“God is in the details” refers to the little things. It’s the tiny minutiae of detail that creates something beautiful. Whether it’s God, the devil, or the Winchesters in the details, the CW series Supernatural certainly proves that paying attention to the finer points yields striking results. Since the onset of the series in 2005, there’s been plenty of opportunity to showcase supernatural objects, texts, and weapons. And Chuck knows, no television series puts as much effort into the details as Supernatural.
The richness of this long-running series is a collaboration of the efforts of both cast and crew. The actors, directors, and writers generate a story, but it’s work of the production designer, set decorator, camera operator, make-up artist, costumer, visual and special effects supervisors, and property master that help create the compelling imagery we’ve come to expect from Supernatural.
Props play an important role on set. They are movable objects used on screen by actors, distinct from the scenery, costumes, or equipment. Well-crafted props enhance authenticity and add visual depth to the story. With props, form follows function, but it helps if it looks cool, too. Below are some of our favorite props from Supernatural.
The Green Cooler
Wherever the Winchesters go, so goes the Green Cooler. It speaks to the nature of their lives—transient, pragmatic, rugged, and adventurous. The GC is one of the only props from Supernatural to have its own Twitter account. When your life is one lengthy trip after another, a reliable cooler is essential. Useful for holding beer and decapitated heads alike, the Green Cooler also functions as a chair or footstool for the boys. The vintage Coleman cooler, along with the Impala, serves as the most practical of family heirlooms.
Carver Edlund books
The Supernatural Books are a series of novels based on the events of the Winchester brothers’ lives, written by Carver Edlund, aka Chuck Shurley. While investigating a haunting, Sam and Dean learn about the book series from a comic book shop owner who assumes they’re LARPing.
Clerk: “You’re asking questions like the building’s haunted. Like those guys from the books. What are they called? Uh … Supernatural. Two guys, use fake IDs with rock aliases, hunt down ghosts, demons, vampires.”
Dean: “You’re saying this is a book?”
Clerk: “Books. It was a series. Didn’t sell a lot of copies, though. Kind of had more of an underground cult following.”
These moments of metafiction are part of what makes Supernatural one of the most innovative shows on TV. The Supernatural Books make their debut in Season 4, and we see copies of the books throughout the series. The design of the books by the Supernatural art department is spot-on, like the romance novel-inspired cover of the Woman in White book.
In Season 10’s “Soul Survivor,” Crowley steals some angel grace to share with a frenemy in need. To capture the grace, he pulls out a small glass bottle with a skull cap. It’s like the fanciest Pez dispenser you’ve ever seen, but straight outta Hell. The Skull Vial was only used in this one scene, but it’s a good representation of the beautiful details that create the rich tapestry of Supernatural.
At the dawn of Creation, God described the nature of the creature He had made while His scribe, Metatron, engraved His words on tablets. The Angel, Demon, and Leviathan tablets appeared over several seasons. The Winchesters intercepted the Leviathan tablet in Season 7, while the Angel and Demon tablets were unearthed in Season 8. With the Word of God revealed, a prophet is awakened who is able to translate the Word. The black stone tablets are covered with impenetrable symbols. The tablets have the heft and authority needed to hold the Word of God, while being of a size conducive to transport and concealment. The Leviathan tablet remains missing and the angel tablet was destroyed, but the Demon tablet is currently at the Men of Letters bunker.
In “A Very Supernatural Christmas,” we learn the origin of the amulet that is believed to burn hot and bright in the presence of God when eight-year-old Sam gives it to Dean. The amulet comes up throughout the series and has been worn by Dean, hung on the Impala mirror, and appeared in unexpected places. It provides a way to show how the boys feel about each other without resorting to words. It’s symbolic of the bond between the brothers, but it also gives viewers an opportunity to manifest their fandom through some cool-looking jewelry. The Samulet is even more pervasive at Supernatural conventions than it is on the series.
When Eric Kripke was trying to decide on a model for Supernatural’s “third character,” his car-enthusiast neighbor suggested that a Chevy Impala has a big enough truck to store a body. Though Crowley and others have found themselves in Baby’s trunk, its more common use is as storage for the Winchesters’ weapons cache. From knives and guns to a grenade launcher, the weapons cache remains an important way to understand the Winchesters and their hunting lifestyle. They may have the Men of Letters’ bunker, but Baby will always be their home. And what hunter home isn’t complete without a set of weapons? Who needs a fancy secret room with sliding doors revealing cases of weapons when you can have a trunk full of metal and bullets? It still gives us a thrill every time Dean opens the trunk, even if he never gets to use the ninja stars.
The weapons themselves on Supernatural are great props. From the inscribed symbols on the demon-killing knife and the clean lines of angel blades to the primitive First Blade of Cain, the props department goes all out to make these weapons fitting and unique. They are no less skilled with guns, as evidenced by engraved slide and ivory grip of Dean’s Colt and the 1835 Colt created to kill almost anything.
Some of the objects are both significant and interesting to look at such as John’s journal and Bobby’s flask, while others are just fun, like the Winchesters’ many badges and Busty Asian Beauties magazines. Some of the others we’ve admired include the Book of the Damned, the rings of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the EMF detector, and the monkey from the bar in Dean’s head.
Even while saying goodbye to Supernatural in the series finale “Carry On,” some of the props that have helped make the series so memorable—John’s journal, the green cooler, and weapons cache of the Impala—made an appearance. Tell us about your favorite Supernatural props in the comments.