Fans of Shameless have been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride since the ninth season premiered. Shortly before the season began, series staple Emmy Rossum made the unexpected announcement that she was leaving the show. The 32-year-old actress has played Fiona Gallagher since the beginning of the dark comedy, and though she didn't state her reason for leaving, it's likely to make time for other projects.
Fans were obviously crushed about Rossum's decision — though the show focuses on the entire Gallagher family, Fiona is undoubtedly the maternal figure that rallies her siblings together and states "Nothing is more important than family" like it's the Gallagher motto. With her exit, many are wondering where the show will go from there. That question is one that executive producer and showrunner John Wells has had to contemplate since her announcement. "It's painful, wonderful, exciting, and a little frightening," Wells admitted to The Hollywood Reporter. "We're rewriting the end of this season."
The Facebook post in which Rossum shared the news wasn't the first time that Wells heard about her wanting to leave. Admitting that he tried to deter her from exiting, Wells explained that Rossum had been considering an exit "for a while." While the showrunner said they would all miss having the actress on the show, he believes the series will live on after her exit. "There are a lot more Gallagher stories to tell," he said.
That doesn't mean Fiona is completely written off forever! Wells assured fans that the rewriting for the end of the season is being done "in a way that feels true to the show and also sets us up for more storytelling in the future." What does that mean, exactly? "Everything that we'll do with Fiona leaving and then hopefully returning at some point in the future — should Emmy choose to — will be based on that basic premise that these are damaged people who still really love each other and pull together to get through things," he explained.
The most important part of that, for those who have been anxiously wondering how Fiona will be making her exit, is that the ending will leave the possibility for Fiona to return. No death for the eldest Gallagher! In case anyone is still a little wary, Wells promised, "We're not going to hit her with a bus!" Though Wells didn't go into specifics about how Fiona's goodbye would go down, the Gallghers' onscreen dad, William H. Macy, had his own thoughts on how the family would handle the exit. "The family is growing up, and they don't need 'Mom' anymore," he said. "And Fiona was the mom. There's nothing holding her down."