Will Chicago Fire recast Kelly Severide in season 12?

CHICAGO FIRE -- "The Center of The Universe" Episode 1104 -- Pictured: Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide -- (Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "The Center of The Universe" Episode 1104 -- Pictured: Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide -- (Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC) /

We’re not really sure what’s going on with Kelly Severide. The last we heard of him, he had graduated from his arson investigation program and was traveling with the ATF to help out with an undisclosed investigation. He didn’t tell any of his to his wife, Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo), mind you; she had to find out from Cruz (Joe Minoso) right before Chicago Fire wrapped up season 11.

Frankly, we’re as confused as Kidd. It seems out of character for Severide to make such a massive decision without letting his wife know, and it’s difficult to ignore the fact that Chicago Fire writers are having to deal with the fact that the actor who plays Severide, Taylor Kinney, went on a sudden leave of absence without an idea of when he would return.

Did Taylor Kinney leave Chicago Fire?

This puts the show in a tricky situation. It can either keep Severide offscreen, as they did for the back end of season 11, write him off the show entirely, or recast the part if Kinney decides not to come back. The first two options have been discussed throughout the entire summer, but the third has gotten less attention. Would recasting work? Would the fans accept it?

Recasting is never an easy decision. Fans get just as attached to the actor as they do the character and in many instances, the appeal of one bleeds over into the other. This is certainly the case with Kinney. The actor’s gruffness and charisma are part of what has made Severide such an important figure on Chicago Fire, so the idea of erasing that and asking another actor to step into his shoes is daunting. If fans aren’t sold, then it could mean ruining Severide’s legacy.

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Conversely, if Kinney decides to walk for good, and Severide is written off, then the show will have to decide whether or not to write off Kidd or have her separate from the firefighter. Separation, on the heels of getting married, is a narrative decision that has not panned out well for Chicago PD (the fans have not been especially receptive to Jay Halstead’s exit/offscreen behavior), so we imagine the show would avoid a repeat.

Hopefully Kinney returns, and we can get Severide back the way we remember him. If that doesn’t pan out, however, the writers and producers of the show will be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

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