Former Chicago Fire star Annie Ilonzeh tweeted to her fans on Monday, checking in with how they were holding up during quarantine. It also marks one of the first times the actor has addressed fans since it was announced she was leaving the firefighter procedural back in April. "Hey guys, checking in with everyone," Ilonzeh wrote. "How y'all doin?! I'm about to jump outta bed and get productive." She added that her itinerary included the treadmill, the sauna, and then writing.
Ilonzeh, who played easy-going med student Emily Foster, joined the cast of Chicago Fire at the start of Season 7. She was initially hired as a recurring star but ended up getting promoted to series regular before the season even started filming. By the time Season 8 rolled around, Emily chose to apply to medical school again and was seen making a speech to the Northwestern University admission committee, which gave her character a dignified exit after her two seasons on the show.
Hey guys, checking in with everyone.— Annie Ilonzeh (@AnnieIlonzeh) May 4, 2020
How y’all doin?!
I’m about to jump outta bed and get productive.
Showrunner Derek Haas told Entertainment Tonight in April that the episode that ended up as the Season 8 finale wasn't intended as such, but like a lot of productions, the shutdown forced them to readjust their schedule. "We were five days into shooting [Wednesday's] episode when we found out it would be our last for the season," Haas said. "Luckily, we usually have a cliffhanger or two in an episode, so this one worked out."
There was also the comfort knowing that Chicago Fire, like the other two Chicago-based dramas, had been renewed for an unprecedented three seasons each, which was all part of creator Dick Wolf's massive $300 million deal with NBCUniversal and its upcoming streaming app, Peacock.
Haas said that the shutdown "allows us to explore relationships and characters on a wider timeline than we've ever had," which also comes from knowing there are still at least three seasons to go. "We can look seasons ahead instead of episodes ahead. And yes, we will definitely have more cast shake-ups in the coming season. It's just part of the way we work to keep our audience on their toes. When viewers say, 'It'll never happen' on other shows, we want them to say, 'It's Chicago Fire… they might just do it.'"