Shortly before Supernatural took the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H by storm, the cast and producers took the time to meet with reporters. Mark Sheppard shared his thoughts on Comic-Con and where Supernatural is going in the upcoming season.
Mark Sheppard: All right. What’s going on?
We want to know what’s going on with you and the show.
Mark Sheppard: I’m at Comic-Con. I’m at Comic-Con every year.
I know, but on the show!
Mark Sheppard: Which show?
Mark Sheppard: Supernatural. I love Supernatural. It’s a great show.
How much can we expect to see of you in the next season?
Mark Sheppard: I don’t know. Did you hear anything? Am I back?
We haven’t gotten to the producers yet.
Mark Sheppard: Am I back? No, you don’t know?
You’re here. That’s a good sign. They can do the show without you…
Mark Sheppard: They can? They did it for years before, and [laughter]. They would have me for one, but you’ll never know. If I come back, it will be a little fun, I guess.
I’m excited to see where the show is actually going. You know, as a fan watching… Season 5 is fascinating. It’s had that much of a build-up to what everybody thought was the conclusion, and then the way they wrote out of that is just, I think, absolutely brilliant. I’m saying, you know, that defining moment, the beginning of 6 where you were like, “Hold on a second, nobody’s addressed what’s actually going on!” And then, the opening after the beginning of season 6, which I thought was just fabulous, a sort of a reboot… You know, how do you come out of a nuclear explosion, if you will.
I’ve been fascinated to see what they’ve been doing since. Season 6 is very strong, some fabulous episodes, some great stand-alones — “The French Mistake” was something so special and, you know, and killing me off, which was fun… I knew it was coming. They were like, “Don’t panic, you’ll be back!” We managed to hide the returning, which is so much fun to do. So I’ve ended up having to lie to fans for the last… in every show I’m on, I have to lie to fans! So if I come back to Supernatural, I’m very excited.
Have you watched the show since day one?
Mark Sheppard: I watched the first two seasons quite religiously. I was friends with Kim Manners and I was interested in the show, and I remember when he came to it, and I watched the show and saw the differences and the changes that came in, fabulous, and he said “You’ll love it, you’ve got to come do it! You’ve got to come do it!” I did Mantis with him, he’s a writer of X-Files.
And when he passed, I’d still not done the show, which is like an odd thing, so when it came up, it immediately had a very strong effect on me. And me being a fan…
It coming up, and it being Ben creating a character that’s that weird and that odd. Crowley’s just wonderful to play. And kissing a man on the crossroads in my opening scene, which is just fabulous. You know they couldn’t find a day player that would kiss a man? They can’t. I can’t say that it’s just me, or whatever, but it was kind of extraordinary. Quite an interesting moment, when you think about it, especially with Supernatural.
You have a history of playing some rascals and scalawags…
Mark Sheppard: Oh, God, you’ve gone all bizarrely Anglophile on me now!
Mark Sheppard: Rapscallions! Cheeky monkey!
So this is what I want. I wanna know your tips on being a rascal, scalawag, or perhaps…
Mark Sheppard: Drink some coffee. I’ve never been a rascal or a scalawag. I can’t think you can… I love the difference and the voyage, the gap between what you think my character is and what I think my character is. And that’s what makes it fun for me.
All right. Well, explain that gap.
Mark Sheppard: Think about it. I can’t play… you can’t play a bad guy. You can only play a person who has… who can happen to have a morally-opposed position, or… I’m serious. I’m dead serious. You can’t play somebody who’s bad. Then you’re sort of imbuing a guy with a negative aspect. I mean, Crowley…
You wouldn’t define him as bad?
Mark Sheppard: Yeah. So Crowley wants stuff. How does Crowley get what Crowley wants? That’s the question.
And all the other characters is the same thing. It’s like Canton Everett Delaware in Doctor Who. He’s not a bad guy. All I know is he’s a good guy. He’s a man who wants what he wants. What makes Canton interesting is that he’s the second smartest man in the room, because as a fan once said — it was brilliant, a young fan came up to me and said, “I think Canton Everett Delaware is the second smartest man in the room, because he realizes the Doctor is the smartest man in the room.”
It’s what it’s about. I’ve played… it’s the writing. It’s the storytelling. Great writing, great storytelling, great characters, that become somewhat fully realized. We’re interested to see where they go because we have some investment into who they are. And you can go, it’s great, one person’s meat’s another man’s poison, right?
So, you’re talking, somebody you think is a rascal or a scalawag, other person thinks the last sane man in the universe. Which is great. I’ve always said there’s two types of characters to play in the world. The one that’s always been fun is the guy that sells them out before they left the planet. Doctor Zachary Smith, you know, Lost in Space… and the other one, which is my favorite, which is Eddie Albert in Green Acres, which is the last sane man in the universe. The only person who’s going, “Does nobody get this?”
And I think Crowley has a bit of that Eddie Albert-ness to it. I think he likes the boys. I’m not sure, but I think he does. Be nice to see if he comes back…
If he does come back, do you see him siding with the boys, or, you know…
Mark Sheppard: What’s your favorite aspect of his interaction with the boys?
Mark Sheppard: Well, what do you like best? What is the bit that you guys most respond to? Think about it. It’s like he kind of helps and kind of assists, but you absolutely know it’s only because he desperately wants. So… yeah, he truly is a self-driven individual. Whatever he is, I mean, do you even know if he is a Crossroads demon or not? How are you sure? Have you seen his eyes flash red?
I haven’t. I’m blanking here…
Mark Sheppard: I’ve been in the show. I’ve never had my eyes flash red. I’ve seen every frame and everything. It’s fascinating to me! So he, you know, Crowley can do anything. It could be fun. I think what I’m actually aiming for is, instead of coming back in season 7, the Crowley sitcom: Oh, Crowley…
Sounds like a meta episode.
Mark Sheppard: I think it could be. We’ll see if Ben’ll do that one. I was so pissed about not being in “The French Mistake”.
Is there a folklore, genre or anything within the show that you’d like to play with? Like any myth that hasn’t been attacked yet, or you think you could do justice to?
Mark Sheppard: Ahhhhh! Well, honestly? With the greatest respect in the world, you’re just going to have to wait and see.
Because it’s — look, we’re all fans, don’t forget that. It’s not that I’m trying to be deliberately obtuse. It’s like, the shows are best unspoiled. You can tease, but unspoiled is essential. And when you talk about a show that goes into — I mean, as a fan, going into a show that’s going on for five, six, seven years… Man, it’s gonna be good. Fans will kill it if you don’t come up with something great. And it’s testament to Sera, and of course, to Eric and Ben and everybody else and Phil, they have strived to make the best possible Supernatural that they can make, and I think — it doesn’t matter who gets pissed off at what’s going on or what they think is going on or whatever. It’s always played out really, really well.
End of season 5 played out completely unexpected for me. The introduction of Death, I think, was one of my favorite beats in the whole season. You know, it’s Julian Richings. Julian Richings is just like this amazing asset, to play Death in that way, and you know, Mark Pellegrino as Lucifer is fabulous.
So you’re just going to have to wait and see, they haven’t let us down thus far! That’s, of course, if I have a job. If not, I’ll still be at Comic-Con next year, knocking on the door. “Let me in! Let me in!”