In a show such as Supernatural where there are numerous running jokes, various monster types, and a catalog of characters so dense it could give the MCU a run for its money, it should come as no surprise that the show is full of references to pop culture. The meta nature of the show essentially guarantees that each episode will have at least one mention of a famous person, song, or movie. Sam was always labeled as the nerdy one of the Winchester brothers, but Dean is just as geeky as his brother is when it comes to entertainment and pop culture. Between the two brothers and the multitude of witty characters they met along the way, it almost seemed like the show competed with itself to include the most pop culture references possible.
Since Sam and Dean often had to pose as government agents or reporters to gain access to the crime scene they wanted to investigate, the Winchesters had to come up with a laundry list of aliases to use. One of the running gags in the show was that the brothers almost always picked out names that were in reference to someone or something. Their ability to use famous names, such as their frequent use of the names of Led Zeppelin band members, heavily relied on the hope that whoever they were trying to fool had little to no pop culture knowledge. It made for some hilarious moments in between the monster-hunting and world-saving that fans have come to love over the years. Without further ado, here are 20 of the best fake names Sam and Dean used in Supernatural.
Agents Hamill & Ford
The episode “Dead in the Water” is one of the earliest episodes of the show as it is the third episode of season one. It shows the boys on one of their first cases together after Sam lost Jess while they are looking for their missing father. The boys investigate something in the lake of a small town that is seemingly killing people, so they pose as members of the U.S. Wildlife Service to gain unrestricted access to the lake and the family members of the victims. In doing so, they introduce themselves as Agents Hamill and Ford, one of the show’s first of many Star Wars references. Hamill and Ford are of course in reference to actors Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, who played Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, respectively.
Agents Landis & Dante
In the season two episode titled “Heart”, Sam and Dean investigate a brutal death only to discover that the killer is a lycanthrope, which is a werewolf. Turns out, the woman they were protecting, Madison (Emmanuelle Vaugier), was actually the werewolf that was stalking the streets at night. This was particularly unfortunate for Sam as he and Madison had developed feelings for each other. Prior to all of this occurring, Dean had introduced him and Sam as Agents Landis and Dante, the directors of two famous werewolf movies from the ’80s. John Landis directed An American Werewolf in London, while Joe Dante directed The Howling
Agents Spears & Aguilera
By the time that season nine had rolled around, the rock star shtick that Dean always pulled when creating aliases for him and Sam was an expected part of the gig. Cas understood this too as he was fully committed to becoming a hunter and was living in the bunker with Sam and Dean by this point in the season. However, he did get a bit mixed up when it come to which musicians Dean typically chose to borrow a name from. When Sam and Dean arrive at the crime scene, they are addressed as Agents Spears and Aguilera by the cop there, thanks to Cas who had already informed the police of Sam and Dean’s presence. Dean was of course irritated by the reference to pop stars Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, to which Cas explained simply that he chose musician names just as Dean usually did.
When Dean is miraculously raised from Hell by Castiel, who Dean had not met yet, he obviously wanted to find his brother. After a trip to Bobby’s to let him know he was indeed back, the two set out to look for Sam who had essentially gone AWOL by then. Dean was always very in tune with his little brother, so he knew exactly how to find him and which alias he would be using. Bobby even questions how Dean knew Sam would use the name Wedge Antilles, the Star Wars pilot, but Dean simply knew his younger brother better than anyone.
Dean’s love of rock music is no secret to anyone around him, but occasionally, Sam was the one using the names of rock legends as his aliases. In season seven when he is looking for a childhood friend of his, the name on the fake credit card he uses is Lemmy Kilmister, the late lead singer of Motorhead. Three seasons later in season ten, Sam hands somebody a business card with just the name Lemmy Kilmister when he is hunting down demon Dean in the episode “Reichenbach”. Sometimes Dean’s love of music rubs off on his little brother.
Dean loves movies and music perhaps almost as much as he loves a good burger. He fused his love for movies and music in the tenth episode of season one in the episode “Asylum” when rescuing two teenagers from a haunted asylum. He states himself to be Nigel Tufnel, who is the lead singer of the fictional heavy metal band from Rob Reiner’s mockumentary This is Spinal Tap. Given Dean’s taste in music and his love for movies, it was a perfect opportunity for him to use a name that combines two of his favorite things.
Father Simmons and Father Frehley
The nods and references to classic rock and heavy metal legends started out quite early on in Supernatural. Season one had multiple rock references on its own, and in the episode “Nightmare”, Sam and Dean take the names of one of the most famous rock bands to hit the stage. When Sam’s premonitions start happening while he’s awake, the brothers investigate the unusual murders he predicted. The boys visit one of the victim’s family members disguised as priests. They refer to themselves as Father Simmons and Father Frehley, two members of the band KISS.
“Doctor” James Hetfield
Dean’s love of Metallica was established early on in Supernatural. He mentions them numerous times throughout the seasons, and one of the first instances is in the fourth episode of the first season, titled “Phantom Traveler”. Sam and Dean receive a phone call from a friend of the father’s inquiring about a strange recording on the black box of a crashed airplane. When investigating, Dean introduces himself as Dr. James Hetfield when on the phone with one of the airport staff. Hetfield is of course the lead singer of Metallica. Later on in the episode the brothers actually have to get on a plane, Dean listens to Metallica’s “Some Kind of Monster” to keep himself calm as he has a fear of flying. It may be from an extremely early episode of the series, but it is a memorable Dean moment.
Jerry Wanek and Robert Singer
“Phantom Traveler” had more than just Metallica references in the episode. When Sam and Dean boldly impersonate Homeland Security agents, they claim to be Agents Wanek and Singer. Jerry Wanek was one of the production designers on the show, and Robert Singer is none other than the executive producer of the Supernatural. This wasn’t the only time that Singer’s name was used, as Bobby’ Singer’s character name is literally an abbreviated version of the producer’s name. The name drops also serve as one of the earliest instances of meta references in the series.
Agents Smith & Smith
The 200th episode of Supernatural, titled “Fan Fiction”, is to be remembered for many reasons. From high school students dressed up as the main characters to Dean being offended that the teens are turning their lives into a musical, there are a lot of memorable moments in the episode. A more subtle nod in the episode is when Sam and Dean introduce themselves as FBI agents when they arrive to investigate the school. Dean claims they are agents Smith and Smith, no relation. Given the irony of the two brothers claiming to have no relation to each other makes for a funny scene on its own, it is even funnier when you realize it’s a Die Hard reference. It’s a nod to two FBI agents who introduce themselves in a similar monotone voice as Johnson and Johnson with no relation.
Greer & Ehart
Kansas’ song “Carry on My Wayward Son” quickly became the fan-proclaimed theme song for Supernatural as it often appeared in recaps of seasons prior and in season finales. In episode 20 of season 11, the boys face off against Amara when she releases a dark fog over a small town causing everyone to go mad. Sam and Dean refer to themselves as Agents Greer and Smith, a direct nod to two members of the band, Billy Greer and Phil Ehart. It was inevitable that the band would be referenced in the show, and the band was apparently supposed to appear in the series finale.
Clint Eastwood & Walker
In the season six episode called “Frontierland”, Cas sends Sam and Dean back in time to 1816 to collect the ashes of a phoenix. Dean is wildly excited to be sent back to the Old West as he is a huge fan of Westerns and cowboys. He excitedly purchases cowboy clothes for him and Sam to wear before Cas sends them back, which Sam of course refuses to wear. While in this old western town, Dean introduces himself as legendary actor Clint Eastwood because no one back then would have ever heard that name before. He introduces Sam as Walker, an obvious nod to the TV show Walker, Texas Ranger from the ’90s. It was already a funny moment on its own, but now in the three years since Supernatural has ended, and we have seen Jared Padalecki go on to star in the reboot of the show as Walker, it is even better.
Agents Tyler & Perry
“Yellow Fever” is without a doubt one of the funniest episodes in Supernatural history. This episode sees Dean stricken with a mysterious illness that frightens people to death. Dean is scared of absolutely everything in this episode, including a cat that jumps out of a locker, which provided one of the funniest scenes in the show. Before all of that happens and before Dean runs for his life from a killer chihuahua, the Winchester brothers do some digging into the illness first. They adopt the aliases Agents Tyler and Perry. Tyler references Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith, and Perry references Joe Perry, the band’s guitarist.
Agents Plant & Page
“Bedtime Stories” is an episode that is filled with mentions and depictions of classic children’s literature and fairy tales. A little girl who was trapped in a coma years before by her wicked stepmother sets off a series of murders that are all based on the fairy tales her father has been reading at her hospital bedside for years. It’s a great episode if you are into anything similar to the old Brothers Grimm stories, but it’s not the only media reference in the episode. Once again posing as FBI agents, Sam and Dean introduce themselves to the hospital staff as agents Plant and Page. Led Zeppelin is mentioned a plethora of times throughout the 15 years the show ran, and this was directly referencing the famous classic rock band’s singer and guitarist, respectively.
Agents Hicks & Ripley
From the moment they met Charlie (Felicia Day) back in season seven, she held a special place in Sam and Dean’s hearts. She and Dean made for a hilarious dynamic duo anytime she helped them solve a case, but they also brought some welcomed emotion into the show. In season eight, Charlie aids Sam in Dean as they attempt to track down a creature that has been liquefying its victims. In typical Supernatural fashion, Dean and Charlie pretend to be FBI agents when investigating. Dean introduces them as Agents Hicks and Ripley, as in Dwayne Hicks and Ellen Ripley from Aliens. It was a perfect duo to pick for their aliases as they are both huge fans of anything pop culture.
Agents Stark & Banner
The beginning of season nine premiered in the fall of 2013, right in the middle of the extreme hype surrounding the MCU. The second episode of this season premiered about a year and a half after the release of Marvel’s The Avengers, and the writers took full advantage of the fan frenzy that the movie instilled in movie fans. During an investigation, Dean informs a military officer that they are Agents Stark and Banner. This is obviously a direct reference to Tony Stark a.k.a Iron Man and Bruce Banner a.k.a The Hulk. It is a wonder that Sam and Dean didn’t attract the attention of the authorities more often with their blatant identity theft, but it is even more wondrous that the show was able to get away with using two of the MCU’s biggest character names.
Mr. Campbell and Mr. Raimi
Dean loves movies, and he may love referencing movies even more. In the season three episode “Long Distance Call”, the Winchester brothers hunt a creature that kills people by pretending to be their deceased loved ones. They head over to the local phone company to decipher where the calls are coming from, and in order to gain access to the phone logs, they pose as representatives of the phone company’s headquarters. They introduce themselves as Mr. Campbell and Mr. Raimi, a hilarious nod to Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi. Raimi and Campell are known for their frequent partnerships, starting with their infamous gory horror comedy The Evil Dead.
Agents Angus & Young
Season four, episode five of Supernatural called “Monster Movie” is one of the underappreciated episodes in the long-running show. The episode takes place around Halloween and sees the brothers face off against a shapeshifter with an obsession over old movies and a penchant for impersonating classic monsters such as Dracula. The episode is shot in black and white, which adds to the classic monster movie atmosphere the episode was going for. When arriving in town during Oktoberfest, Sam and Dean present themselves to one of the bartenders as Agents Angus and Young, a clear reference to the lead guitarist of AC/DC. Dean’s admiration for rock legends was present even way back in season four, but it actually wasn’t the only reference to pop culture in the episode. The shapeshifter refers to Jamie the bartender and Dean as Mina and Jonathan Harker, two prominent characters in Bram Stoker’s version of Dracula.
Dean Van Halen
In season four, Castiel sends Dean back to the early ’70s where he encounters his parents before they ever got married or had children. Dean finds his young father looking to purchase a car and ends up convincing him to buy the beloved ’67 Chevy Impala that would later become Dean’s most prized possession. While talking to John, he tells his dad that his name is Dean Van Halen, directly referencing the iconic ’80s rock band, Van Halen. This episode takes place in 1973, five years before Van Halen’s first album came out, making it one of the rare instances where Dean could not get caught in a lie.
Alex and Eddie Van Halen
The 11th episode of season five sees Sam and Dean trying and succeeding to get themselves admitted into a psychiatric hospital at the request of one of their hunter friends. The boys have a ridiculously easy time getting the doctor to believe that not only Sam needs to be there, but that both of them need to be there. They actually tell the doctor the truth about the apocalypse and Sam drinking demon blood, which of course immediately concerns the doctor. Dean also tells him that Sam’s name is Eddie Van Halen and that he is just his concerned brother Alex. Clearly, this is a direct nod to legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen and his talented drummer brother Alex. The brothers formed the massively popular Van Halen in the ’70s, a band that Dean is an established fan of.