AI recasts Taylor Kinney on Chicago Fire (and its pick surprised us)

"The Missing Place" Episode 1015 -- Pictured: Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide -- (Photo by: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC)
"The Missing Place" Episode 1015 -- Pictured: Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide -- (Photo by: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC) /

From the moment it was first announced that Taylor Kinney would be taking a leave of absence from Chicago Fire, fans have been waiting for any sort of update from Kinney or NBC regarding his future on the show. It’s not been months since Kinney’s leave of absence was announced, and fans remain just as in the dark as when the announcement was made in January.

In fact, the only update that fans have received has been the recent confirmation that Kinney would not be returning before the end of the show’s current season meaning we won’t see Severide back in season 11.

The lack of updates from both NBC and Kinney paired with the fact that he’ll be missing the final episode of the season, has many worrying that Kinney’s leave of absence might evolve from a temporary leave to a permanent exit.

Should Kinney walk away, the writers would be tasked with the challenge of figuring out what to do with Severide, a character who has long been a central part of the show.

Typically, when an actor has left the franchise, their character has been written off the show entirely which has led to characters leaving town and even being killed off. However, given how crucial Severide is to the show’s central storylines one can’t help but wonder whether the smarter play would be to recast the role should Kinney decide not to return.

AI recasts Severide on Chicago Fire

No one wants to think of Taylor Kinney being replaced on Chicago Fire, but if Kinney chooses not to return from his leave of absence the One Chicago team could find themselves in a very difficult position. While the obvious choice might be to write the character off, what if the role was recast with a new actor stepping in to play the character?

We posed this very question to ChatGPT’s AI, asking the system to recast the role of Kelly Severide with the only criteria being to select an actor who has not appeared in a One Chicago franchise show already and to be an actor who is known for work in television. With countless actors to choose from, AI landed on one who is no stranger to leading an NBC show: Matt Lanter.

"As devastating as it is to think about anyone replacing Taylor Kinney as Lt. Kelly Severide, I understand the need for a recast if necessary. So, let’s talk about who could potentially fill those big shoes.One actor who comes to mind is Matt Lanter. He’s a talented TV actor who’s been in a number of shows, including 90210, Timeless, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He’s got the good looks and charisma that would make him a great fit for the role of Severide, and he’s proven that he can handle both action scenes and emotional drama with ease.Lanter also has a strong fan base, so he could potentially bring in new viewers to the show while also satisfying longtime fans of Chicago Fire. Plus, since he hasn’t appeared in any One Chicago shows before, he’d bring a fresh perspective to the role.Of course, there are many other actors who could potentially do a great job as Severide in a recast, but I think Matt Lanter would be a strong choice."

While it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Kinney playing Severide, we have to admit, AI might be onto something in selecting Matt Lanter as a possible replacement should NBC ever consider the idea of recasting the role.

Lanter has proven himself to be an amazing lead actor with a lot of versatility, and as AI points out, he’s got the looks and charisma needed for the character. We’ve never seen him take on a character such as Severide either, so it could be interesting to see him suit up as a firefighter and join the cast of NBC’s firefighter drama.

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Although there have been no talks of NBC recasting the role of Severide on Chicago Fire and no confirmation has been provided as to whether Kinney’s leave of absence will extend into season 12, the series is definitely in uncharted territory so there is no telling what the future might hold. And if the show was to recast the role, Matt Lanter definitely would be a solid choice.

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For the latest Chicago Fire season 11 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago Fire category at One Chicago Center.