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Fan Expo 2018: Mark Sheppard Works Through His Mixed Supernatural Feelings

fan-expo-2018-mark-sheppard

Over the course of eight seasons, Mark Sheppard’s Crowley appeared in 70 episodes of Supernatural. In other words, if you’re a fan of the show, there’s a good chance you’re a fan of Sheppard. However, his appearance at Fan Expo Canada over the weekend presented something of a challenge for Supernatural devotees, as Sheppard’s take on the series has soured considerably since he left at the end of Season 12. But even if you don’t agree with his critique, there’s no denying the sincerity of his position and the value of his insider’s perspective. With that in mind, here’s what Sheppard had to say during his candid, irreverent, occasionally combative Fan Expo Q&A.

Leaving Supernatural

Asked if leaving the series was his choice, Sheppard made it clear that he’d still be working on Supernatural if he had the opportunity. “No actor in the history of the world has a choice whether they’re on a show or not,” he claimed. “It doesn’t work that way. The studio or network review your contract every year. I finished year three of a four-year contract, and they decided not to exercise their option.”

The price of success

During his early appearances on Supernatural, Sheppard was considered a guest star. When he eventually got promoted to the status of series regular, he experienced an unanticipated drawback. “It actually cost me money being a series regular,” he said. “I was making more money as a guest star, literally, because you get paid a lot of money as a guest star.”

The writing on the wall

According to Sheppard, it was apparent for several years that Crowley’s run on Supernatural was coming to an end: “There’s been a problem since Season 10, which is, ‘I’m not really doing anything, guys.’ They actually forgot they wrote me into the final scene of season 10. They had no idea because there’s no dialogue for me at all… for a few seasons, I think I was just treading water to see what they were gonna do.”

Crowley’s last stand

Sheppard’s growing frustration was perfectly encapsulated by his experience on his final episode: Season 12 finale All Along the Watchtower. “I called [executive producer] Ben [Edlund],” he explained. “I wrote him a letter and I said, ‘Thank you for everything you’ve done. I really appreciate it, but if I’m gonna go out, why not make it mean something in some way?’ He did a massive rewrite on that and it was really good. It was really tight. It had a point to it and then we got around to filming it and we filmed all the bits that we wanted to do. I gave it everything I could give it and then they cut out the bits that were me, in order to preserve what they wanted to preserve.”

The past and the future

As you can imagine, Sheppard looks back on his Supernatural years with mixed feelings. To offer a sense of his shifting trajectory, he broke it down season-by-season. “Seven was the worst season ever made,” he argued. “Seven would have been a brilliant Season 12. If you think about seven now, can you imagine that as Season 12? It would have been really clever. Eight was amazing. I think that was the best linear story we ever had. The beginning, middle, and end of that season were fantastic. Nine was fascinating. 10 was good. 11 started good, got weird… 12 was just whatever it was. 13 was a reboot. It was an interesting reboot, and we’ll see what 14 brings. It’s kind of cool. I hope they go on forever.”