|Season(s)||1 - 5, 8, 11|
|Status||Deceased (killed by Azazel)|
|Title/Alias||Johnny (by Meg)|
|Affiliation:|| Winchester Family|
United States Marine Corps (formerly)
|Family|| Cain (ancestor) † |
Henry Winchester (father) †
Millie Winchester (mother)
Mary Winchester (wife) †
Sam Winchester (son)
Adam Milligan (son)
Emma (granddaughter) †
Samuel Campbell (father-in-law) †
Deanna Campbell (mother-in-law) †
|Portrayed by:|| Jeffrey Dean Morgan|
Matt Cohen (Young John)
Nels Guloien (as a child)
- "You know, when you were a kid, I'd come home from a hunt, and after what I'd seen, I'd be, I'd be wrecked. And you, you'd come up to me and you, you'd put your hand on my shoulder and you'd look me in the eye and you'd... You'd say "It's okay, Dad". [...] You shouldn't have had to say that to me, I should have been saying that to you. You know, I put, I put too much on your shoulders, I made you grow up too fast. You took care of Sammy, you took care of me. You did that, and you didn't complain, not once. I just want you to know that I am so proud of you."
- —John Winchester to Dean[src]
John Eric Winchester was the son of Henry and Millie Winchester, the husband of Mary Winchester, and the father of Dean and Sam Winchester and Adam Milligan. Seeking revenge after his wife was killed by the demon Azazel, John became a hunter and raised his two oldest sons to fight the supernatural. When Dean was 26 and Sam was about to get his law education started, John mysteriously disappeared, which caused his sons to go back into hunting in order to find him. Eventually they found John who sought the Demon killing Colt gun to kill Azazel, but the three were caught in a car crash after a brutal encounter with the demon. Soon after John made a deal with Azazel to bring back Dean from death and went to Hell for it, but eventually escaped when the Devil's Gate was opened and assisted Dean as a spirit to finally kill Azazel before moving on.
Before becoming a hunter, John was a Vietnam War veteran (USMC) from Lawrence, Kansas, he worked as a mechanic and was eventually co-owner (with Mike Guenther) of a garage in Lawrence. John also served as a temporary vessel for the Archangel Michael and a temporary vessel for the demon Azazel in said's demon's first true onscreen appearance.
John was born in 1954, presumably in Normal, Illinois, as this is where we see John Winchester when he was younger at the start of As Time Goes By. At this time, it was unknown to him that his father Henry Winchester belonged to a secret society called the Men of Letters, as had his grandfather and his great grandfather before him. Henry also states that he bought John a little music box which played "As Time Goes By" from the film "Casablanca" to help him sleep after he took him to see "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy" at the drive-in one night which apparently scared the "beeswax" out of him. In 1958, he went to the club, leaving John home. However, due to the attack by Abaddon, Henry was forced to flee to 2013, where he died at the hands of Abaddon. This led John to believe that his father had abandoned him.
- "Surviving a lonely childhood, a stinking war...only to get married and have his wife taken by a demon...and later killed by one himself. That man got a bum rap around every turn. But you know what? He kept going. And in the end, he did a hell of a lot more good than he did bad."
- —Dean Winchester to Henry Winchester.[src]
He left to fight in Vietnam as a Marine, and held the rank of Corporal. He later returned to Lawrence, where he worked as a mechanic. On April 30, 1973, John bought a 1967 Chevrolet Impala second hand at Rainbow Motors, after being convinced by a stranger named Dean Van Halen to choose the vehicle. What John was unaware of, however, was that Dean was actually his future son Dean Winchester.
John had a history with Mary Campbell, although before falling in love (under the influence of a Cupid), they couldn't stand each other. John intended to propose to Mary, but later when Mary ran away from her family, he was killed by Azazel as he was possessing Mary's father Samuel, prompting Mary to strike a deal with Azazel to bring John back at the cost of allowing Azazel into her home ten years later.
Five years later, in 1978, John and Mary were visited by yet another future Dean and his brother Sam. They claimed to be Mary's cousins, as she already knew about time travel to an extent but John did not. John was called back to work by his boss unexpectedly, but once he got there he encountered the angel Anna Milton, also from the future. Dean, Sam, and Mary stopped her from harming John, though John learned of the existence of monsters. Later John helped prepare their house for an angel attack where Sam told him of how his father raised them into the hunters life, at which John was disgusted (though unaware that it was in fact John himself that would do this). Much later when Anna attacked, John was tossed outside the house but was approached by the archangel Michael who John gave permission to use to save Mary from Anna but erased John and Mary's memories.
In 1979, John and Mary had their first child, Dean, and in 1983, they had their second child, Sam. On November 2, 1983, Azazel stayed true to his word and visited the house, though Mary tried to intervene. Azazel killed her as a result and destroyed the house, but John, Dean, and Sam escaped with their lives. After Mary's death John went to a psychic named Missouri Moseley. He learned the truth about Mary's past. He left Lawrence with his sons, Sam and Dean. He dedicated the rest of his life to hunting down monsters, particularly Azazel. John began his hunting "career" approximately on November 2, 1983, following the death of his wife. His primary goal, as a hunter, was to kill the Yellow-Eyed Demon, Azazel, for murdering the mother of his children.
His hunter career lead him to investigate the Oklahoma City bombing and the September 11 attacks, suspecting demons being involved.
John accumulated a vast knowledge of the supernatural, keeping a journal of the creatures he hunted. He was a well-respected hunter by his peers. John worked with several other hunters, most notably, Bobby Singer, William Anthony Harvelle, Caleb, Martin Creaser, Tara and a pastor named Jim Murphy as well as a psychokinetic Fred Jones. He was described as one of the best hunters, one who hardly ever ended a hunt with the monster still alive. Despite this, Sam tells Dean that his elder brother is a better hunter than John. Sometime later in his past he also worked with a hunter named Tara, and together, they hunted and exorcised a demon protege who informed them about the existence of the Knights of Hell and the First Blade, though John never believed in the Blade's existence. Nevertheless, he and Tara kept notes of the information they gathered. They also had a brief relationship. Later, John kept a photo of Tara in his locker.
During his hunting career, when Dean was around ten, John left him alone with Sam to hunt a Shtriga and returned only just in time to drive the Shtriga away. John was furious as Dean leaving his brother for awhile out of boredom led to the situation and it took a long time for him to trust Dean again. He also never completed the hunt as he had to take Sam and Dean to Pastor Jim's and when he returned, the Shtriga was gone and didn't resurface until 2006.
In 1995, John arrived at the Roadhouse and met the Harvelle Family. He becomes friends with another hunter named Bill Harvelle. Though both usually hunted alone, John and Bill went on a hunt together. Bill was so savagely wounded by the monster that John had been forced to shoot him to put him out of his misery. John cut all ties from the Roadhouse and never forgave himself for the incident.
His life as a hunter led to strain between him and his son Sam, who wanted to quit hunting, leading to an argument where John told Sam if he left he would have to stay away. However, John regretted saying it, as he didn't want Sam to be on his own. John would surreptitiously stop by Stanford every so often just to make sure Sam was all right. John admitted it was never his intention to raise his sons the way he did.
Around August or September of 2002, after Sam had left for Stanford University, John received a call from Kate Milligan, a nurse who had treated John several years previously in Windom, Minnesota. She informed him that they had a son named Adam who was twelve at the time. According to Adam, John "dropped everything" and drove all night to Windom. After the initial meeting, John had sporadic contact with Adam. He taught him to play poker, taught him to drive in the Impala, and bought him his first beer when he was fifteen. He also took him to ball games on his birthday. John never mentioned Adam to either Sam or Dean. They learned about him around two years after John's death. Dean suspects that John saw Adam as a second chance, a child he could raise outside of hunting and do normal father-son activities with. This may have also been inspired somewhat by Sam's recent leaving.
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. While being interrogated by the police, Dean finds coordinates that John has left for him.
Sam and Dean follow the coordinates left in their father's journal and land in the middle of the woods where they investigate the disappearance of several campers in Black Water Ridge, Colorado. At the end of a case (where Sam and Dean have their first encounter with a demon) 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.
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 Moseley. She helps the boys, but unbeknownst 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".
After being sent on a hunt through a text by John, Dean’s cell rings, and Sam answers to hear his father’s voice. John expresses sympathy at the murder of Jessica, 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.When Sam and Dean encounter Meg in Chicago and realize 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, seemingly putting aside their argument as he is glad to see his son, they are attacked by Daevas. Sam manages to dispel them and they escape, but are injured. Afterward, Dean supports John when he says it is too dangerous for them all to be together, and they part. John tells them that the fight is far from over and they'll see each other again.
After learning that the Shtriga he once hunted has reemerged in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, John sends the coordinates to Dean as he knows that killing the Shtriga is unfinished business for Dean. Dean ultimately kills the Shtriga and finishes John's old hunt.
Following up on the death of the hunter and old friend Daniel Elkins, Sam and Dean are surprised when John arrives. He tells them about The Colt, a gun that can kill supernatural beings, which he now realizes Elkins had. He is after it as it can kill the demon that killed Mary and Jess and avenge their deaths. Together they fight the Vampires that killed Elkins, and retrieve The Colt, although John and Sam clash almost immediately and argue. John orders Sam and Dean to rescue the victims and then leave while he confronts the vampires alone and they realize that afterwards he intends to go off on his own again. Even Dean argues with this, saying they are stronger as a family, but finally they reluctantly agree. Using Kate, John draws the vampires into a meeting to exchange her for the Colt, but Kate breaks free and John is nearly killed. However, Sam and Dean disregard his orders and rescue him, though the vampire leader Luther takes Sam as a hostage to force Dean to surrender. John quickly recovers and kills Luther with the Colt, saving him.
The surviving two vampires retreat. Afterwards, John confronts his sons for disobeying him, but agrees that they did save his life and thanks them rather than yelling at them for it. The experience causes John to realize that they are right: the three of them are stronger as a family and he asks Sam and Dean to join him in hunting the demon that killed their loved ones and they eagerly agree. During the episode, Sam and John also spend some time alone and seem to come to some form of peace as they realize they are a lot more alike then they care to admit and John tells Sam he never wanted his son to have this life.
- "This isn't the life I wanted for you [...] You gotta understand something. After your mother passed ... all I saw was evil, everywhere. And all I cared about was keeping you boys alive. I wanted you ... prepared. Ready. Except somewhere along the line, I ... I stopped being your father and I became your drill sergeant. So when you said you wanted to go away to school, all I could think about was, my only thought was that you were gonna be alone. Vulnerable. Sammy, it just ... never occurred to me what you wanted. I just couldn't accept the fact that you and I were just different."
- —John explaining his actions to Sam[src]
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 (Meg also killed Pastor Jim at the beginning of the episode) 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.
Sam and Dean turn to Bobby Singer for help. When Meg turns up, they capture her, and manage to find out John's location, exorcising the demon. The boys rescue John, and take him to a remote cabin. It is while he is telling Dean he is proud of him, even though Dean used the gun and wasted a chance on killing the Demon, that Dean gets suspicious and realizes 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 drive to the hospital, John berates Sam for not sacrificing him to kill the demon, having believed that Sam agreed with him that the demon must die at any cost. However, Sam tells him that family is more important and they can still catch up to the demon again and they still have one bullet left in the Colt to kill it with. However, at this moment, a demon-possessed truck driver crashes into The Impala, leaving John and his sons injured and unconscious.
All the Winchesters are in the hospital with Dean dangerously close to death. Sam discovers John is planning to keep on pursuing the Yellow-Eyed Demon, and they argue. John promises to hold off until Dean recovers, but he 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. He spends around 105 years in Hell (hell time) until he climbs his way out.
In the last episode of the season, when Jake Talley (one of the special children) manages to open the Devil's Gate in Wyoming using The Colt, John escapes from Hell and saves Dean from Azazel by pulling him from his vessel. John is quickly overpowered, but his actions allow Dean time to recover the Colt and when Azazel reenters his vessel, Dean shoots him in the heart, finally killing him and completing the mission John had started over 23 years earlier. John shares a tearful moment with his sons before disappearing in a flash of white light.
A supernatural creature called a Crocotta imitates John's voice and tries to lure Dean to his death. Greatly missing his father, Dean believes it is truly John, though Sam is more cautious. He saves Dean from death, and the latter admits a part of him knew it was not John.
John's background is revealed to Dean. At first, he never knew about Hunters until Mary's death ten years later, he was in fact killed by Azazel who had possessed Mary's father. Mary then made a deal with Azazel to bring John back to life in exchange for Azazel being able to come into Sam's nursery in 1983.
When the angel Anna goes back in time to kill a young John and Mary before their sons are born (as it would supposedly stop the apocalypse from ever occurring) John meets Dean and Sam, who traveled to stop Anna. He becomes aware of his wife's past life as a hunter, and is shocked people could raise their children to kill supernatural beings. (The dramatic irony being that Dean and Sam know--and the audience--that John would eventually do the same.) When they are all attacked by Anna and the angel Uriel, the archangel Michael gets permission from John to inhabit his body long enough to save the others and kill Anna. John and Mary's memories of the night are erased by Michael. A Cupid is later revealed to have been behind John and Mary's union and that it was ordered by the "higher-ups". However, the angel also added that he can only bring the two lovers together; the love they feel afterwards is completely of their own volition.
Sam and Dean learn the truth about John's father Henry Winchester's disappearance along with the fact that John tortured a demon who worked for Abaddon and that he learned from the demon that Abaddon is a Knight of Hell. Sam also becomes more accepting of John's way of raising them, knowing that he did the best he could, but the brothers are left wondering how their lives would have been different if Henry had been there to raise John. Henry was also initially disgusted that John was a hunter rather than one of the Men of Letters, but came to be proud of John after seeing how he raised Sam and Dean.
Dean is approached by Crowley to help locate the First Blade which Crowley could only find one demon that knew about it: one that was captured, interrogated and exorcised by John. Checking John's journal and his lock-up, Dean and Crowley learn that John worked a case with a hunter named Tara where they did interrogate and exorcise a demon who knew about the Blade, but find no further information in John's files. Finding Tara, they learn that she and John apparently had a sexual relationship as well as a professional one and that John never believed the demon about the Blade, thinking it was just lying to get out of being exorcised. However, Tara had started searching for the Blade and she is able to give Dean and Crowley their first clue on where to look. She also indicates to Dean that she believes that John would be disgusted with him for working with Crowley despite the necessity of the situation.
Skills and AbilitiesEdit
As a humanEdit
John Winchester's early years as a hunter were murky and vaguely represented in the series. However, a lot of other hunters, including veteran ones like Bobby Singer, all refer to John as a highly skilled and capable hunter, at least during his latter years as a hunter. Even after his death, a lot of hunters talk about him; Gordon considers his sons to have "big shoes to fill" in their father's absence. Sam and Dean stated that it was very rare (only happening once for sure) that a monster survived an encounter with John. He was also noted for being able to find ways to kill things that had no apparent weaknesses: when facing a Shtriga, Sam noted that the lore stated that it couldn't be killed by the weapons of "God or man", but John had somehow figured out that it was vulnerable to consecrated iron while feeding. How he determined this is unknown as he never actually killed the creature. However, his knowledge of lore wasn't complete: he was unaware that his theory about there being a cure for being a werewolf was false, he didn't believe in and follow up on the First Blade and lacked knowledge of both the vampire cure and the one for djinn poison and was unaware Vetalas hunted in pairs. Despite this, John had a very impressive command of lore to the point that many times Sam and Dean consult his journal as their first source of information. Several times it alone has proven to be enough for them to identify a creature and how to kill it. However, by Trial and Error, Sam considers Dean the best hunter there is, saying that he is better than Sam and even better than John at both lore and physically hunting monsters.
Even before he become a hunter, John was well versed in firearms, battle, and tactics. This was because of his tenure as a marine. His knowledge on military activities allowed him to school his own sons on how to wield and even construct firearms at an early age.
Another notable trait of John's was his incredible willpower. He was temporarily able to retake control when possessed by the demon Azazel, an impressive feat as few others have been able to retake control from even weak demons, while Azazel was one of the most powerful. The only other people to display similar levels of willpower are Bobby Singer and Sam (with Sam having overpowered the second oldest Archangel). John's willpower is also shown in how he was able to escape Hell itself while the Devil's Gate was open. Dean noted that if anyone had the willpower to do so, John did. He was also able to briefly overpower Azazel while just a ghost, though for only a few moments. This attack saved Dean and allowed him to finally kill John's long-time enemy.
As a SpiritEdit
Not much was shown about his abilities after his death, but John was able to endure Alastair's torture for almost a century, and, only having recently been freed from the tortures of hell, was able to wrestle Azazel out of his human host.
- John and Dean - John and Dean's relationship.
- John and Sam - John and Sam's relationship.
- John and Mary - John and Mary's relationship.
- Season 1
- Season 2
- John's name means "Graced by Yahweh (God)".
- John drove a 1983 GMC Sierra. It had a closed console which had a high-tech box to house his weapons.
- John is a veteran of the Vietnam war.
- Because of his military life, it can be assumed that he used that same mindset to train his sons in the hunter lifestyle.
- According to Dean, the last time Bobby Singer had seen John, Bobby had threatened to shoot him for some offense.
- John never visited Mary's grave site.
- Even though his wife had many family members, John never had relations with them after her death.
- Though John had a much younger son by another relationship, he never told Adam the truth about his family instead preferring to do regular father-and-son activities. Dean believes that John saw this as a second chance to raise a child normally and not as a hunter as he had no choice with Sam and Dean but did with Adam.
- John served as the basis for Season 5's story with Lucifer and God. As Gabriel explains, Sam is reminiscent of Lucifer, as he rarely sees his father and disapproves of him, whereas Dean is loyal to a father he never sees, much like Michael. Sam and John's relationship was reminiscent of Lucifer and God.
- Season seven is the only season where John has not appeared in some form or another. He was reported to make an appearance in the Season 7 finale, but this turned out to be an April Fool's joke.
- John has been killed twice. Both times he was killed by the demon Azazel. Once in 1973 and the other in 2006.
- Between "In My Time of Dying," and "All Hell Breaks Loose - Part 1," John is in Hell for the whole season. As one year is the usual time that takes place in a season and one month in Hell time is approximately 10 years, John spent roughly 120 years in Hell.
- Had the Men of Letters survived into the present, John would have been ordained as one in the same manner as his father Henry.
- John is the first character on the show to overcome possession.
- In the animated series, John's journal came from Fletcher Gable.
- John was originally going to buy a VW campervan until Dean persuaded him to buy the Impala instead calling it "the car of a lifetime" and promising that it would be still be "badass when it's 40".
- John had met both his older sons before their births. He meets Dean for the first time in episode 4x03, In The Beginning, and then meets Dean again along with Sam in episode 5x13, The Song Remains the Same. John would have no recollection of this ever happening as his and Mary's memories were wiped by Michael. It is also debatable that John did not realize that Sam and Dean were in fact him and Mary's sons as he was not present in the room during Dean and Mary's heart to heart.
- The name of John's mother is Millie.
- It is unknown as to when John moved to Lawrence, Kansas. He may have lived there before he was deployed to Vietnam, or simply moved there after returning from the conflict.
- John was close friends with fellow hunters Pastor Jim Murphy and Caleb. They are referenced several times through the first season while also being mentioned in various flashbacks. In Something Wicked, John instructs Dean to call Pastor Jim in case of an emergency. Dean then states that after the Shtriga attacked Sam, John dropped them both off at Pastor Jim's. Jim Murphy and Caleb were both killed by Meg in Salvation, and John is noticeably hurt by their deaths.
- Apparently John's idea of thanksgiving was a bowl of chicken and passing out on the couch.
- John is the first known character to escape Hell, climbing out when Jake Talley opened the Devil's Gate on Azazel's orders. Second is Dean when Castiel raises Dean from Hell, third is Sam after Castiel raises him (without his soul) from Lucifer's Cage, and fourth being Bobby when Sam helped him escape.
- Jeffrey Dean Morgan has expressed interest in returning to the series, indicating that John may return in the future.
- Many characters on the show and fans alike consider John as one of the greatest hunters in the world during his life, Meg even commending him. Dean worshiped his father and considers John as one of the best hunters to have ever lived, especially by his number of hunts and almost no creature having survived their encounter with John except the Shtriga for certain. However, by Trial and Error, Sam considers Dean the best saying he's even better than John, himself or Bobby.
- Before his death he confirmed he knew the truth about Sam to Azazel, with Eric Kripke confirming he figured out what the whole picture was including the coming of the apocalypse and his son's destinies to an extent.
- John Winchester's blood type is AB (It is unknown whether he is AB+ or AB-, but statistically there's a higher chance of him being AB+ according to redcrossblood.org)
- John Winchester was awarded four medals from his military career
- USMC Expert Rifle Badge (Highest score of qualification for the USMC with his service rifle, which at the time was most likely an M16A1)
- The Bronze Star (Acts of heroism, merit, or meritorious service in a combat zone)
- The Purple Heart (Wounded in action)
- Vietnam Service Medal. (Served for, or more than, 30 consecutive/60 non-consecutive days deployed during the Vietnam War)
- John once worked with a hunter named Tara who it was indicated he had a sexual relationship with. Apparently he promised to call her and never did. She didn't seem to harbor any or at least much resentment about this and when Dean told her he was one of John's sons, she asked if he was Sam or Dean, showing that John had apparently talked to her about them.
- John apparently kept files on at least some of his cases in his lock-up. How many case files there are is unknown, but he at least has one filing cabinet full of them.
- While working with Tara, they captured, interrogated and exorcised a demon who had knowledge of the First Blade. While it started an obsession in Tara looking for the First Blade, John didn't believe in it and never recorded any information on the hunt besides the basics that he interrogated and exorcised the demon with Tara's help and that it mentioned the First Blade. He didn't include the information the demon gave on the Knights of Hell either, possibly as they were all believed to be dead. However, unknown to him, the Blade was real and would later become an object that Dean would later search for with the help of Crowley and Tara, using the information John gathered as a starting point.