Angel Wings Part 1
The size and design of angel wings has changed several times throughout Supernatural’s 13 seasons. Most of the time these are mainly changes to the wing shadows which can easily be explained by shadows always being slightly distorted. Many things can distort the look of the wing shadows, the distance the angel is from a wall, the source of the light making the shadow, and the fact that angel’s never stand in front of a flat surface when displaying their wings. Another way that I rationalize the differences in the sizes and shapes of angel wings is that the angels are all unique individuals so it would make sense that they would come in all sorts of sizes like people.
One thing i have had trouble understanding is the anatomy of angel wings. In particular Castiel’s wings as seen in 12x23 and 13x01. This is what the bone structure looks like to me but that doesn’t really match up to the shape of the angel wing skeletons we have seen before. 12.23 suggested a similar shape to the shape seen in 13.01 but it’s really hard to see.
Here are Castiel’s wings from 10.18. Besides some differences in size they seem to look exactly the same as Gadreel’s damaged wings in 9x02, and Benjamin’s and Ishim’s damaged wings in 12.10.
So why do Castiel’s wings look so different in 12x23 and 13x01? What is exactly is going on with the bone structure of angel wings on Supernatural? This has been bothering me since May and I have a theory but it is in no way perfect. One thing to note is usually angel wing prints are painted but in 12x23, and 13x01 Cas is laying on top of sand. I think that is why the wings were added to the footage later so someone wouldn’t have to try to paint something on top of the sand. I think whoever added the wings in just happened to make them a little different, but lets give them the benefit of the doubt and try to figure this out.
This is the anatomy of a bird’s wing it is very similar to our arm. The previously seen damaged wings where we can clearly see the bones (including Castiel’s wings in 10x18) seem to match this bone structure.
Castiel’s wings in 13x01 do not match.
This has lead me to wonder if the first joint we see closest to Castiel’s body is a second shoulder. This would actually explain a lot of the anatomical problems with angel’s wings such as how high they can raise them and their shape. Which shouldn’t be possible if angel wings were exactly like a birds wings. @trisscar368 Came to a very similar conclusion except that I don’t think the bone, between Castiel’s body and his humerus, is a scapula. I think it’s a coracoid. The coracoid plays a very important role in bird flight because it attaches a bird’s wings to their sternum. Similarly I am wondering if this is the bone that connects an angel’s vessel to their wings.
So if angels have a second “shoulder” just to operate their wings this would explain why Castiel doesn’t have to move when he shows off his wing shadows, why angels can raise their wings so far up when extended which would be impossible for a bird to do, and some strange things about the shape of angel wings. But how does this theory fit with what we have seen of angel wing bone structure before? It actually fits very nicely with Gadreel’s wings because you can actually see this second shoulder just behind Sam’s shoulder.
This implies that most of the time it’s hidden behind the angel’s vessel and we only see it here because of the angle. Also there is a lot about Castiel’s wings in 10.18 that suggests we may not be seeing everything. Shadows are very easy to distort which makes them pretty unreliable when trying to get a picture of anything. I made a trace of Castiel’s bone structure as seen in 10x18 and superimposed it on a scaled picture of Castiel’s wing shadows from 8x07
It didn’t really match up.
But if you think about it according to what we see in 13x01 as far as bone structure. The shape of wing shadows actually matches up a lot better.
I think part of the differences can be explained by the angel’s with damaged wings not fully bringing their wings all the way up. Maybe the fact that there is exposed bone makes this movement impossible. Also if the coracoid attaches an angel’s wings to their vessel maybe it isn’t always visible when an angel dies. I am wondering if this is the bridge between a vessel and an angel’s trueform, that the reason we didn’t see it before is because those angels like Ishim and Benjamin were not alone in their vessels. The reason the coracoid shows up on Castiel’s wings in 13x01 is because Castiel is literally more attached to his vessel seeing that it only belongs to him.
I know this theory isn’t perfect and I would love to have more input on what everyone thinks about this. I also understand that there probably wasn’t quite this much thought put into Castiel’s wings in 13x01.
I had to break this post down into parts. I don’t know how many parts but right now I am thinking about three.
@northern-sparrow is the fandom’s wing expert because they are an ornithologist in real life but this is my best stab at trying to figure this out because it has been bothering me since 12x23. Here is their post on Castiel molting after rescuing Dean from hell. I know a few people were looking for it.
I tagged some people who were interested in the ask I got a few days ago about this.