|“||The Shadow: Before God and Amara, creation, destruction, Heaven, Hell, your precious little Earth, what was there?
|“||The good souls here, the bad souls there... Angels are mine.||”|
According to The Shadow, the being that controls the Empty, the realm's existence predates everything, even God and the Darkness. Upon death, every angel and demon is sent to the Empty where they sleep for eternity. It was mentioned that nothing ever awoke in the realm.
In Form and Void, hunter Sam Winchester met the Reaper Billie, who told Sam about the Empty. Billie stated that when the Winchesters die, she would throw them into the Empty so that they could never be resurrected again. Billie noted that Sam would soon go to the Empty due to his Rabid infection.
In Red Meat, Dean committed suicide via drug overdose to negotiate with Billie to bring Sam back. Billie refused, stating that she would never make a deal with Dean even if Sam was not dead. "The Empty awaits" Billie announced as she prepared to take Dean to it. However, Dr. Kessler managed to revive Dean and he escaped being sent to the Empty.
In The Big Empty, Castiel then wandered the black void, calling out for anyone as he was followed by a strange being. He was soon greeted by the being revealed to be the The Shadow. It who took on Castiel's form to communicate with the angel. The Entity explained to Castiel what the Empty truly was. The entity was shocked that Castiel was awake as it said not even God had power over the Empty. The Shadow was also enraged that Castiel was awake because as long as the angel was awake, the Shadow could not sleep.
The Shadow searched through Castiel's memories, much to Castiel's dismay, and found nothing. Castiel suggested the Entity get rid of him by sending him back to Earth. However, The entity countered that it instead throw Castiel so deep into the Empty that the angel could not bother it anymore. However, Castiel recognized that the entity was bluffing and that it would not work as the entity would have already done so earlier if it was possible. The entity acknowledged that Castiel was right, but refused to send the angel back. Instead, it tried to convince Castiel that he was worthless and had nothing to return to. Castiel refused to accept this and demanded that the Entity send him back to Earth, threatening that he would fight the Entity for eternity if it did not release him. Castiel's efforts were ultimately successful and the Entity returned him to life on Earth in order to be able to return to its slumber.
In Tombstone, Castiel told Sam and Dean that he was sent to the Empty and informed them of his experience in the realm of nothingness. He also explained he was awakened from his slumber by Jack's voice.
In Unhuman Nature, Nick killed the man who was possessed by the demon that killed his family. Soon after, Nick expressed remorse and prayed that he wanted to feel the same way as when Lucifer was possessing him. Nick's prayer to Lucifer awakened the latter in the Empty, where Lucifer took the form of a black skeleton and opened his red glowing eyes.
During Byzantium, The Shadow invaded Heaven and attempted to claim Jack and bring him to the realm. It was revealed by Naomi that Castiel was the only being to ever escape the Empty. Castiel later described the Empty to Jack and Kelly, to emphasize what fate awaited Jack if the nephilim was captured. The Shadow later attacked Jack and his group, managing to defeat them as he moved to take the Nephilim. However, Castiel bargained with it for him returning to the Empty in Jack's stead. It accepted but held off on claiming the angel since it wanted Castiel to be truly happy to take him. After the deal was made, the Shadow returned to its domain.
In Game Night, Nick used the Prophet Donatello Redfield as a beacon to communicate with Lucifer in the Empty. Lucifer, who was still awake in the realm told Nick of the necessary means to revive him. Using a sample of Jack's blood, Nick opened a rift to the Empty and the essence of Lucifer nearly escaped. However, Jack had been affected by the spell and teleported to Nick's location. The nephilim banished Lucifer back to the Empty, before killing Nick to prevent the human from trying to summon the archangel again.
In The Gamblers, a resurrected Jack explained that Billie had kept him stashed in the Empty so that he would be safe from God. Once God left the Earth, it was safe for Billie to resurrect Jack who can grow strong enough to kill God.
In Destiny's Child, Castiel decided to visit the Empty to ask Ruby where she hid the Occultum. By having Jack remove most of his life force, Castiel was sent into a near-death state in which he was able to enter the Empty in an awakened state and call out for Ruby. The Shadow appeared to him in the form of Meg, but reluctantly allowed Castiel to awaken Ruby. The demon initially took the form of a pulsating light before changing into the form she died in. Ruby agreed to reveal the location of the Occultum, but asked for Castiel to help her escape the Empty in return. After Castiel promised to at least try, Ruby gave him the location before vanishing.
While Castiel was trying to leave, the Shadow, tortured the angel. Castiel told the Shadow that they were on the same side but the entity specified it was on Death's side--revealing that it had no intentions of freeing Castiel from the Empty. The Shadow shared that if Billie were to succeed, the Shadow would finally get to sleep. However, Jack returned Castiel's life force on Sam and Dean's insistence, forcing Castiel out from the Empty, and returning to his vessel on Earth.
In Unity, after encountering Sam in Death's Reading Room, the Shadow revealed that Castiel's visit shook its trust in Billie and her plan. The Shadow admitted that while it was supposed to have ultimate power over the Empty, and that its domain was beyond even God, it was actually just a lie, but one that Billie promised to fix when she took over after the deaths of Chuck and Amara. Still, the Shadow was unable to enter Earth and demands answers for itself as God has warded the planet from the Entity.
In Despair, a detonating Jack was sent to the Empty by Billie where the Shadow, still in the form of Meg, was amused by his sudden appearance and the fact that the Nephilim was not doing too good. Jack could only apologize before detonating with the Shadow only managing to mutter an aborted "oh shit." Billie explained to the Winchesters and Castiel that she sent Jack to the Empty because it was "the only player on the board that could possibly absorb that impact." Jack and the Shadow reformed and the Shadow became visibly horrified, stating that Jack "made it loud." Before the Shadow could harm Jack, Billie teleported the Nephilim back to Earth.
Later, in order to defeat Billie, Castiel finally allowed himself to experience true happiness by expressing his love for Dean. This allowed the Shadow to open a portal to Earth and the Empty and sent out two dark tendrils that absorbed Castiel and Billie, pulling them into the Empty. The portal to the Empty immediately closed after.
In Inherit the Earth, a resurrected Lucifer initially claimed that the Shadow resurrected him from the Empty to help kill God. Lucifer eventually admitted that it was actually God that brought him back, however.
- The Shadow (Ruler)
- Billie (absorbed by the Shadow into the Empty shortly before dying)
- Every deceased angel
- Every deceased demon
- Season 11
- Season 13
- Season 14
- Season 15
- The Empty was first mentioned by Billie in season 11--the reaper threatened to throw the Winchesters into the Empty. Billie would later create an alliance with the Empty's ruler around season 14. Ironically, Billie herself gets taken into the Empty where she met her demise in the final season.
- The dark void known as the Empty has similarities to Sheol from the Hebrew Bible. Sheol is described as a place of darkness and stillness, where the righteous and unrighteous go after death. This is similar to how angels and demons going to the Empty. Another similarity is Sheol is described as absent or cut off from life and God, similar to God having no power over the Empty.
- It is unknown if angels and demons from other universes went to The Empty after their death or if each universe has its own version of the Empty.
- The Shadow says God had no power in the Empty, yet Castiel was "rebuilt" by him several times.
- Most recently, God resurrected Lilith through unknown means, even while he was weakened.
- In addition, Billie, with the powers of Death, resurrected Jack. While this happened because the Shadow and Billie are working together and thus the Shadow allowed Billie to do it, it was later revealed that Billie does in fact have the power to retrieve others from the Empty without the permission of the Shadow and can even do this against the Shadow's will, as she teleported Jack into and back from the Empty even after the Shadow wanted to hold and hurt him.
- In Unity, the Shadow states that God having no power over the Empty is how its supposed to work but is actually a "sweet lie."
- The Empty is the only thing confirmed to predate The Darkness and God, with Death being possibly older as well.
- Both Castiel and Lucifer were awoken because of a person calling out to them.
- Ruby was awakened by Castiel calling out to her when he visited the Empty.
- From the Shadow's attempts to claim Jack, it seems Nephilim come here as well. However, the Shadow was also stated to believe that Jack belonged here due to his being half-angel and when he died, his soul went to Heaven instead of the Empty. After Jack died soulless, he went to the Empty as seen in Moriah.
- It's unknown if the Shadow had already attempted to collect the other nephilim that had already died or if they had gone to the Empty after they died.
- In Byzantium, the Shadow is also referred to as the Empty by Naomi in conversation. Duma does the same in Jack in the Box. In Destiny's Child, after seeing through the Shadow's disguise as Meg, Castiel also calls it the Empty.
- Naomi also reveals Castiel is the first ever being to escape the realm.
- During Proverbs 17:3, Lilith became the second known being to escape, although she was later sent back to the Empty during Our Father, Who Aren't in Heaven after being obliterated by Michael.
- During The Gamblers, Jack became the third known being to escape, having been resurrected by Billie.
- During Inherit the Earth, Lucifer became the fourth known being to escape, having been resurrected by Chuck. He was killed once again by Michael in the same episode.
- The Shadow considers The Empty as even worse than Hell, saying that "at least Hell is something". This is a contradiction as during the initial meeting with Castiel, the Shadow says the demons and angels within the Empty peacefully sleep.
- In Destiny's Child, Ruby claims that despite being called the Empty, the place is full with the sorrow and despair that comes from the angels and demons sleeping there who dream about their greatest regrets. Castiel states that he remembers that from his own time in the realm. This is likely what The Shadow meant, that though they appear to sleep peacefully, the Angels and Demons dream of their greatest regrets.
- During Game Night, it is shown there is a ritual to bring beings back from the Empty, despite Billie stating there was no way for that to occur.
- However, for that to happen, the ritual used required Nephilim's blood, being that Nephilim the offspring of the angel that is trying to escape, and also it's necessary for the angel to be awake. Having in count that Nephilim are forbidden and the angels are normally in an eternal sleep unless they are reached by the ones who pray to them, Billie's statement is still valid.
- Aside from dying, it is possible for an angel to visit the Empty by entering a near-death state through the removal of most of their life force. In effect, such a visit is comparable to a near-death experience for a human.
- It is unclear what the connection the Shadow has with the Empty. However, in several instances many individuals have called or referred to the Shadow as the Empty itself. This indicates that The Shadow is a part of the Empty, and not an entirely separate being.
- In Despair, Billie indicates that the Shadow may be the embodiment of the realm.
- According to Andrew Dabb, Alastair is locked away in The Empty.