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The Han Solo Connection: The Surprising Inspiration Behind Supernatural's Surname Change

By Ethan Young on January 4, 2023
The Han Solo Connection: The Surprising Inspiration Behind Supernatural's Surname Change

Before Sam and Dean Winchester became the formidable duo that conquered the Supernatural realm, they were almost named something completely different. That's right, the iconic surname that has become synonymous with saving people and hunting things was almost never a thing.

So, how did the Winchester brothers become the Winchesters? Let's dive into the mysterious history of Supernatural's central characters.

The Han Solo Connection

Created by Eric Kripke, the early iterations of The CW's Supernatural were vastly different from the show we know today. For starters, the characters were originally meant to be journalists, not monster-hunters. And the younger brother, Sam, was going to be called Sal. But perhaps the most significant alteration was the characters' surname. Initially, Sam and Dean were supposed to be called Sam and Dean Harrison, as a nod to Harrison Ford's beloved character Han Solo from the Star Wars franchise.

The Lawrence, Kansas Setting

At this point, the setting of Lawrence, Kansas had already been established and was crucial to the plot. The city is home to the infamous Stull Cemetery, which is believed to be one of the seven gates to hell. How's that for a supernatural backdrop? But alas, it was not meant to be. It turns out that a real-life Dean Harrison already lived in the state of Kansas. To avoid any legal issues down the line, network lawyers intervened and requested a change in surname. And thus, the Winchester brothers were born.

The Winchester Inspiration

So, what inspired the new surname? According to Kripke, the Winchester replacement was influenced by two sources: the famous 19th-century rifle and gun company and the Winchester Mystery House. The latter is a notoriously haunted tourist attraction in San Jose that was once owned by the Winchester family. Both sources have a distinctly American flair that perfectly fits the overall tone of Supernatural.

The Winchester Legacy

It's difficult to envision the brothers under a different title. The Winchester surname has become deeply ingrained in the fabric of Supernatural. Not only do characters within the show treat the name with respect or fear (depending on their alignment), but even casual fans of the show have likely heard of the Winchester brothers.

While paying homage to Han Solo is always a noble endeavor, the Winchester surname is a much more fitting choice for the characters. It brings to mind images of guns, which the brothers use on a regular basis, and also has ties to haunted houses, which they frequently encounter. The Winchester title adds a spooky atmosphere to the show without resorting to obvious surnames like Warren or Harker.

In the end, the decision to change the characters' surname was a stroke of genius. Sam and Dean Winchester have become household names, and their legacy as monster-hunters will live on for generations to come. Who knows where the Winchester brothers would be without their iconic surname? They may have remained a mere footnote in the annals of Supernatural history. But thanks to a timely surname change, they have become legends.

Before you leave, discover the surprising story of how Britney Spears turned out to be the hero of HIMYM.