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The Winchesters Had Richard Speight Jr. 'Way Up' On The List For A Cameo

If there's one thing that "The Winchesters" has demonstrated its love for, it's "Supernatural" cameos. While the former is technically a prequel to the latter, the new show has nevertheless jumped at seemingly every chance to feature characters and their respective actors from the original series. Whether it's Jensen Ackles' Dean Winchester unexpectedly popping up in the past or Gil McKinney reprising his role as Henry Winchester, there's plenty of familiar faces in "The Winchesters" Season 1 for fans who have watched through "Supernatural."

One particularly interesting "Supernatural" cameo comes early on in "The Winchesters." Season 1, Episode 8, titled "Hang On to Your Life," features the return of Richard Speight Jr., who recurred as the primary face of the archangel Gabriel aka Loki in the original series. As it turns out, Speight was actually one of the highest priorities on the list of "Supernatural" star cameos among "The Winchesters'" creative team, and that commitment to getting him back allowed for the actor to play a fresh spin on his classic character.

Speight and the writers of The Winchesters are close friends

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, "The Winchesters" writer Robbie Thompson revealed that one of the creative team's most desired "Supernatural" cameos was none other than Richard Speight Jr.. "There was a list of actors and characters that I really wanted to hopefully have a chance to work with on this show," Thompson said. "And Richard being an old friend, he was way up there on the list, and he really exceeded expectations."

Per Speight's Loki explanation, his new appearance actually sees him playing a semi-separate character from his original role as Gabriel. Instead, the actor is portraying the original version of trickster god Loki from before Gabriel adopted his face and mantle. Playing a different version of a character may have been an adjustment, but Thompson was impressed by Speight's performance nonetheless. "We really encourage all of our actors to embellish, to improvise," the writer explained. "There's so many lines in there that it's just Richard being Richard."

In some sense, Speight's return in "The Winchesters" was a foregone conclusion for the actor even before he had officially signed on to reprise his role. In an earlier interview with Entertainment Weekly after the show was ordered to pilot, Speight acknowledged that he was anticipating a return in the prequel series. "Gosh darnit, if I turn on the show and there's some other jackhole playing Gabriel, there's gonna be hell to pay," the actor joked.