‘Castle’ Producers Heading For A Spin-Off Without Stars Stana Katic And Nathan Fillion?

Warning: This article contains spoilers for the mid-season premiere of Castle.

For eight years, Castle has delighted fans with the idea of mystery novelist turned criminal investigator, Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), and his partner and police detective/captain, Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), but ABC may be making some drastic changes. What once seemed like an off the cuff comment made at convention round tables now appears to be more than idle chit chat with the studio working with producers to look at alternatives to the current Castle offering. The idea of a spin-off without stars Fillion and Katic seems more and more probable, as studio heads and executive producers explore the idea of expanding the Castle universe.

What Castle‘s Next Episode, “Tone Death,” Says About The Possibility Of A Spin-Off

Why is Kate hiding? #Castle

A photo posted by abccastle (@abccastle) on

When Castle returns with the mid-season premiere, fans will find that Richard and Kate have again been brought together, when a body turns up in the theater, where Martha (Susan Sullivan) last performed. The investigation leads the duo to discover just how dangerous the world of competitive acapella can really be. In the midst of this case, there will be some flirty, romantic moments between Castle and Beckett, revealing that the couple has secretly reignited their passion, as well as their working partnership.

“There’s a lot of lost time to make up for, so to speak, in the bedroom. So there is some friskiness,” teases Castle co-showrunner Alexi Hawley.

The episode will also feature Castle testifying in a courtroom for the first time, which will lead to a trip down memory lane for long-time fans of the series.

“I think it will be a treat for our longtime fans,” said co-showrunner Terence Paul Winter, “because it refers to several things that have happened in the last few years.”

It may indeed allow fans to relive some of the best moments from the show’s eight-year run, but it might also be seen as a kind of an eulogy for the series, if plans are to take the story in a different direction with a new spin-off series. Flashbacks and related narrations might be used to remind fans of the early days of the series and how well it has endured, as they prepare to offer something new yet similar to viewers. It may be the studio’s hopes that audiences will keep open minds, as ABC moves forward, possibly without stars Nathan Fillion and co-star Stana Katic.

The Castle Season Finale May Lead To A New Series, Leaving Richard Castle And Kate Beckett In The Past

That look is everything. #Caskett ALWAYS!

A photo posted by abccastle (@abccastle) on

At a recent T.C.A. press conference, ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee commented that the studio was very interested to hang on to Castle longer, even without stars Fillion and Katic, leading fans to worry that the network was looking for ways to introduce new leads and perhaps eliminate the current main characters of the show. Now, Lee has added to his comments that implies Nathan and Stana have not yet confirmed their interest in returning for Season 9, stating that the studio has been working with producers on ideas of how to continue the series without its most beloved stars.

“If we had a choice, it would be the same cast, it would be the same show,” Ms. Hawley said, speaking of the continuation of Castle. “Both of us are very invested in this, and we understand that Castle has always been about Rick and Kate. So the idea of that is daunting, and we’re rooting against that.”

Even if one or more of the Castle stars declines to return for Season 9, the show’s producers have confirmed that ABC is still interested in continuing the prime series. There has been no specific mention on how that would be done, but, presumably, one or more of the supporting characters would be promoted into the show’s open lead positions. It also seems likely that new actors with large fanbases might also be brought in to fill the open roles.

Castle, starring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, will return on Monday, February 1 on ABC.

[Featured image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]