Variety has also learned that David Sutcliffe, who played Rory Gilmore’s (Alexis Bledel) father Chris, is also returning.
In addition to stars Bledel and Lauren Graham, Padalecki and Sutcliffe join previously announced returning cast members Milo Ventimiglia (Jess), Matt Czuchry (Logan), Liza Weil (Paris), Kelly Bishop (Emily), Sean Gunn (Kirk), Scott Patterson (Luke), Keiko Agena (Lane) and Yanic Truesdale (Michel). Sutton Foster, who starred in “Bunheads” from “Gilmore Girls” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, has also joined the Netflix project, the first new actor to be added to the cast alongside the show’s returning favorites.
With Padalecki’s return, Rory will be reuniting with all three of her exes in the revival series: Dean (Padalecki), Jess (Ventimiglia) and Logan (Czuchry).
Padalecki was part of the original series from the pilot, going on to become Rory’s first serious boyfriend and the partner with whom she eventually lost her virginity, despite Dean being married to another woman at the time. The duo were on again/off again for several seasons, with Padalecki making his final appearance in Season 5 before going on to star in another drama — “Supernatural” — for what was then the WB network (now The CW). Now in its eleventh season, Padalecki has been on the fan-favorite show ever since, playing Sam Winchester, who fights demons and paranormal phenomena alongside his brother — also ironically called Dean — played by Jensen Ackles.
Sutcliffe appeared in 37 episodes of “Gilmore Girls” throughout all seven seasons, in which he played Christopher Hayden, Rory’s father and Lorelai’s (Graham) ex.
As for Padalecki’s current work commitments, both “Supernatural” and the “Gilmore Girls” revival are produced by Warner Bros. Television, and the studio likely had a hand in freeing up his busy schedule to accommodate his “Gilmore” return — especially since “Supernatural” films in Vancouver, while “Gilmore Girls” is shooting in Los Angeles. Fellow “Gilmore” alum Weil is also on a hit broadcast show — ABC’s “How To Get Away with Murder” — but the drama wrapped shooting on its sophomore season this week, freeing up her schedule to join the “Gilmore Girls” set this Tuesday.
Netflix’s “Gilmore Girls” comeback consists of four separate 90-minute episodes, each representing a season of the calendar year, though it has not yet been determined in which, or how many, episodes Padalecki and Sutcliffe will appear.
A premiere date for Netflix’s “Gilmore Girls” revival has yet to be announced.
Update, 10:42 a.m: Danny Strong will also return to “Gilmore Girls,” reprising his role as Doyle, Variety has confirmed. The casting — first tweeted by @GilmoreGuysShow, the account for the podcast of the same name — is a clue that Paris (Liza Weil) and Doyle are still together years later. Nowadays, Strong is exec producer on “Empire,” which he co-created.