Fans of Supernatural know well by this point that no character is necessarily gone for good when there are resurrections and ghosts and afterlives in play. Season 13 recently managed to bring back none other than the archangel Gabriel, played by Richard Speight Jr. He turned up very much alive as an unfortunate prisoner of Asmodeus. With the help of some unexpected allies, Gabriel managed to incinerate Asmodeus. Good old Gabriel took off after roasting his former captor, wanting no further part in the conflict. The good news for fans is that Richard Speight Jr. will be back in the next episode as actor and director, and he chatted with CinemaBlend about what's in store. In an exclusive clip from the "Unfinished Business" episode, Gabriel is back with a bloody mission for the WInchesters. Take a look!
Gabriel isn't looking too great in this clip! Still recovering from having his grace siphoned by Asmodeus, Gabriel isn't as mighty or as capable of bouncing back from injuries as he would be at full power. Operating at reduced power clearly isn't enough to stop Gabriel from chasing his revenge on the demigods who sold him to Asmodeus, and he doesn't seem especially phased by the giant bloody wound in his side. Apparently, slaughtering all those who sold him to Asmodeus is the best thing he can think of, even if it's not going well right off the bat. We can bet that Gabriel dropped by the Winchesters' room to try and recruit them to lend a hand in his quest.
The Winchesters will likely be busy with Gabriel's mission throughout "Unfinished Business." Interestingly, "Unfinished Business" was also a very busy episode for Richard Speight Jr. The man who has brought Gabriel/The Trickster to life off and on over the years has also directed a handful of episodes, and this will be one unlike any he directed before. He spoke with CinemaBlend about his work on the episode, saying this:
The whole thing of directing yourself is a huge deal and very different from anything I've done in Supernatural world. Let's be honest: I didn't think Gabriel would come back, so the fact that he returned a couple episodes ago was a shocker. I did sort of have this episode as an opportunity fall into my lap where I was actually the guy directing an episode in which I played the major guest star. That's pretty awesome.
Over the course of his many years connected to the show, Richard Speight Jr. never had the opportunity to act in one of the episodes he was directing. Of course, Gabriel did seem quite definitively dead after being stabbed by Lucifer back in Season 5. His angel wings were burned into the floor, and Supernatural didn't break him back as more than an illusion until Season 13. Returning to Supernatural in front of the camera as an actor as well as behind-the-scenes as director meant that Speight had a lot going on for this episode.
Fortunately, Richard Speight went on to explain how his work in front of the camera on Supernatural has helped him in his work as a director on the show:
It made me affiliated with the show. It made me a part of the fabric of the show so that I knew the key players when I came in to direct. I came in to direct in Season 11 and I've now directed five episodes. The fact that I had been in front of the camera five times previously, playing Gabriel and The Trickster, is what gave me the comfort level to pursue directing on that show. I've certainly been a welcome guest in the house a couple of times and developed great relationships with a lot of the crew members, obviously a lot of the cast. So I was coming in to direct and take on that challenge in a friendly environment, in a place where the cast and crew wanted me to succeed. That was a great way to start my TV directing career and it's only proved to get better and better with time. The more I know, the more comfortable I get, the more they're able to help me. The more knowledge I have, it taps their resources in a more effective way. It's less about playing the character per se that helped me behind the camera, but more just being an actor in that world with those people with that team that ingratiated me to them, made me understand the level of their knowledge and made me available to have their support when I actually got the opportunity to step behind the camera.
His work as Gabriel/The Trickster back before the character was unceremoniously stabbed to death (or so we thought) helped Richard Speight to form the connections to both direct episodes and develop further as a director. Supernatural was the first show for which he directed, and his familiarity with the folks behind the scenes clearly helped him learn the ropes for TV directing. Given the fact that episodes of this show are more or less equivalent to half of a feature film and must be shot in eight days, kicking off a directing career on Supernatural was a bold move.
Now, since this is Supernatural we're talking about, longtime fans have to wonder whether Richard Speight was able to direct his episodes without falling victim to pranks courtesy of series stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. Misha Collins (who plays Castiel) was pranked with pies in the face during his directing debut, and the boys even go so far as to prank the star of another show. When I asked if Speight was also pranked when he first took his turn as Supernatural director, he had this to say:
I will say, the boys never pranked me, and I have a theory why. When Misha directed, he was a character on the show, a regular on the show, and that made him un-fireable. Me? I'm fireable! So I kinda feel like they were more sympathetic to my task when I directed my first episode because they knew what I was up against and knew there was actually a big cane that would yank me off the stage if it didn't go well. Of course they gave me a hard time in the way that friends give each other a hard time. They break my chops constantly, and I would expect nothing less, but when it really comes down to getting the episode done, they're dialed-in professionals who care very much about their show and their characters and how the episode is executed from a directorial standpoint and how it comes out as a finished product. They take it seriously. Between all the jokes and all the clowning around and all the hamming it up, they take it very seriously and I take it seriously, although they were happy to give me tons of crap when the moments were there.
No pies in the face for Richard Speight! All things considered, he may be quite lucky to have avoided pranks courtesy of Jared Padalecki, who was apparently tempted to give in and pull something after discovering people online were hoping for some prank action. Speight has escaped unscathed by pranks thus far. Supernatural did already score a renewal for Season 14; hopefully Speight will return for more in the next batch of episodes, even if that does mean running the risk of a prank or too.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more of what Richard Speight Jr. revealed about his big episode of Supernatural, and be sure to tune in to The CW tonight at 8 p.m. ET to see Gabriel back in action with his bloody mission. Don't forget to swing by our picks for cartoons we want to see Supernatural cross over with in the aftermath of the "Scoobynatural" episode. If you need some TV options for once the 2017-2018 season comes to an end, check out our summer TV premiere schedule and our 2018 Netflix premiere guide.