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How Supernatural's Mark Sheppard Really Felt About Being Cut After Season 12

If you've watched any television from the past two decades, there's a chance you'll have seen Mark Sheppard a time or two. The actor has had a prolific history in genre storytelling with roles in "Firefly," "Battlestar Galactica," and "The X-Files" (via IMDb). But even with such a long list of credits, his contribution to cult favorite "Supernatural" is perhaps what he is most recognized from. First introduced as King of the Crossroads in Season 5, Crowley became a beloved character in the same ranks as Castiel (Misha Collins). Though constantly belittling Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles), Crowley's sense of humor and subjective morality made him an anti-hero to root for.

But despite the love from the fandom, Sheppard was actually in fewer episodes of "Supernatural" than you might think. His appearances as Crowley were initially intermittent, and he only became a regular cast member well into the series' run (via Digital Spy). But by the time Season 12 rolled around, the writing was on the wall, and Sheppard announced on his Instagram that he would no longer be in the series. This may seem like an odd choice with three more seasons left to go. And, according to Sheppard, it was not his decision.

Sheppard isn't one to mince words about Crowley's demise

When talking about his final days on the set of "Supernatural," Mark Sheppard doesn't hold back. The actor has spoken many times on the subject at conventions and his social media. But the truth came out when he appeared on CW alum Michael Rosenbaum's podcast "Inside of You." After discussing the topic of "Supernatural," the host wondered if Sheppard leaving the show was just a matter of a terminated contract.

"Well, no," Sheppard answered (via YouTube). "It was worse than that. It was kind of tacky. It was like, 'Oh, we don't think we'll have enough money to pick up your option next year.'" Sheppard and Rosenbaum scoffed at the ham-fisted way the writers attempted to eliminate one of their most popular characters. Sheppard didn't even mind that the demise of Crowley had been in the works for some time. 

He explained: "I think a particular showrunner — who shall remain nameless — was trying to kill me for about four or five years, and it was just funny because I kind of knew because I knew the rest of the writers, but I didn't care. That wasn't the problem that I had." Sheppard complimented the show's leads, stating that his issues never had anything to do with them. It was the underhanded dealings behind the scenes that lacked tact and class.

Crowley's ending wasn't very satisfying

As unthinkable as it was for Crowley to be axed from the show, Mark Sheppard wanted to give him the proper send-off. The "Leverage" actor had discussed with the writers his departure, wanting Crowley's death to be fitting for the character. Sheppard stated that he worked with showrunner Andrew Dabb so that Crowley's final scene wasn't just another run-of-the-mill demon death.

"We did it, and we shot it, and it was a very good way to go. And then they cut out all the stuff that I liked," Sheppard told fans at a Q&A. The episode's final cut was nothing like they had discussed, souring his experience on the show. Sheppard has always been a straight-shooter with his fans, respecting them enough to tell the truth. After Crowley — and Sheppard — had been mistreated by the series, he shot down any rumors that he would be returning to the show.

"One last time, amigos. Crowley's death is not a 'bit.' I have been honest and tried to avoid any confusion. I will not be returning to SPN," Sheppard posted on Twitter. Crowley's death was just another nail in the coffin before the divisive end of "Supernatural."