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Whatever Happened To Gabriel From Supernatural?

Gabriel aka Loki aka The Trickster (Richard Speight Jr.) was among the many characters encountered by Dean and Sam Winchester (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki) in their demon-and-monster-hunting adventures, but the lovable jokester was one of the more common guests in the world of "Supernatural." Speight appeared in 12 episodes of "Supernatural," his last appearance being in 2018 (per IMDb). 

Gabriel was one of four archangels created by God. The youngest of the archangels, Gabriel fled to Earth when war broke out between his brothers. Away from his family, he reinvented himself as both a trickster and as the Norse god Loki to hide his identity. The actual Loki was another role taken on by Speight, providing the actor with a double role. Gabriel began as an adversary, but ended up helping Dean and Sam in their quest to prevent the coming Apocalypse. Speight's Gabriel ended up playing a key role in the world of "Supernatural," but the actor's influence went beyond the happenings in front of the screen. On top of starring in a dozen episodes of the CW fantasy series, Speight also directed 11 episodes (via IMDb). 

Speight is likely instantly recognizable to most "Supernatural" fans, but what has the trickster been up to since leaving the series? The answer is quite a lot, including one project that will feel like a gift to "Supernatural" fans. 

He's been directing

Since leaving "Supernatural," Richard Speight Jr. has partly kept busy by continuing his directorial career. He's directed a couple of episodes of "Walker," Jared Padalecki's follow-up series to "Supernatural," as well as five episodes of "Kung Fu," another CW-housed reboot. Speight also appeared in two episodes of the latter series, so he's comfortable juggling both roles at once. He has clearly continued to have a strong relationship with the CW, the network that aired "Supernatural," as an actor and director. Speight found work outside the CW too, directing four episodes of "Lucifer" between 2019 and 2021 (per IMDb). 

The filmmaker revealed in an interview about his directorial efforts that one of his biggest influences has been his experiences with directors on "Supernatural," in particular Robert Singer. Speight's mentor in filmmaking directed a whopping 48 episodes of "Supernatural," and he also executive produced the show (via IMDb). 

"Obviously I'm heavily influenced by the directors of 'Supernatural' because I've known these guys for a long time," Speight shared. "Bob Singer put me on the show to start with. I had done a pilot with Bob in London the year before on 'Supernatural' and I think directed the second-most episodes. Bob has directed the most," Speight said in 2020 to Nerds & Beyond

Old Henry

Richard Speight Jr. has also earned some movie roles since leaving "Supernatural," including 2019's "Home Is Where the Killer Is" and "Our Friend" with Casey Affleck. Among the films he's racked up since "Supernatural" is also a critically praised Western titled "Old Henry." Besides being the rare Western to make it through modern Hollywood, "Old Henry" is also one of the few movies to give Tim Blake Nelson a lead role. 

The 2021 release centered on a mysterious farmer (Nelson) who finds himself defending an injured stranger with a satchel of cash against a gang led by a ruthless killer in Ketchum (Stephen Dorff). Speight took on the supporting role of Dugan. The movie may not have blown up with box office receipts but it was one of the more praised films of 2021. On Rotten Tomatoes, the approval rating among both critics and users stands at over 90 percent. The National Board of Review also listed it as one of the 10 best independent movies of the year, along with movies like "Pig" starring Nicolas Cage and Paul Schrader's "The Card Counter." 

Speight promoted the Western as a throwback theatrical experience: "If you miss seeing movies in the theater as much as I do, go see it," the actor posted to Twitter in October 2021 ahead of the release of "Old Henry." 

Speight returned to the world of Supernatural

Just because "Supernatural" ended doesn't mean Richard Speight Jr.'s time on the show ceased. The world of "Supernatural" continues in "The Winchesters," a prequel series focusing on John and Mary, the parents of Sam and Dean Winchester. Produced by and featuring Jensen Ackles as Dean, "The Winchesters" is full to the brim with callbacks to the original series, the biggest arguably being Speight. 

Not long after the "Supernatural" prequel premiered in October 2022, it was announced Speight Jr. would be guest starring on "The Winchesters," reprising his role as The Trickster. Showrunner Robbie Thompson revealed the appearance the same month that "Winchesters" premiered and said bringing Speight back was in the works since the production of the second episode. Thompson told TV Insider he was reading notes from the show's writers when he saw a prime opportunity for Speight to return.

"I was reading [the writers'] notes and was like, 'Hey, wait a minute .... and then I just got really, really excited because it felt like [they'd come up with] an opportunity for us to welcome a friend that we've seen before, but maybe not in a way that folks ... expected," the showrunner said. 

On top of appearing on "The Winchesters," Speight is also working behind the scenes on the prequel. He directed the seventh episode ("Reflections"), and Ackles revealed during New York Comic Con in October 2022 that Speight would ultimately be directing multiple episodes of the series (via TV Insider).