In a stunning development, ABC has announced that the ninth season of their hit crime drama Castle will not include Stana Katic or Tamala Jones. Yes, you read that right. Beckett and Lanie are leaving. Fans of the show, both new and old, are left shocked at this news. The pivotal, badass detective we’ve come to know and love will no longer costar alongside Nathan Fillion. This decision was not made lightly, nor was it Katic’s.
The crime-fighting duo of Richard Castle and Kate Beckett has been one of the most popular TV icons ever since the show’s debut in 2009. Their Will They?/Won’t They? dynamic was the foundation for the show’s first 4 seasons, on top of its clever writing. Fans cheered when the show finally answered “They will” at the end of Season 4, which makes this turn of events all the more heartbreaking.
“Budgetary restrictions” was the explanation ABC gave for the decision, but rumor has it that Katic had other motives. Alleged “inside sources” have reported more than once that despite their adorable on-screen relationship, Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic have strained relations in real life. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Katic had been unhappy on the series and has had repeated clashes with lead Fillion.” Fans speculate that their struggle finally reached its breaking point. Neither star has commented on the reason behind this decision.
But the ulterior motive for Katic’s departure is a case to be solved another day. The question fans face now: can the show go on without Beckett? It will definitely never be the same, but as cast member Molly C. Quinn (Alexis Castle) tweeted the other day, “It’ll be different, way way way different, but it is Castle. Nathan Fillion IS Castle.”
The character of Rick Castle has been the other reason for the show’s success. Having moved up from mystery writer to private investigator, Rick has proven to be a badass in his own right. All the same, a crime-fighter is only as good as his partner. Where could the series go with just one half of its iconic duo?
The Truth about LokSat
This season started with Beckett vanishing following her promotion to Captain, which launched her overarching investigation into a dangerous figure known only as “LokSat.” Upon Katic’s departure, the show’s writers revealed that they wrote two different endings for Season 8. One of them will revolve around the LokSat storyline, the other will wrap up the series overall. If Season 9 is ordered, then the former ending will air. This high-stakes finale may very well explain Beckett’s absence in the following season.
It could also serve as the basis for the forthcoming season: Castle picking up where Beckett left off. Due to the show’s financial restrictions, the next season is rumored to be comprised of only 13 episodes. This sounds like the ideal length for a final season and may very well bring the LokSat intrigue to a close.
Exit Beckett, Enter Alexis?
As much of a shock as Beckett’s departure is to fans and cast alike, it presents other characters with new opportunities. Alexis Castle, Rick’s smart and studious daughter, is a fan-favorite on the show, having helped Castle and Beckett solve a case on more than one occasion. Alexis looks up to both of them, which is why we see her working at her father’s PI office this season. With hints dropping as early as Season 2, fans have long speculated that Molly Quinn may succeed Katic and even Fillion as the show’s star, and now that Beckett is leaving, Alexis may finally have her shot. Of course, as Quinn said herself, there is no Castle without Fillion. So however short Season 9 may be, we’ll definitely be seeing a lot more Father/Daughter crime-solving. Who knows? Maybe Alexis will follow in her step-mother’s footsteps and join the NYPD.
These are just my meager thoughts after sifting through the endless fan rumors and reactions in the wake of this news. What are your thoughts? Do you think the show can go on without Beckett? The internet will continue to feud over the “real” reason why Katic is leaving, but if there’s one thing fans can agree on, it’s that Detective Kate Beckett has made the show what it is. Whatever comes next, her fiercely loyal and determined spirit has been and will be an integral part of Castle. Always.