Dean Winchester is a fictional character and one of the two protagonists of The CW Television Network’s Supernatural, which began airing in 2005. He is mainly portrayed by Jensen Ackles, with other versions of the character having been portrayed by Hunter Brochu (toddler), Ridge Canipe (child), Nicolai Lawton-Giustra (pre-teen), Brock Kelly and Dylan Everett (teen), and Chad Everett (elderly). Dean hunts demons, spirits and other supernatural creatures with his younger brother Sam, occasionally their friend and father figure Bobby Singer and is recurrently assisted by his friend Castiel, an angel who joins them in season four.
Dean Winchester was created by Eric Kripke, creator and original showrunner of Supernatural, when he pitched a show to the WB about two brothers who investigate the supernatural. Dean’s name is a homage to Jack Kerouac’s road-trip novel On the Road, tying into Kripke’s concept for an Americana road-trip television series. It was originally intended for the brothers’ last name to be “Harrison” as a nod to actor Harrison Ford, as Kripke wanted Dean to have the “devil-may-care swagger of Han Solo”. However, there was a Sam Harrison living in Kansas, so the name had to be changed for legal reasons.
Combining his interest in the Winchester Mystery House and his desire to give the series the feel of “a modern-day Western”, Kripke settled on the surname of “Winchester”. Dean and his brother Sam are from Lawrence, Kansas, due to its closeness to Stull Cemetery, a location famous for its urban legends. Jensen Ackles, who portrays Dean Winchester, was originally asked to audition for the role of Sam, but preferred the character of Dean after reading the script.
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