|“||The Shadow. The thing that rules the Empty.||”|
The Shadow explained to Castiel that it controlled the Empty, a dimension that existed before God and the Darkness and that was the resting place of deceased angels and demons, who would slumber there for eternity. The Shadow would also slumber within the realm unless any of its charges awakened, which would cause the Shadow pain and keep it awake until the awakened being fell back to sleep or was entirely removed from the Empty.
In The Big Empty, after Jack telepathically awakened the Seraph Castiel, the Shadow also awoke, rising as a pool of the dark liquid of the Empty before shifting into a humanoid form made of the same material. It followed Castiel through the Empty, though he sensed the Shadow's presence and called out to it. The Shadow revealed itself to Castiel and took on his form to communicate with him directly. The Shadow identified itself as "just your friendly, neighborhood cosmic entity" and stated that it had copied Castiel's form due to the fact that its own true form induced complete insanity in other beings.
The Shadow explained to Castiel that the Empty was what existed before everything, even God and Amara, and stated that Castiel was "soaking in it." It told Castiel that every angel and demon that had ever died was eternally sleeping inside the Empty and that nothing had awakened inside the Empty "in all of forever," which made it confused by Castiel's awakening and annoyed that its slumber had been disturbed. Castiel didn't know why he had awoken and suggested that the Winchesters must have made a deal, but the Shadow stated that it was the only being that had power over the Empty and that not even God had influence over it. The Shadow then put its hand to Castiel's forehead and painfully went through his memories to find out what could have woken up Castiel. Afterward, it explained to Castiel, who remained in pain, what he did and that it wanted Castiel to go back to sleep, as it described Castiel being awake as a "trapped gnat that was loudly buzzing in its head." Castiel realized from this description that him being awake was painful for the Shadow, which the Shadow confirmed by stating that if Castiel could not sleep, then it could not sleep either.
|“||If you can't sleep, I can't sleep. Yeah? And I like sleep. I need sleep.||”|
The Shadow insisted that it liked and needed sleep, and Castiel suggested that it should get rid of him by sending him back to Earth. In retort, the Shadow suggested that it throw Castiel so deep into the Empty that he could not bother it anymore, but Castiel recognized that the Shadow was bluffing. Castiel challenged that the Shadow's plan would not work or else the Shadow would have already done it. Acknowledging that Castiel was right, the Shadow still refused to send Castiel back and told him that it wasn't "part of the deal." It stated that it had gone through all of Castiel's mind and knew everything there was about him, and it claimed that there was nothing for Castiel back on Earth. It grasped Castiel's head and painfully showed Castiel visions of his grace being stolen by Metatron, his death at the hands of Lucifer, the Escape of the Leviathans, and him returning the souls to Purgatory. After striking Castiel down, the Shadow attempted to convince him that he was worthless, and so he should return to sleep. However, Castiel refused the Shadow's demands and declared that no matter what the Shadow did, he would fight it for eternity until he was released. The Shadow angrily denied Castiel's demands as Castiel continued to demand his release from the realm, staring down the Shadow while making his statement.
Castiel later awakened in a meadow on Earth and realized that the Shadow had complied with his demands and resurrected him.
In Tombstone, the resurrected Castiel told the Winchesters that he "annoyed an ancient cosmic being so much that it sent him back."
In Byzantium, following the death of the Nephilim Jack, the Shadow invaded Heaven by possessing and incapacitating all of the angels in an attempt to get Jack's soul, believing that he belonged to the Empty due to his angelic side. The Shadow easily defeated all of Heaven's defenses and chased after Jack when he emerged from his Heaven, but Jack managed to elude it. After entering Kelly Kline's Heaven, Jack told her of what was after him, and she hides him.
When Castiel entered Heaven in search of Jack's soul, the Shadow, possessing the angel Duma, accompanied Castiel in his search. The Shadow overwhelmed and possessed Naomi when she reminded Castiel of it and tried to convince him to help them turn Jack over to it.
As Castiel met with Jack and Kelly Kline, he told them of the Shadow and its intentions. The Shadow overheard their plans to resurrect Jack, before it revealed itself and attacked in an effort to take Jack to the Empty, easily defeating Castiel and Kelly's attempts to protect Jack. Recognizing that the Shadow wanted to get back at him, Castiel immediately offered to trade himself to it for Jack, pointing out that otherwise, it would have to wait years, perhaps eons for Castiel to die again. The Shadow accepted Castiel's deal but decided to wait until Castiel was truly happy to collect on it since it wanted his end to be painful. After making the deal, the Shadow left Heaven and returned to the Empty, restoring the angels back to normal.
In Moriah, after God kills him, Jack awakens in the Empty, where he is greeted by the Shadow in its viscous black humanoid form. The Shadow uses a circular motion with its hands to form a smile on its face. When Billie appears to talk to Jack, the Shadow stands by, watching and smiling.
|“||I'm just your friendly neighborhood Cosmic Entity.||”|
In its first appearance, the Shadow was shown to utilize highly cynical sarcasm when talking to others, as when he met with Castiel. It showed frustration at its failure to break Castiel's spirit and make him give up on living again.
When its attempts at making Castiel fall asleep failed, the Shadow attacked him out of frustration and called him worthless, which also proved unsuccessful. The Shadow was angered at Castiel's defiance but finally complied in annoyance, showing that the Shadow is somewhat impatient.
|“||I want you to suffer.||”|
— The Shadow to Castiel in Byzantium
During its attack on Heaven, the Shadow was shown to be impulsive, mentally unstable, possessive, invasive, vindictive, and sadistic. It viewed angels' and demon's essences as its material possessions and was willing to go to great lengths to claim them, which is partly why it targeted Jack. Naomi believed that the Shadow also wanted Jack partly because of his indirect role in waking it. It showed its impatience and mental instability when it aggressively reacted to Castiel interrupting it.
Its attack on Heaven also proved its relentlessness in its goals. Additionally, according to Naomi, the Shadow threatened that Heaven would fall if they did not hand Jack over to it.
The Shadow accepted Castiel's offer to take him instead of Jack, but it sadistically chose to wait until Castiel was truly happy to collect on their deal in order to make him suffer to complete its vengeance.
Powers and Abilities
|“||I'm the only one that has any pull here. Not Heaven, not Hell, not G-O-D himself.||”|
- Nigh-Omnipotence (at least within the Empty) - The Shadow had control over the Empty, and claimed that not even God had any influence on the Empty or anything residing within it. However, if something residing within the Empty awoke, the Shadow could not force it back to sleep.
- Nigh-Omniscience - The Shadow had a certain level of cosmic awareness, and it knew about the earth and the time before its creation, as well as The Darkness and her human name. Despite this, it could not understand how Castiel had awoken, as nothing in the Empty had awoken in what it considered "all of forever". It was also able to detect Jack's death and knew to find his soul in Heaven. While possessing Duma, the Shadow perfectly mimicked her mannerisms and personality, even tricking the angel Castiel.
- Shapeshifting - To avoid the madness-inducing effects of its true form, the Shadow would assume the body of the being it was speaking to. In The Empty, it changed from a puddle of black ooze into a humanoid form of the same material to walk around, and while speaking to Castiel, it imitated his visage. While possessing Duma, the Shadow briefly altered her face to that of its own before reverting it back.
- Invulnerability - The Shadow couldn't be killed or harmed by any known weapon.
- Immortality - The Shadow had been around since before the creation of the angels, and it was immune to aging and disease.
- Super Strength - The Shadow could effortlessly overpower and beat Castiel. When it attacked Heaven, the Shadow effortlessly defeated all of the remaining angels. The Shadow also overpowered Castiel and Kelly and strangled Jack to the point that he was briefly unconscious, all with seemingly no effort.
- Telepathy - In order to learn more about Castiel, the Shadow painfully dug through his memories. The Shadow later used this power to show him some of his most painful memories in an effort to convince Castiel that he was worthless and should go back to sleep.
- Resurrection - The Shadow was able to resurrect Castiel, returning him to Earth in the process.
- Reality Warping - The Shadow could create matter out of nothing, as it fully rebuilt Castiel's vessel with no visible damage leftover from its previous burning and destruction. When the Shadow attacked Heaven, it broke open all of the gates, including those sealed by Metatron's unbreakable spell.
- Possession - While in Heaven, the Shadow was able to possess all of the surviving angels and use them as vessels, as seen with Naomi and Duma, the latter of whom retained no memory of the experience. After the Shadow left the angels, they remained unharmed.
- Telekinesis - The Shadow was able to stop Jack by raising its hand towards him.
- Flight - After leaving Duma's Vessel, the Shadow's true form flew into an air vent in a house within Kelly's Heaven before it returned to The Empty.
Although it was the ruler of the Empty, the Shadow still had a few weaknesses.
- Awakening of The Empty's Inhabitants - The Shadow could only remain asleep as long as all of the inhabitants of the Empty were asleep. If even a single inhabitant awoke, so would the Shadow, who would feel pain from the inhabitant.
- Sleep Deprivation - The Shadow had been in a deep slumber since before all of existence, and so it would become severely disturbed when it could not rest. Castiel claimed that while he couldn't beat the Shadow, he could stay awake to pressure it.
- Season 13
- Season 14
- The Shadow claimed that its true form induced complete insanity, even to angels.
- Although the Shadow stated that God held no power over The Empty, God managed to resurrect Castiel several times.
- The Shadow's state of eternal sleep and maddening appearance shares similarities to two beings in Lovecraft Horror Stories, specifically Azathoth and the Nameless Mist. Azathoth represents the Entity's madness-inducing state, eternal sleep, and existing outside creation. The Nameless Mist represents the initial appearance of the Entity.
- The Shadow also bears a strong resemblance to Chaos, a primordial deity of void and nothingness in Greek mythology, which was described as a dark void predating the creation of the universe and the cosmos.