With 282 episodes on air so far, the genre-spanning show that follows brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester as they fight an ever-escalating series of monsters, demons and worse, is the longest-running sci-fi/fantasy series in the history of U.S. television. It's also one of the longest-running live-action TV series to continue with the same two co-stars at the helm, and Entertainment Weekly posits their chemistry is likely what has kept the show on air.
Padalecki and Ackles have played Sam and Dean for roughly a third of their lives, and are as much brothers off screen as on. They share the same four-year age gap as their fictional counterparts, live in the same town in Texas, and often bring their families together on days off. They even have a running prank war on set that includes fellow Supernatural regular Misha Collins, who plays the angel Castiel—Collins once realized at a panel that the pair had turned all of the clothes in his trailer inside out, and retaliated on another occasion by paying Padalecki in buckets of change after losing more than $1,000 to him in Words With Friends.
Although EW reported in 2016 that Ackles and Padalecki were originally looking at episode 300 as a potential series finale (despite that fact that it would fall in mid-season), Ackles walked back on the statement in a later Variety interview.
"Jared and I talked and we're going to just keep going," Ackles told Variety. "He and I, we talk about getting to episode 300 and that's just another milestone... and then when we get there, we'll keep going and see what the next milestone is."
When the season 14 renewal was announced, Padalecki shared the news with fans on Instagram the same day, ending his post with the #WinchesterForever hashtag—a tag that recalls both the show's comeback-kid nature and his own Always Keep Fighting campaign, which sells Supernatural-themed merchandise to raise money for charities that battle suicide and depression.
The last few installments of Season 13 are currently airing Thursday nights on The CW, and an all-female spinoff called Wayward Sisters is planned to kick off later this year.