DC Universe's latest series Doom Patrol has added to its already impressive roster of stars, with veteran actor Mark Sheppard joining the cast as Willoughby Kipling. First debuting on DC Universe's inaugural show, Titans, the eclectic members of Doom Patrol have since taken center stage in their own positively received spinoff. Sheppard is, of course, no stranger to genre-based shows and frequent cult favorites. One of his earliest roles saw him antagonizing Mulder and Scully for an episode of The X-Files. In the proceeding years, the British-born actor has featured in everything from Firefly and Battlestar Galactica to Doctor Who and a lengthy tenure as Crowley on Supernatural.
Kipling, meanwhile, first debuted in Doom Patrol #31 back in 1990. His role in the comic was originally intended for the Hellblazer himself, John Constantine. After he was refused permission to use the character, Grant Morrison teamed with artist Richard Case to create a new, albeit similar, character to fill the void. Described as a coward with a penchant for bizarre forms of black magic, Kipling is an agent of the Knights Templar and a self-proclaimed expert on the occult. Despite his cowardice and reputation for being a dirtier, angrier, more alcoholic version of Constantine, Kipling has still helped the team save the world upon occasion.
Sheppard has been teasing fans in recent weeks regarding an upcoming project, including using cryptic hints on social media. As reported by CBR, Sheppard has finally been allowed to confirm his role in the DC adaptation. Kipling, in all his ramshackle glory, will apparently conscript the unconventional team into helping him prevent a mystical apocalypse. The character can also be glimpsed in a brief teaser for the next episode, which looks set to also include an angry cake-wielding mother, a creepy faction in robes, and Elasti-Woman furious about beads. Although an ominous entity referred to as The Decreator will soon be summoned, and will apparently unmake the world, Robotman remains hilariously nonchalant. Check it out:
Sheppard has already been full of praise regarding his experience working on the show. "Surrounded by an amazing cast and crew, I have relished every minute of playing this new character," he said. It will hardly come as a surprise to followers of his work. Sheppard's appearance comes with a whole wealth of nostalgic reunion potential. Not only did Doom Patrol showrunner Jeremy Carver work on the show during Sheppard's run as Crowley, but both the idea and voice for Ezekiel the Cockroach has Supernatural ties. The actor has even worked opposite Matt Bomer (Negative Man) on White Collar and starred alongside Alan Tudyk (the villainous Mr. Nobody) on the aforementioned Firefly. Although Sheppard doesn't fit the description of his comic book counterpart in appearance, he more than has the range and requisite gruff, British charm to do the character justice.
It remains to be seen just how the team deals with more mystical-oriented threats following the more science-fiction exploits they've faced of late. With little mention of the first few installments, it could be that this episode will serve as something of a standalone respite from the main story. As such, it's equally unclear how many episodes fans can expect Sheppard to turn up in. It'll no doubt be dependent on how the character is received, but it's hard to imagine a character played by Sheppard as being a one and done guest-star - whether he'll return during season 1 or further down the line. Especially given that the infamously slippery and duplicitous character could go in any number of directions. Whatever the case, fans will no doubt rejoice at the chance to see the actor potentially add another cult favorite character to his repertoire.
Doom Patrol continues with "Cult Patrol" on March 8, 2019, on DC Universe.