as a lock combination, or referred to as 110283 or 1183). This would place John at age 60 in 2006.
  • John cannot plausibly have been born any later than 1957 (so as to have been 18, and in the Marines, in 1975). Considering the notes below about Vietnam force reduction, the likelihood is high that he turned 18 before 1971 (in which case his birth year would be 1953 or earlier).
  • In an alternate reality experienced by Dean, John's gravestone indicates he was born in 1954.[13]


Known Acquaintances

Dean: Well, yeah, but last time we saw you, I mean, you did threaten to blast him full of buckshot. Cocked the shotgun and everything.

Bobby: Yeah, well, what can I say? John just has that effect on people.

Dean: Yeah, I guess he does.

– Bobby Singer and Dean Winchester discussing John, 1.22 Devil's Trap

John tended to work alone and avoid other hunters, although many appeared to know him or of him and he seemed to have a good reputation as a hunter.

  • According to Jo's Journal, John used to visit the Roadhouse before William Anthony Harvelle's death in 1995.
  • Ellen infers that her husband's death was John's fault - they were both usually solo hunters, hunting together, when Bill died.[14]
  • Bobby Singer - knew John since the boys were small. The last time he saw John alive, they argued and Bobby pointed a shotgun at him.
  • Adam Milligan - John's son, the product of a brief relationship John had with Kate Milligan.
  • Jim Murphy - knew John since the boys were small.
  • Caleb
  • Missouri Mosely - a psychic he sought help from after Mary's death and the person who first told him of the supernatural.
  • Deacon - was in the Marines with John.
  • Bill Harvelle - was on a hunt with John when he was killed.
  • Ellen Harvelle - part of the hunting world, she also partly blamed John for her husband's death.
  • Daniel Elkins - hunter John had fallen out with.
  • Martin Creaser - a hunter.
  • While in Heaven, Ash told Dean and Sam that he searched for John Winchester when he arrived in Heaven, but he reported that he hasn't seen John.[4]


John's Military History

Screencap of John's dog tags from 2.04 Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things

In 2.09, Dean says that John was a Corporal in the Marine Corps, with company 'Echo 2/1' (2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, Echo company).

In 2.19 Folsom Prison Blues (episode), we meet Deacon, who served in the Corps with John, and saved his life.

Speculation on rank

In 4.03 In The Beginning, John is referred to as 'Corporal' by the man welcoming him back home in the diner.

Speculation on dates

It's unlikely John graduated from high school. The badges/medals/photos in his journal (see below) suggest he was a rifleman. High school graduates were almost always sent to aviation or communication schools, rather than combat arms.

The Tet Offensive took place in January 1968. It is possible that this got John all fired up with patriotic fervor and he decided to screw school and enlist in the Marines. If he joined with his parents' permission, he could have been seventeen at this point. At that stage in the war, recruits were given four months of training then shipped straight out to Vietnam, so he would have been there by June 1968, by which time American bombing was already being curtailed and negotiations were beginning. Even so, it would be another year until troop withdrawal began.

(speculation care of Derry)

Dog Tags

John's dog tags[15] have the following printed on them:
WINCHESTER
JOHN
306-00-3894
TYPE AB
NON-RELIGIOUS

John's social security number suggests he was born in, or obtained his first job in, Indiana (source) (Although most children born today receive a SSN at birth or within their first year, this was not common practice when John was a child.)

Medals in The Journal

Medals on inside of Journal

'Nam information

These are all the official military campaigns for the Marines in Vietnam from 1970-73:

  • Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970 : November 1, 1969 to April 30, 1970
  • Sanctuary Counteroffensive : May 1 to June 30, 1970
  • Vietnam Counteroffensive, Phase VII : July 1, 1970 to June 30, 1971
  • Consolidation I : July 1 to November 30, 1971
  • Consolidation II : December 1, 1971 to March 29, 1972
  • Vietnam Cease Fire : March 30, 1972 to March 28, 1973

Although the Marines were in Vietnam until the end of the war (assisting in the evacuation of US embassies, for example,) ground force reduction begins in July of 1971.

USMC units in Vietnam

John as a young man

John as a young man has been a character in two major episodes. He first appeared in 4.03 In The Beginning, and then again in 5.13 The Song Remains The Same. He also became Michael's temporary vessel.

  • In 1973 he asked Mary to marry him.
  • At first he wanted to purchase a beige VW van but was persuaded by Dean who had come from the future to save him to get the Impala in 4.03 In The Beginning.
  • Mary as a young adult, was proved to be pregnant with Dean; this was revealed at the end of 5.13 The Song Remains The Same.


Trivia

  • Full name given on the tombstone in the alternative reality of episode 2.20: John E. Winchester
  • At Comic Con 2008, Eric Kripke confirmed that John's middle name was Eric.
  • In one version of the pilot script, Sam and Dean found John dead on the ceiling.S1Com,p.11
  • John drives a GMC Sierra Grande Kansas license plate #CSG 8R3

John In Fandom

Meta Essays

See also Fanfiction for fanfic and pairings featuring John

References