‘The Winchesters’ Is Bringing Gil McKinney Onscreen as John’s Father Henry

Alaina Huffman, Gil McKinney in 'Supernatural'
Cate Cameron / ©The CW Network / courtesy Everett Collection

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After hearing his voice in the Winchesters series premiere, fans will once again see Gil McKinney onscreen as Henry Winchester.

McKinney will appear in Episode 7, according to TVLine. The Henry we’ll see is described as “the intellectual patriarch of the Winchester clan. Having come from a long line of Men of Letters, Henry fully dedicated his life to the institution. However, when a Men of Letters’ mission leads to Henry’s untimely death, his absence and the secrecy surrounding his life inside the organization creates an unrepairable rift in his family.”

That Men of Letters mission was covered in Supernatural, with Season 8’s “As Time Goes By” seeing him accidentally time traveling to Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean’s (Jensen Ackles) then-present and finding out that he never saw his son John (Drake Rodger on The Winchesters) again. He died fighting alongside his grandsons, which was why his family back in his time never saw him again.

The Winchesters started with Mary Campbell (Meg Donnelly) and John crossing paths as they searched for their fathers. Samuel was on a hunting trip and — sound familiar? — hadn’t checked in while John was looking for answers after receiving a letter from his dad. “If you’re reading this, then I’m gone,” the letter read. “I’m sorry I kept the truth from you, John. There’s a dangerous world out there, and our family has fought that danger for centuries. The answers to all your questions are at the address below. I love you and your mother, always.”

Episode 7 sounds like it will be a big family one for both Mary and John. Not only is that the episode in which McKinney will be guest starring, but it’s also the one that Tom Welling will make his debut as Samuel Campbell. His casting was announced at the New York Comic Con panel by Ackles, who, along with narrating, serves as executive producer on the prequel (and reprised his role as Dean on-screen in the premiere), and Welling, who previously worked together on Smallville. “We knew we were going to need somebody to come in with the power and the strength and the history,” Ackles said.

Also, during the panel, Ackles and showrunner Robbie Thompson spoke about bringing in familiar faces. “I would love to see everybody back in some way, shape, or form, and I think we’ll have an opportunity to do that, hopefully, sooner rather than later,” Thompson said. Added Ackles, “if you guys give us an opportunity to tell more of this story, I guarantee you’re going to see a lot more familiar faces.”

In addition to two episodes of Supernatural, McKinney’s TV credits include The Rookie, Once Upon a Time, Friday Night Lights, and ER.

The Winchesters, Tuesdays, 8/7c, The CW