Sam: How many are there -- how many other worlds or -- or universes or realities or whatever?
Chuck: I don't know. Kinda lost count. Most of them are boring. One's in reverse. In one, there's no yellow. One of them's just all squirrels.
After God aka Chuck Shurley created the world, He wanted to do more and began creating many worlds within a multiverse. In order to do this, He had to integrate Himself into the framework of the multiversal quantum construct to create a perfect harmony in order for the Winchesters' world to continue operating in His extended absence.
While usually separate, these worlds can sometimes be linked to each other via portals. The worlds may be very different from Earth, or similar with minor changes. These other worlds had different combinations, scenarios and characters, while some also had different versions of the same characters. Chuck tells Sam He lost count of how many universes there were, claiming that most are boring, citing to Sam a universe in reverse, one without the color yellow, and one that is entirely inhabited by squirrels.
In addition to these alternate worlds, characters may find themselves in an Alternate Reality constructed by a powerful being or a mental construct induced by a drug, or they may visit different versions of their own universes due to alternate timelines.
In 2020, Chuck starts destroying these alternate universes, except for the Winchesters' world. He explains that some of the worlds can be destroyed with a snap of His fingers, but others are more complex and will take time and extra attention to completely obliterate. Two of the known worlds He destroyed thus far include the Bad Place and Earth 2, where He watched the destruction of these worlds on various TV screens. Billie later states that God is "almost done" destroying alternate worlds, leading a Sam and Dean from one such world to attempt to escape across universes. Billie later reveals to Dean that Chuck is completely done and will soon be back.
Worlds in the Multiverse
Fairies live in a realm separate from ours, although they can move between their world and ours. The land of Oz is situated in the fairy realm.
Oz can be accessed from Earth through the use of a special key that turns any door into an entrance to Oz. The only other method of entry into Oz is through natural disasters like tornadoes, the eye of a hurricane, or whirlpools.
French Mistake World
Balthazar sends Sam and Dean into an alternate universe, ostensibly to keep the key to where all the angelic weapons are being stored safe from Raphael. They find themselves in a world where their lives are the basis of a TV show, and they are actually actors - Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. In this universe spells don't work, and the supernatural doesn't exist. When they get back to their own universe, Sam and Dean find out the whole thing was a diversion so that Castiel could access the weapons.
- Episodes: 6.15 The French Mistake
Trivia: In Season Two of the series You, a journalist refers to working on a story about Jared Padalecki. When asked about it, creator Sera Gamble said that the series took place in the same universe as 6.15 The French Mistake.
Apocalypse World is located in an alternate universe, one in which the forces of Heaven and Hell are fighting in an eternal battle with humanity caught in the middle. It is connected to the normal world by a portal opened by the Nephilim son of Lucifer -- Jack.
- Episodes: 12.23 All Along the Watchtower, 13.01 Lost and Found, 13.02 The Rising Son, 13.07 War of the Worlds, 13.09 The Bad Place, 13.14 Good Intentions, 13.18 Bring 'em Back Alive, 13.20 Unfinished Business, 13.21 Beat the Devil, 13.22 Exodus
The "Bad Place" is a world located in an alternate universe, where giant monsters appear to be the dominant species of the planet. It is destroyed by God with a cataclysmic storm after the Winchesters rescue Kaia Nieves who was trapped in the world for two years.
A ghost sends Sam, Dean, and Castiel into a TV where they enter the world of Scooby-Doo, meet up with the Scooby Gang, and join forces to defeat the ghost.
- Episodes: 13.16 Scoobynatural
Tentacle Porn Land
"Tentacle Porn Land", so dubbed by Dean, is the home of the tentacled cosmic deities Yokoth and Glythur. Not much is known of their universe other than that Yokoth and Glythur have consumed most of it.
- Episodes: 13.17 The Thing
In 15.09 The Trap, Chuck reveals that the endings Sam has been seeing are not His drafts for possible endings for Sam and Dean but rather Chuck's memories of alternate reality Sams and Deans. These worlds also include alternate versions of Benny Lafitte and Lucifer while alternate versions of Jody Mills and Bobby Singer are mentioned.
Earth 2 was an alternate universe that Chuck used as His hub while wiping the slate clean of all other universes, except the Winchesters' world. Key differences to this Earth include two moons in its sky as well as Hillary Clinton being the President of the United States, and the world making successful efforts in combating climate change by restoring the Paris Agreement. Earth 2 is destroyed by a meteor shower after Chuck spends four weeks squatting in a Radio Shed store, eating junk food and destroying other universes while He watches the various cataclysms unfold on the TV screens.
- Episodes: 15.12 Galaxy Brain
An alternate universe where John Winchester raised and pampered Sam and Dean before forming HunterCorp, a world-wide organization of hunters. When this world is destroyed, Sam, Dean, and John escape through a portal, with Sam, Dean, John, and their car ending up in the main universe. However, moments later, the HunterCorp world is destroyed, causing the portal to malfunction and trap Sam and Dean between worlds and sending John and their car to parts unknown. Using a variation of the spell from the demon tablet, the Winchesters and Castiel succeed in bringing their counterparts to their world. They later send the alternate Sam and Dean to enjoy a new life in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- Episodes: 15.13 Destiny's Child
AUs in Fanfiction
In fan fiction set within the universe of the Show, an AU refers to a story that diverges significantly from the canon. Generally the writer will choose to alter key events in canon (known as the Point of Divergence (POD) ) e.g. John dies when Sam is a baby and the boys are raised by Mary, Dean doesn't go to hell, or Castiel falls and becomes human.
Some stories may become AU as new information is later revealed on the Show. This is especially true of stories written between seasons, where a fic is based on certain assumptions of what may occur that are then disproved by later canon (also known as being Jossed, a term coined in relation to Joss Whedon and the Buffy verse). In Supernatural fandom the term Kripked was coined to describe the opposite phenomenon - when events in fan fiction are later confirmed by canon.
If a story is generally compliant with major events, the introduction of a sexual relationship between characters - whether it's Wincest, Destiel, or Gabriel/Balthazar, is not considered to make a story an AU.
Some stories may be set in a totally different universe e.g. Sam, Dean, and Castiel are professional bull riders or FBI agents or baristas. These stories more closely resemble original fiction in that the characters share little in common, other than their names and some personality traits, with their canonical versions. These stories are very common in RPF fics. In RPF AU stories are essentially original fiction, where the major characters are named, and occasionally very loosely based, on real people.
- The Big Damn SPN RPS AU LIST by Janissa11
- SPN AU comm
- AU Fanworks by Fanlore
- Alternate Universes on TV Tropes
- Please, Please, Please Give Me More Coffee Shop AUs by The Mary Sue
- Millennials can’t stop writing fanfiction about coffee shops by The Daily Dot