Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) is back on Chicago Fire, after missing the final stretch of episodes in season 11. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that the character would return to the fold, given how important a role he plays at Firehouse 51.
Apparently, Severide's return was not always guaranteed. There was a window of time in which the character was being considered for a spin-off series, which would have seen him leave his full-time gig with Chicago Fire.
A One Chicago spin-off was discussed with Severide
There were fan theories that posited Severide's interest in arson investigation as a way to set up a fourth One Chicago series, but a recent interview between Fire showrunner Andrea Newman and Hello! Magazine officially confirmed it.
Newman told the outlet that she briefly considered breaking the character off from the rest of the 51 characters, but that he was too important to the appeal of the show to remove entirely:
""We have [considered it] but having lost Severide for a bit [in season 11], it was a reminder of what a critical part of 51 he is.""
It's tough to conceive of a world in which Severide was absent from Chicago Fire, but we do have to admit that it sounds interesting. The character has really embraced arson investigation in recent years, to the point where firefighting seems like a secondary interest.
Chicago Fire boss decided against the spin-off
The franchise has actually attempted a similar move in the past. Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda) was a very popular character on Chicago PD, and it was decided that he would move over and lead Chicago Justice. It looked like a good move on paper, but Justice was cancelled after only one season, and Dawson briefly returned to PD.
Severide dealing with cases has become a highlight of recent seasons, and while the notion of him leading an arson investigation team is something we wouldn't mind seeing, it's understandable that Newman would want to prioritize the longevity of Chicago Fire over a risky spin-off.
Fortunately, we will be getting plenty of arson investigating in Fire season 12. Newman told Hello! Magazine that Severide's struggle to balance his newfound passion with his firefighting job leads to some tension during the first leg of the season.
""It becomes a danger zone for him in some ways — but he also loves it and obviously has the skills for it. So that struggle will be a big part of the first few episodes of the season.""
We probably won't be getting the Severide spin-off, but it's an encouraging sign that NBC is still considering adding a fourth show to the franchise!