|Relationships:||Older brother of Sam Winchester, older half brother of Adam Milligan-Winchester, son of Mary and John Winchester|
|Other:|| Played by the actor Jensen Ackles as an adult, by Ridge Canipe as a child, by Brock Kelly and Dylan Everett as a teen, and by Chad Everett as an elderly man.|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Dean and his younger brother, Sam, hunt demons, werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural creatures across the United States. Their best friend Castiel also helps sometimes. They are frequently in conflict with the forces of Heaven and Hell, sometimes aided by their frenemy Crowley.
Dean has been described as confident, brash, crude, protective, brave, emotional, sensitive, adventurous, obedient, loyal and witty.
Canon Character Arc
Eric Kripke has said that he modeled Dean off of Star Wars character Han Solo. In seasons one and two, Dean's character arc involved reuniting with his younger brother Sam, their search for their missing father, and their ongoing hunt for the demon that killed their mother and Sam's girlfriend. Dean's motivation in the first two seasons is to protect Sam and to make sure that he doesn't succumb to darkness and Azazel's plans.
Dean's devotion to his family is showcased, including his guilt over his father, who sold his soul so Dean would live. At the end of season two, Sam dies unexpectedly, and Dean decides that he is unable to live without Sam and sells his own soul to a crossroads demon to bring Sam back to life. At the end of season three, Dean dies and goes to Hell as stipulated in the deal. The angel Castiel resurrects him in season four, and he angsts about having spent part of his time in Hell torturing other souls and enjoying it.
Seasons four and five show the breakdown of and attempted repairs to Dean's relationship with Sam. Dean resents his role in the grand master plan for the world. It is discovered in season five that Dean is meant to be the vessel for archangel Michael in order to defeat (or kill) Sam, who is the destined vessel for Lucifer. Dean and Sam's relationship parallel's Michael and Lucifer; like Dean, Michael is the dutiful older brother. Because Dean refuses to be a vessel, Michael uses Dean's younger half-brother, Adam, instead. At the end of season five when Sam jumps into the pit dragging Michael/Adam in with him and sacrifices himself to save the world, Dean lives a normal life with Lisa and Ben for a year (until Sam returns in season six).
In the subsequent seasons there is often a focus on Dean and Sam, often with the help of Castiel, trying to save each other and the world from various treats. Some of these threats include Leviathans, Purgatory, Abaddon, the Mark of Cain, the Darkness, the British Men of Letters, the return of Lucifer, alt!Micheal and God himself.
In Fanon and Fanworks
Common Tropes in Fanworks
- Woobie: Dean is frequently noted for crying prettily, including often shedding a single perfect tear, as evidenced in several picspams. He is often the ultimate woobie in the majority of Supernatural fanworks, and in reviews of especially woobie-riffic fic, he may be referred to as D:ean (sadface Dean).
- Sam: Many Supernatural fanfic writers write gen stories with a strong focus on the close, intense, emotional brotherly (but non-sexual/non-romantic) relationship between Sam and Dean.
- Hurt/Comfort: fics seem to be split pretty evenly between Dean providing comfort or Dean being hurt, when Dean is being hurt he is often comforted by either Castiel or Sam.
- Protective Dean Winchester: featuring Dean being protective of others, usually Sam or Castiel, but also occasionally other friends, this might also be a way for writers to highlight that Dean is caring or worried without directly stating those emotions
- Bottom Dean: In regards to top/bottom dynamics (mainly regarding anal sex) within most Supernatural fanfic, Dean is generally portrayed as the bottom/uke, including in both slash and het fic. In Wincest fanfic, the majority of fics and fanfic writers frequently portray Dean as the bottom/submissive/gentle partner and Sam as the top/dominant/aggressive partner. There are many different reasons as to why Dean is frequently portrayed as the submissive/bottom in the overwhelming majority of Supernatural fanfic, but some of the reasons for this could include Dean being given the established role of nurturer, protector and caretaker of people (mostly of Sam since childhood), being the obedient, loyal son who followed his father's orders, Dean frequently shown to be emotionally sensitive, vulnerable and fragile and his submissive, gentle sexual style/canon sex scenes on the show with women, at least in the early seasons.
- Evil!Dean: fanworks focused on a dark version of Dean have him becoming evil in a variety of ways, he becomes back from his 4 months in Hell as evil, he is coerced by, or simply changed by his loyalty to, Evil!Sam, Dean is corrupted by the Mark of Cain, an alternative universe where Dean is evil, or Dean just gets worn down by his life and chooses a darker path.
- Demon!Dean: early fanworks featuring Dean as a demon focused on him coming back from his season 3 stint in Hell as a demon, or him being coerced by or changed into a demon by Devil!Sam. Demon fics grew exponentially when Dean was actually turned into a demon for a short time at the end of season 9/beginning of season 10, also, because we only saw a small part of Dean's months as a demon, writers will explore what his time as a demon may have been like
- Purgatory: Dean spent a year in purgatory, but only a few snippets of that period were shown in canon, fans will delve into what his time there might have been like
- Drinking: exploring Dean's excessive drinking, his drinking to cope with trauma, as well as what some fans think is his possible alcoholism
- Mundane AU: focusing on Dean's day to day when he is not hunting
- No Supernatural: this may focus on Dean being retired and no longer a hunter, for personal reasons or because all supernatural elements, like monsters, are gone from the earth. Another possibility is fans exploring what Dean's life would have been like if the supernatural had never existed
- Wings: giving Dean wings, commonly found in fanart
- Crossovers: crossover fics are quite common, especially with other fantasy/sci-fi fandoms. Some of the more popular crossover fandoms include, Teen Wolf, where Dean usually takes the role of a hunter against the werewolves, and some combination of Doctor Who, Sherlock or Doctor Who/Sherlock, usually where Dean meets The Doctor or Sherlock and John Watson. Some of Dean's common crossover pairings are Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Elena Gilbert from The Vampire Diaries.
Dean's most frequent and popular slash pairings in fanworks are Sam/Dean (Wincest) and Dean/Castiel (Destiel). Dean/Castiel first appeared in fanworks after the angel Castiel was introduced in season 4, and later became a series regular, and has gone on to become a fandom juggernaut. Other smaller, but common, slash pairings for Dean include, Dean/Benny, Dean/Crowley, and the poly pairing of Castiel/Dean/Sam.
Dean is also paired with the Impala (see the Dean Winchester/Impala pairing page), both in circumstances where Sam was possessing the Impala, and where the car was just the car. Sometimes Dean is paired with both Sam and the Impala. 
Dean is featured in het fic, with the most frequent pairings consisting of Dean/Jo and Dean/Lisa, and some of his rarer pairings being Abaddon/Dean and Donna/Dean. Readerfic and the pairing of Dean with Original Female Characters is also fairly common.
Bisexual Dean Winchester
There are many fans who headcanon that Dean Winchester is bisexual, while others view him as a heterosexual character. Discussion about Dean's sexuality, and canon evidence for and against these headcanons (and others) have been around since the early seasons of the show. More recently the debate about Dean Winchester's sexuality has lead to accusations of queerbaiting, and questions about whether shipping fans have unrealistic expectations, or are unfairly denigrated for pointing out the queer subtext.
I saw a video of a girl at a convention who was super sweet and she asked Jensen something about if he thought Dean might be bisexual and people actually booed her and Jensen refused to comment on the topic and I heard that she actually left the panel because she was so hurt and upset. That’s not ok. I understand that a lot of people don’t ship Destiel, I happen to be one of them, but no one can deny that the writers of this show have written so many scenes where it makes it look like Dean and Cas have a relationship that could likely have romantic feelings. [...] I couldn’t care less whether someone ships it or not, but no one in this fandom should ever be made to feel like their less of a person or beneath anyone else for where they want these amazing characters to end up.
I seriously don't think Dean is bi in canon. It's been refuted more times than officially confirmed by either text or the staff themselves. That being said, write all the fic you want! Make all the lovely fanart! (I've done it myself!) Unfortunately, there has been a very vocal part of fandom that has jumped on TPTB about "queerbaiting" (that ill-fated #AskSupernatural fiasco, anyone?), and THAT in part is what has left a stain on the fans who tend to be more flow about their fandom behavior. You can read Dean as bi if you wish, but demanding that he be actualized concretely on the show is what tends to get fandom in a tiz.
- Fans take Supernatural to task for 'Queer Baiting' article on advocate.com, detailing the #AskSupernatural fiasco, July 2014.
- ‘Supernatural’s Scariest Monster: Bisexual Erasure' by Hannah Johnson, article on Bitch Flicks, posted September 2016.
- Why Dean Winchester’s Bisexuality Matters by Marty Stu in Culture, TV & Movies, on fanslashfic.com, posted September 2016.
- Dean Winchester is the Bisexual Hero Supernatural Deserves by Mary Sue in Culture, TV & Movies, on fanslashfic.com, posted August 2018.
- And All the World Beneath by Seperis
- Don’t They Look in Peace (Sometimes I Wish That Was Me) by HunterPeverell
- Lost & Found by LoveThemWinchesters
- Not As We by tru_faith_lost
- If this is an emergency... by PlaidIsTheBestPattern
- Highway Chile by art-savage
- The Good Fight by honeylocusttree
- Feeling Good by kunju
- Broken (Dean) by Luminosity (streaming versions at Critical Commons)
- Dean & John - Because of You by MissStabler
- Dean Winchester: Ex's and Oh's by Roarkshop
- The one who always go out and blaze a glory style(Dean Winchester) by chaotic aRina
- Dean Winchester - Gettin Bi by AngelDove
- Dean Winchester - I'll be good by AngelDove
- Dean Winchester - My Demons (Video/Song request) by AngelDove
- I'm past saving/Dean Winchester by Amelia
- i bring the fire - dean winchester by sparksfly221
- dean winchester ; me too by salindore
- - Dean Winchester || one look & you're mine by surrealistic
- Protect and Survive, May 2006 essay on Dean Winchester by marinarusalka at Idol Reflection
- It is Easier to Build Strong Children than to Repair Broken Men: Dean Winchester and Early Years Education (Archived Link), by LookAtTheseFreakingHipsters (2013)
- The Subversion of Dean’s Masculinity, Archived version by defilerwyrm (2013)
Cover art, by sarahtoga, for the fic Debts and Promises, created for the 2008 Supernatural and J-Squared Big Bang Challenge!
Eat It Twilight!! a well known art piece by Petite madame
Hush by tiny_antares (Elicia Donze), created as part of the SPN ReverseBang 2013, inspiring the fic Not To Conquer, this piece also featuring the trope of Dean with wings
But I Flew Too High by glassclosetcas created for the SPN ReverseBang 2015, once again showing Dean with wings
Archives and External Links
- Dean Winchester works on AO3
- Dean Winchester works on ff.net
- DeanDamage an archive focused on Dean whump stories
- Dean-fic, a Livejournal community
- Dark!Dean, a LiveJournal community
- Supernatural Fic on Delicious tagged with Dean (defunct)
- Dean Winchester page at the Supernatural Wiki
- Dean Winchester at Fandom.com Supernatural Wiki
- Best of Dean Winchester Quotes collection of certainly funny and amazingly inspiring quotes.
- TV Trope A Single Tear
- Such as Dean crying Picspam! by moondropz 12 November 2009, (Accessed 25 April 2011) and 20 Favourite Dean Winchester Faces by bellanut, 12 December 2007, (Accessed 25 April 2011).
- Works tagged Impala/Dean Winchester at AO3.
- Works tagged Impala/Dean Winchester/Sam Winchester at AO3.
- Comment by Akayes on fangasmthebook.com article, April 2014.
- Comment by reddit user sulphurcocktail, September 2016.