Another season of Supernatural has come to an end, and the wayward Winchester sons will undoubtedly have a lot to deal with when the show returns for Season 14 in the fall. Given that finales on Supernatural can be bloodbaths for characters, fans naturally had to wonder which of their favorites might bite the dust. The penultimate episode saw the untimely death of Gabriel (played by Richard Speight Jr.), who died to save the Winchesters after finally agreeing to help them earlier in the season, so there was no saying who was and wasn't safe from being killed off.
Since this is Supernatural we're talking about, the upside to big deaths is that the deaths aren't always guaranteed to stick. Richard Speight Jr. spoke with CinemaBlend about dying multiple times on Supernatural as Gabriel has, and he said this:
There's more finality if you're on NCIS and you die, you pretty much know they're not going to do a ghost sequence with your character. You kind of know that's done. Maybe there's more mental closure involved. But with Supernatural, I guess the door always being open is a positive and a negative. Mainly a positive because you think, 'Hey, maybe my character comes back someday!' But the negative is you live in constant confusion, wondering if you're ever going to return or not. It's a head-scratcher. You hope it comes back but you hope they do it in a cool way that's true to the story. You want the work, but you went out so well the first time. It's that conundrum. Supernatural is the high water mark of dangling the carrot for actors because the motto is nobody's really dead in Supernatural. You just don't know how long it's going to take for them to figure out that they should bring you back.
On the one hand, the fact that Supernatural can bring back just about any dearly departed character from the dead means that actors aren't necessarily done with the series just because their character was killed off. Richard Speight Jr.'s character has seemed to die on more than one occasion, only to pop up unexpectedly later. Unfortunately, poor Gabe's latest death seems especially final, since the Winchesters had to leave his body behind in the Apocalypse World. Even if he scores another resurrection, he won't wake up in the happiest place. Still, fans can always hope that Supernatural decides to bring back Gabriel yet again.
On the other hand, actors whose characters are killed off Supernatural may never know for sure whether or not they'll have the chance to return to the show. A character death on NCIS or other grounded dramas is almost certainly going to stick, and so actors don't have to wonder if maybe they'll get a chance to return. With Supernatural, the door is always open. The uncertainty might be difficult to deal with at times. With Supernatural, the only actors who can be sure of a return are pretty much Jensen Ackles as Dean and Jared Padalecki as Sam. Misha Collins as Castiel is always likely to live as well, but Supernatural is unfailingly full of surprises. How else could it last for 13 (and going on 14) seasons?
Richard Speight Jr. also revealed that it's best to just assume that dying on Supernatural means staying dead, even if the rule is that nobody's ever really dead. Here's how he put it:
When you do an episode of the show, unless you've been told, 'Hey, we're booking you for a five-episode arc,' or 'Hey, you're now a series regular,' or whatever, as an actor you never know. You go in to do a show, even a show like Supernatural that you might have a longstanding association with, when you get the script that says 'And they hit him with a truck and that was the last we saw of him!' You kind of assume, oh, well, I guess that's the last they saw of me. So it's always in that way in that regard. I think the only time I knew I didn't die was the first episode when they stabbed me and I reappeared next to my dead me. Beyond that, every other time I get killed, I just assume that that's all she wrote. Last time, I was pretty close to right! It was seven years. So I wasn't totally off with that last one.
Gabriel's "death" prior to his death in Season 13 took place way back in Season 5, and it seemed pretty final. After being stabbed by Lucifer, his angel wings burned into the floor and he didn't return for a while, so many fans likely gave Gabe up for dead. That said, Richard Speight Jr. was able to return to Supernatural prior to Gabriel's reappearance in Season 13. Speight has directed a number of episodes over the years on Supernatural, which kept him a part of the Supernatural family even when it seemed like his time in front of the camera as an actor was done. We'll have to wait and see if Gabriel really is 100% dead for good after this latest death; dead or not, we can only hope that Speight returns to the series as a director.
Supernatural will return to The CW this fall. Unlike most of the Arrow-verse shows, Supernatural is staying in its time slot on Thursdays at 8 p.m. For what you can expect on The CW later this year, swing by The CW's 2018-2019 fall schedule. If you're in the market for shows to watch sooner, check out our summer TV premiere guide.