Opinion | Destiel is canon yet fans are still upset
December 13, 2020
If you have ever watched Supernatural, you know who Dean Winchester and Castiel are. And if you have ever delved into the Supernatural fandom on Twitter or Tumblr, you have heard of the term “Destiel.” Destiel is the ship name for Dean and Castiel, meaning fans think they exhibit signs of liking each other and want them to be together. I must admit that after watching some of the fan-made videos, I started to ship them too.
Now, creators of the show and the actors themselves know about these fan ships and have even joked about them during bloopers, conventions and on social media. Misha Collins in particular, who plays Castiel, has a very active Twitter and often refers to Destiel.
Fans love that they’re aware of these ships because it gives them hope they could come true. Yet, most of them are well aware they may as well hope for pigs to fly — though I wouldn’t rule that out on a show like Supernatural.
It seems that fans might want to look in the sky for pigs because on Nov. 5 it finally happened. Destiel was made canon. In this episode, Castiel realizes only he can stop Billie, also known as Death, and prepares to die.
Recognizing this will be the last time he will talk to Dean, he confesses how much Dean has changed his life and that he loves him. He then promptly dies.
Not only is it upsetting to fans that Castiel dies right after confessing, but they’re upset because of Dean’s reaction — or lack thereof. While Castiel is confessing his love for him, Dean just sits there with a generic confused and upset expression.
His only response to Castiel’s declaration of love is “Don’t do this, Cas.” Fans’ reactions were along the lines of “What is that? It’s obviously not too late, just tell him you love him back!”
This entire plot line plays into Hollywood’s gay tragedy trope where gay characters either die or suffer in some other way. Supernatural finally brought Destiel to life and then had to immediately kill Castiel. They had also killed off a character named Charlie, a lesbian that was super nerdy, in season 10.
Other shows, such as Grey’s Anatomy and Stranger Things, play into this trope as well. For Grey’s Anatomy, one of the earliest and surprising couples of season five is Callie Torres and Arizona Robbins.
They go through many hardships and end up in a custody battle for their daughter, prompting Callie to move to New York with her girlfriend and their daughter. In season 16 of Grey’s Anatomy, Levi Schmitt and Nico Kim broke up after months of dating and Nico is left without anywhere to live and is miserable.
In Stranger Things, one of the main characters, Will Byers is implied to be gay as he is shown to be on the outside of his friends when they all start showing interest in girls and losing interest in their Dungeons & Dragons game sessions.
These are less intense, as they do not involve death like Supernatural does, but they still depict gay characters as suffering and unhappy. Not all gay characters are represented in this way, but I wish Hollywood would let the gays live and be happy more often.
Destiel could be seen as a win in terms of gay representation, even moreso since a large number of viewers are younger and could benefit from seeing protagonists that aren’t all straight. However, the sudden confession and then death of Castiel, as well as the depressive endings for a majority of these gay characters, ultimately portrays a negative connotation to being gay.
Marykate is a junior in Media.