While there have been a lot of notable returns to Supernatural in its fifteenth and final season, it continues to look like Crowley (Mark Sheppard) will not be among them. Sheppard, who played the always-charming and often quite influential villain for eight seasons, was killed at the end of season twelve and has seemed reluctant to entertain the idea of a return, saying at one point that he believed the writers had run out of ideas of what to do with Crowley as a character. Now showrunner Andrew Dabb, in an interview with TVLine, seems to suggest that Crowley is unlikely to show up anytime soon.
Recently, Rowena (Crowley's mother, played by Cuth Connell) sacrificed her life to save the Winchesters, only to turn around and become Queen of Hell when she got there. If there was anything that was ever going to bring the former King of Hell out of his retirement, it seems like it would be a chance to comment on his mother's ambitious play. But it isn't really up to him, is it?
"Crowley is kind of technically trapped in The Empty right now," Dabb explained recently. "As we know, The Empty is a character for us, someone with an agenda. So I would say there'd have to be a really good reason for The Empty to let Crowley wake up — and I don't know that reason has been presented quite yet."
That "quite yet" is likely to have some fans speculating about the idea of a potential cameo in the finale or other such last-minute return, but it seems unlikely Crowley will be back before the end of the show, and if he is, it seems like a virtual lock that whatever role he gets will be minor relative to his overall importance to the series.
The final season of Supernatural has, maybe unsurprisingly, been one marked by death and returns. With an all-powerful and all-seeing antagonist, it is difficult to overstate just how weird things have been getting for the Winchesters from time to time.
"They're realizing, 'Well, we're the Winchesters, but were we really doing this Chuck's way?'" Dabb said recently. "Part of reclaiming that agency is a big part of the season for them." Plus, the brothers are "going to start to lose people who, in past seasons, we would've never lost — and lose them in a very real way. Our guys are going to realize there's a certain finality, and some of the things they've relied on to get through the day — people, talents, things like that — they are no longer going to be able to roll out. And that's going to throw them for a loop."
Supernatural airs on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.