'Chicago Fire' Boss Says There Will Be 'Cast Shake-Ups' in Season 9 (Exclusive)
By Philiana Ng
Warning: Do not proceed if you have not watched Wednesday's season finale of Chicago Fire. You are entering spoiler territory.
If Chicago Firedidn't feel like a finale, it's because it wasn't the intended season eight ending.
"We were five days into shooting [Wednesday's] episode when we found out it would be our last for the season. Luckily, we usually have a cliffhanger or two in an episode, so this one worked out," executive producer Derek Haas tells ET of how the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted plans. Haas hinted that the three remaining unproduced episodes of the season will likely "transfer" over to the beginning of season nine.
With the season cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, ET sent off our biggest finale questions to Haas over email about abandoning plans for the original Chicago Fire finale, why there won't be a Zoom episode, "turning up the heat" on Brett and Casey's relationship and big changes ahead in season nine.
ET: With Chicago Fire wrapped earlier than expected, how much did you have to tweak to ensure that Wednesday’s episode felt like a natural finale?
Derek Haas: We weren’t able to do anything. We were five days into shooting that episode when we found out it would be our last for the season. Luckily, we usually have a cliffhanger or two in an episode so this one worked out.
What were the early plans for the remaining episodes you weren’t able to produce?
I think we can transfer storylines we were going to begin in the last three episodes and adapt them to be season-starting storylines rather than season-ending ones.
What are you looking to move forward with and what are you potentially tweaking as a result of this long hiatus?
I’m looking forward to extending the Girls on Fire storyline for Kidd and also the Casey/Brett storyline as their friendship was growing stronger throughout Brett’s birth mother ordeal.
Let’s break down the episode, which introduces the possibility for a career change for Foster. How long has this desire to return to medical school been brewing inside her and will she go through with it if she gets into Northwestern?
We started teasing it back in the 10th episode this season, when she saw the picture of her graduating class from when she gave up on her med school dreams. It has been growing this whole time.
Speaking more broadly about Brett’s journey, she’s been put through the wringer this season, most recently with her birth mother dying in childbirth. How has this season changed her outlook on her life and her future?
Brett’s optimism is firmly ingrained so it is not going to weaken. Still, we’re probably going to be throwing even more at her in season nine. Poor Brett!
You’ve said before you’re approaching Brett and Casey’s relationship as a slow burn. Is now the time to bring them to the next level? What are your plans with them?
Yeah, we’re gonna turn up the heat on that one.
Kidd’s program for at-risk teens is a big hit and she’s a natural when it comes to mentoring young women. Where do you see her story going?
I think we’re going to see a very successful program, one that is going to affect the whole firehouse next season.
Does this accelerate any conversations with Severide about settling down in a more traditional way (i.e. getting married, having kids)?
Severide has been going in “guns blazing” on emergencies recently, and Casey and others are noticing. When is his “bull in a china shop” mentality going to come back to bite Severide and create an irreversible consequence?
Ha. I don’t know. Severide tends to sometimes act before he thinks. That will definitely explode into something bad for him and his career at some point.
Gallo and Violet struggled to properly define their relationship and by the end of their argument -- and with Gallo’s outburst suggesting they get married, things are left at a worse place than they began. What will it take for them to get on the same page? Who is in the right here?
Violet is in the right! Gallo has too many people talking to him and needs to get out of his own way. Unfortunately, he and Violet may not recover from this outburst.
On a lighter note, with everyone staying connected through video conferencing tools, have you toyed with the idea of a Zoom episode?
No, I don’t think those episodes other shows are talking about will be successful. It’s just not our style.
Since Fire will be sticking around for three more seasons, do you anticipate a cast shake-up during that window? And knowing the future is locked in, what freedom has that afforded you in arcing out the series?
It allows us to explore relationships and characters on a wider timeline than we’ve ever had. We can look seasons ahead instead of episodes ahead. And yes, we will definitely have more cast shake-ups in the coming season. It’s just part of the way we work to keep our audience on their toes. When viewers say, “It’ll never happen” on other shows, we want them to say, “It’s Chicago Fire… they might just do it.”
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