|Occupation:||Angel of the Lord|
|Relationships:||Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, Anna Milton, Uriel, Balthazar, Crowley, Jack Kline|
|Other:|| played by the actor Misha Collins|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Castiel is a recurring character on Supernatural. He is an angel who first appears on Earth inside a human vessel called Jimmy Novak during the first episode of the fourth season. He is played by Misha Collins.
He is one of a group of angels who attack Hell in order to rescue Dean Winchester, a man who had sold his soul to bring his brother Sam Winchester back to life. Among all the angels, Castiel is the one who manages to reach Dean and rescue him, setting the stage for a deep and permanent bond between the two characters that is reflected throughout fan fiction and vids. In the final season it is confirmed that Castiel is in love with Dean.
"I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition." ~ Castiel to Dean Winchester in Episode 4x01 Lazarus Rising
Castiel is one of a group of angels who arrive on Earth to stop the Apocalypse. He becomes friends with the Winchesters. After he discovers that his superiors are secretly maneuvering to start the Apocalypse, he breaks allegiance with Heaven to side with humanity (Sam and Dean Winchester) and is stripped of his heavenly powers (temporarily, because this is Supernatural). Neither he nor the Winchesters are successful, and Lucifer is freed. In season five Castiel tries to find God to help with the Apocalypse, but is demoralized when he finds out God doesn't want to help. He rallies and works side by side with the Winchesters in an effort to stop the the battle between Michael and Lucifer.
At the end of season five he is murdered and almost immediately resurrected. During season six he takes on a leadership role in Heaven and makes a series of ethically bad decisions. In season seven he initially goes on a killing spree while mad with power, lets the leviathan out, dies, reappears with amnesia, gets his memory back, spends time in a mental institute, helps the Winchesters save the day, and gets trapped in Purgatory with Dean. In season eight he is still harboring guilt from his actions in seasons six and seven.
In season 9 Castiel is human for a time. In season 11, with his grace restored, Castiel agrees to be Lucifer's vessel in an effort to fight the Darkness. In season 12, Lucifer has returned to his former vessel and Castiel ends up protecting Kelly Kline, a human woman pregnant with Lucifer's child. Castiel dies in an effort to banish Lucifer.
In season 13, Lucifer's son Jack Kline views Castiel as his father, and resurrects the angel. Castiel later travels to Apocolypse World to rescue Jack.
In season 15, Castiel sacrifices his life to save Dean, right after confessing his romantic love for the hunter. He is revived by Jack at some point offscreen and is helping him to rebuild Heaven.
In Fanon and Fanworks
Castiel's introduction caused massive waves in the fandom, and he gained popularity rapidly. Within hours of his debut, at least two Castiel-related LiveJournal communities were created (deancastiel and spn_castiel), and people began posting fic about him. Check out the excited comments in the first spn_castiel post: Welcome!: spn_castiel, Archived version
Castiel represented a drastic change in the mythos of the show, which did not feature angels in the early seasons, and in his first scene had an intense moment with Dean Winchester. He inspired many fan writers, including a large subset of slash writers (and vidders and fanartists) who had not been comfortable creating fanworks for the extant juggernaut pairings for the fandom: an RPF pairing (J2) or an incestuous one (Sam/Dean). Some people also found him attractive.
Common Tropes in Fanworks
- Human Castiel: Some fics deal with how Castiel would react to losing his grace and becoming fully human, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and whether there would be physical or psychological side effects to his falling. Or focusing on the times in canon when Castiel was made human. Cas was sometime referred to as Steve!Cas when he was human, because that was the name he adopted in season 9.
- Last Name: in non-supernatural AUs Castiel often has to be given a last name, popular name choices are Novak, the same last name as his vessel Jimmy, and Milton, the last name of his sister angel Anna, it is also not uncommon for Cas to be given a last name that somehow plays on the word angel
- Asexual: Castiel is also often portrayed as asexual, as he canonically doesn't show much interest in sex.
- High School AU: Cas most often plays the role of the socially awkward nerd, often in combination with jock!Dean. Furthermore, he's often written to have grown up in a conservative and religious family, with other angels being his siblings, most often Michael, Lucifer, Gabriel and Anna.
- Castiel's Vessel Jimmy: In AUs, Castiel is often given the last name Novak, in reference to his vessel Jimmy Novak. cupidsbow noted that "in the early days of slashing Dean and Castiel, fandom quickly developed fanon that had Jimmy's soul was dead in Heaven due to one of Castiel's many smitings, and Castiel alone in the vessel." This has since become canon, largely because it's the only somewhat ethical solution to the Vessel Problem, with regards to Castiel anyway."
- Wingfic: Given Castiel is an angel, there is a considerable amount of wingfic works featuring him, fanon often had his wings being grey or black in fanworks, but after the events of season 15 it became popular to illustrate Cas with rainbow wings. Trueform Castiel works imagine what his angelic form looks like, and often features multiple heads and animal features as well as wings.
- Hurt/Comfort: in the majority of fanworks Castiel is providing comfort, although there is a small subset of Hurt Castiel fics, usually when Cas is weak or been turned human
- Castiel in the Bunker: when the bunker was first introduced Castiel did not spend time there, and at one point was purposefully excluded by Dean, so writers wrote canon divergent AUs where Cas had a home in the bunker, especially when he was turned human and was homeless for a time. Since that point the use of the tag has expanded to be used for fics where Cas spends the majoirty of the story in the bunker
- Parent Castiel: in the later seasons it became more common to explore Castiel's role as a parental figure, often with either Claire Novak or Jack Kline, his adopted son in canon
- Crossovers: usually with other fantasy/sci-fi fandoms, specially if those canons include supernatural elements, like angels and demons
- Aside from Human!Cas, there have been many other times in canon where Cas has been different, that fans like to expand upon, these include:
- Endverse Cas or Future!Cas: Cas from the Endverse, who was human, used drugs and partipated in orgies. Fanworks often explore his decent from angel to uninhibited human, and his possible addictions to drugs and sex
- Claire!Cas or Clairestiel: Castiel possessing Claire Novak
- Godstiel: when Cas became God for a short period of time. Fic usually expands his time as God, and explores if/how he uses his powers to control and manipulate other characters
- Emmanuel!Cas: Cas from season 7, who had lost his memories and thought his name was Emmanuel. Sometimes in fanworks Emmanuel is treated as a completely separate person, even though Cas and Emmanuel are one and the same. More often, fic focuses on Cas slowly regaining his memories and dealing with the consequences of his previous actions, such as releasing the Leviathans
- Casifer: when Cas was possessed by Luicfer
Castiel's most frequent and most popular pairing is with Dean (Destiel), fanworks about the pairing began immediately after Castiel's introduction in season 4, and it has gone on to become a fandom juggernaut, the ship went partially canon in season 15 after Castiel confessed his love for Dean before his death. Of his smaller slash pairings the most common is with Sam (Sassy), or a poly OT3 with both Winchester brothers (Wincestiel). Some of his more minor slash pairings are with his angelic siblings, the most significant being with Balthazar (Calthazar), Gabriel (Cabriel) and Lucifer (Casifer), or with the demon Crowley (Crowstiel).
Castiel is featured in het fic, with his most popular pairing being with the demon Meg (Megstiel), with whom he had a close canonical relationship. Some of his rarer het pairings are with his sister angels, Anna (Casanna) or Hannah (Hanstiel), although Hannah occupied both a female and a male vessel, so it could be considered het or slash depending on the context. Readerfic and the pairing of Castiel with Original Female Characters can also be found.
Castiel has a canon nickname that was adopted by fans for use in fanfic. However, in fanfic, the nickname is spelled "Cas", whereas it turned out that the show's writers and the closed captions were spelling his nickname as "Cass". According to Super-Wiki, fans rejected this canon. A search on Archive of Our Own confirms the standard fanfic spelling as "Cas"; the word "Cas" appears in 60,958 works tagged Supernatural, and the word "Cass" appears in only 501 works.
Some fans were very unhappy with how Castiel's love confession, and the wrap up of his character arc, was handled in season 15, see Destielgate for further details
- The Inexhaustible Silence of Houses by steeplechasers. (October 2012)
- Gloria series by unoshot
- The Gospel of the Winchesters by allthebeautifulthings9828
- by your ancient names by mishcollin
- Djinn in a Bottle by HazelDomain
- The man who would be king by ToruFinalFantasy.
- The unforgiven by skoobie 79.
- Castiel - On my Own by AngelDove
- • Castiel deserves better • by YouHavePossibilities
- Castiel ► I'll Be Good by Ancaria
- Castiel||(not so) wonderful world by voordeel
- When I Ruled the World // Castiel by Liisakee
- Castiel - You're Broken by zaynab;
- Castiel || Thou shalt not kill by Soledad
- Castiel | Angel of the Lord by Marie S
- SPN Castiel Meta: Thinky Thoughts Gone Wild by dodger-winslow (October 2008); archive link
- Angel Dancing -- meta on the final scene of episode 4.16: On the Head of a Pin by karenmiller (March 2009); archive link
- A Boy and his Angel . . . by karenmiller (May 2009); archive link
- Spedding, Amanda. 2009. Castiel: An Angel in the Trenches. Innsmouth Free Press, September 9; archive link
- Where Do Castiel's Loyalties Lie? by darksilvercat (October 2009); archive link
- some niggling questions about angels in Supernatural, and Castiel in particular by schmevil (October 2009); archive link
- Dicks with Wings (Castiel character meta) by sistermagpie (October 2009); archive link
- The Evolution of Castiel's Humanity by missyjack (January 2010); archive link
- The darkest hour by saucery (May 2011); archive link
- TPTB deal with Castiel as a weapon...Fans have accepted him as a beloved character (Untitled) by yeswecas, heart4hawkeye, quillswift (October 2011); archive link
- “If the pizza man truly loves this babysitter, why does he keep slapping her rear?” It’s a lulzy joke, but the more I think about it, the sweeter it is… by neraiutsuze (September 2011); archive link
- Thoughts on Cas at the end of S6 by morganlucas41 (March 2012); archive link
- Supernatural’s depiction of Castiel’s mental health condition in Reading is Fundamental by ihavealittlefeminism (May 2012); archive link
- castiel and the symbolism of the bee [July 2012 by jimmynovaks (July 2012); archive link
- On Castiel, Identity and Metrical Analysis by lifeinabox66 (November 2012); archive link
- untitled commentary on cas and television and wavelengths/light by novakian, flutiebear, foolmetwice (n.d.); archive link
- Castiel vs. the Idiot Box by martivist (November 2012); archive link
- an eternal tuesday afternoon: the symbolism of Castiel’s favored heaven by outpastthemoat (January 2013); archive link
- Characterizing Narrative: Thoughts on Castiel by rootsunknown (January 2013); archive link
- “In the Beginning He Was Really Splendid" -- Castiel as Toy by subjecttochange8 (February 2013); archive link
- Second Star to the Right, and Straight on Till Endgame: Castiel as Peter Pan, and What That Means for His Fall by sarasarai (April 2013); archive link
- Ayres, Bran Lindy. 2013. I'll See Your Agenda and Raise You an Angel. Bran Lindy Ayres, May 15; archive link
- The Path To Becoming Human by daughter-of-a-badass (June 2013); archive link
- Proportion: How your eyes trick you into thinking Cas is shorter and thinner than he actually is by mischeviousart (July 2013); archive link
- Demonstration Angel by bardicvoice (July 2013); archive link
- An Asexual Interpretation of Castiel by bookkbaby (August 2013); archive link
- Why I Think Cas Shouldn’t Be Canonically Straight: and No, it’s Not Because of Destiel by poedamyron (August 2013); archive link
- On Castiel's recurring symbolic connection to water by whatwouldcaptainamericado (August 2013); archive link
- A categorical refutation of Cas being a "tool" by pocketsized-prophet (September 2013); archive link
- "Follow the Stream" -- Cas and Water Since Season 6 by subjecttochange8 (October 2013); archive link
- In which the Winchesters are humanist messiahs and Castiel is worth more than many sparrows by susurrantpetrichor (October 2013); archive link
- An attempt at a neuroscientific examination of Castiel’s human experience and why it changed him by feandra (January 2014); archive link
- Castiel as the reluctant messiah by beespatellas [thussaithcastiel] (February 2014); archive link
- The Route of Flowers: Symbolism and Castiel by thevioletcaptain (March 2014); archive link
- Dot R. 2014. “I’m Nothing”: Castiel in Supernatural 9×14, and His Road So Far. The Geekiary, March 4; archive link
- Untitled meta on BAMF!Cas in 4.20 by cuddleslutloki (April 2014); archive link
- symbolism of cas breaking televisions (untitled) by venusdebotticelli (September 2014); archive link
- Cas’ Trench Coat Meta by floatingaboveclouds (October 2014); archive link
- A lot of fish, fishing poles, bait, and talk of fishing so far this season (Untitled) by larinah (November 2014); archive link
- On Castiel and gas stations (Untitled) by dancing-phoenix (November 2014); archive link
- Nautical References in 10.09 by iwatchthepie, neven-ebrez (December 2014); archive link
- No Will and No More Madness by mrsbluebertgreggleson f/ oranges8hands (January 2015); archive link
- The fish who wants to fly by angelswatchingover (May 2015); archive link
- Untitled commentary on Azazel and Castiel, both showing up and turning the Winchesters’ and the Novaks’ families upside down by postmodernmulticoloredcloak (September 2015); archive link
- tl;dr: The idea of Cas watching The Wire makes me deeply sad by iwatchthepie (November 2015); archive link
- untitled commentary on cas, depression, and television 11.06 by castielslight, compassionatedragon (November 2015); archive link
- I think that Cas + television in general is a good thematic indication of his depression, tbh (Untitled) by persephoneshadow, deathbycoldopen (April 2016); archive link
- untitled commentary on parallels between 7.03 and 11.06 by callmebiless, neraiutsuze, cloudatlascas (August 2016); archive link
- Cas' Symbolic Association with Fish in s12 by winchester-reloaded, mittensmorgul (February 2017); archive link
- A fish out of water - not necessarily a bad thing by postmodernmulticoloredcloak (February 2017); archive link
- Castiel’s Sexuality by gneisscastiel (January 2018); archive link
- Cas pops into Scooby world and immediately examines his hands, turning them over... by nox-lee (March 2018); archive link
- Cas and his shadow by amwritingmeta (December 2018); archive link
- (SPN) Castiel: Angel or Man? by Annelie Widholm (February 2020; originally posted March 2018); archive link
- Untitled Meta on Castiel + Free Will in 15.12 by norahastuff; mittensmorgul (March 2020); archive link
- Funny thing about her plan though. She didn't say anything about needing you by norahastuff, neven-ebrez (March 2020); archive link
Cloudwalking by cue (arty-mis), created for CastielFest (2010)
Communities and Archives
- Works featuring Castiel on Archive of Our Own.
- spn_castiel, a Livejournal fanwork community about Castiel.
- Thingstiel, a community for the appreciation of the many different "true forms" of multi-dimensional wavelengths of celestial or demonic intent.
- Uriel/& Castiel community on LJ.
- Fans of Castiel on Twitter.
- #Castiel-Club on DeviantArt.
- Castiel tag on Pixiv.
- Castiel tag on Tumblr.
Resources and External Links
- Castiel character page at Supernatural Wiki (canon resource)
- Castiel at Fandom.com Supernatural Wiki
- 20 September 2008 comments on spn_castiel: "UNGH, HE'S SO HOT." "GUH!!!!!!!!!" "TOUCH ME, ANGEL." 4.04 episode stills, Archived version (accessed 16 October 2018)
- end notes, the fruit of a righteous man - cupidsbow - Supernatural, Archived version, AO3, 2016-02-01.
- Cas - Super-wiki, Archived version, accessed on 17 November 2018.
- Works search on AO3, 17 November 2018. Enter "Supernatural" in the fandom field and "Cas" or "Cass" in the "any field" field.