“Whaddayamean Gabriel’s a girl?!?”
That is, without a doubt, the number one reaction I get when discussing the screenplay and book to Archangels: Book I (© Copyright 2013). It reminds me of that line in the movie Roadhouse when Patrick Swayze’s character is often told, “I thought you’d be bigger.” In other words, I have come to expect this response, and I don’t blame a single person for it, for throughout all of history, Gabriel has always been depicted as a man.
The archangel Gabriel—whose name means “strength of God”—is the most well-known angel ever mentioned in scripture. He is the “Great Messenger” often depicted as the angel that will herald the seven plagues of Armageddon with the sound of his trumpet:
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God…” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
In the Old Testament, Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel to interpret his visions. In the text, Gabriel is described as a “man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude” (Daniel 10: 6).
In the New Testament, Gabriel is mentioned several times, first appearing to Zechariah:
“I am Gabriel. I stand n the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell this good news.” (Luke 1:19).
Then to the Virgin Mary:
“The angel went to her and said, ‘Greeting, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’” (Luke 1:28).
And finally, to the shepherds:
“An angel of the Lord appeared to them….’Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people…” (Luke 2: 8).
Theologians have also argued that Gabriel was one of the three visitors that appeared to Abraham and Sarah to reveal to them they will bear a son within a year’s time (Genesis 18:2), as well as the angel that visited Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane to comfort him the night of the Passion:
“An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him” (Luke 22: 43).
But outside of Judaism and Christianity, Gabriel is of extreme importance in Islam. It was the angel Gabriel (Jibril or Jibrail) who recited the Qur’an to the prophet Muhammed in a cave, Hira’a, near Mecca.
Taking into account all the descriptions of Gabriel throughout history, why is he a girl in Archangels?
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As an actor and writer, it is the relationship between the characters that, in my mind, drives a story and keeps the audience interested in the tale you are trying to tell or in the character you are playing. When writing the screenplay and then the book, the relationship between good versus evil is a dominant theme between the idea of Heaven and Hell, God and the Devil, and free will versus imposing one’s will over another. In order to capture that idea, I felt it was a necessary element to elevate the relationship between Gabriel and Lucifer into one that many people can relate to: that between a man and a woman.
How often have we read, heard or seen stories of mothers weeping over their sons who made horrific choices, or women staying in abusive relationships either with a boyfriend or husband, or even bearing witness to addictions in your brothers or sisters or very best friends? Love is a dominant theme in Christianity, and women have often been the bearers of love in the world. So what happens in a woman’s world when the one they love—whether it be a brother, husband, father, son, boyfriend or friend—makes the wrong choice, the one where you see the doom at the end of the tunnel and you try with everything within you to get that loved one to choose the light instead…and then they don’t? That relationship and understanding could only best be told, in my mind, when looking at the relationship between a male and a female—Lucifer and Gabriel.
May this choice be one others can relate to—as I know it has for me.
-Written by: #CorinaMarie
(Corina Marie is an actress, producer and screenwriter.)