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Why Did Mark Sheppard Leave Supernatural?

"Supernatural" had a long and notable run, reaching an impressive 15 seasons before finally concluding in 2020. While the show centered on Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), "Supernatural" had a wide array of recurring characters throughout its run. Given the nature of the show, these characters could serve to help the brothers or as antagonists. But one of the biggest examples of a character who could serve as both depending on the needs of the story is none other than Crowley (Mark Sheppard).

Crowley is a demon who eventually assists the Winchesters in defeating Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) and stopping the apocalypse from happening. He would then become a staple of the show until his character was killed off unexpectedly in Season 12. Throughout that time, he would often help or work against Sam and Dean, until he sacrificed himself to lock Lucifer away in an alternate reality. However, some fans may wonder why Sheppard left "Supernatural," especially given how long he was a central presence in the series. As it turns out, the answer is slightly more complex than a lot of viewers might think.

Sheppard leaving Supernatural wasn't exactly his idea

During a solo panel at the 2018 New York Comic Con (via Syfy Wire), Mark Sheppard didn't exactly hold back over his time on "Supernatural" as Crowley and the circumstances that led to his departure from the show. As it turns out, it wasn't Sheppard's idea to depart "Supernatural," and it came down to the writers on the show making that choice for his character. However, the actor also revealed that the creatives involved in the show didn't exactly seem sure what to do with Crowley and that he started acting against his own nature as an extremely intelligent demon who often got the upper hand on the Winchesters.

"Once they decided they needed to do something different [with the direction of the show], they tried to get rid of me without telling me that they were going to get rid of me," Sheppard said. "But it became so apparent... It wasn't this big bombshell at the end." As for the character's death, Sheppard said that it was, "the slowest, most painful death I've ever seen. I'd gone from being the smartest character on the show to being the dumbest character on the show in two seasons. They ran out of what to do."

One thing is absolutely clear: Sheppard isn't one to mince words. It's obviously a shame that a character beloved by a big portion of the fanbase was killed off in a way that wasn't satisfying for the actor portraying him. Still, Sheppard has obviously moved on since he left "Supernatural," and he's been featured in many prominent roles on various shows, including the magician Willoughby Kipling in "Doom Patrol."