Chicago Fire may not have gotten the Season 8 ending the showrunners had planned, but it's setting the scene for "shake-ups" of the cast and plot in Season 9. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight after Wednesday's season finale, executive producer Derek Haas revealed that there had to be some last-minute scrambling as Hollywood productions shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic last month.
"We were five days into shooting [Wednesday's] episode when we found out it would be our last for the season. Luckily, we usually have a cliffhanger or two in an episode, so this one worked out," Haas said of how the virus had disrupted plans for the season. He also hinted that the remaining drama from the unproduced episodes would "transfer" over to the beginning of Season 9, as they were unable to wrap up the storylines they originally planned for before the shut-down. He explained of the current production plan, "I think we can transfer storylines we were going to begin in the last three episodes and adapt them to be season-starting storylines rather than season-ending ones."
Haas added that while production might have been suspended, there are still plans being made for what's to come next season. "I’m looking forward to extending the Girls on Fire storyline for Kidd and also the Casey/Brett storyline as their friendship was growing stronger throughout Brett’s birth mother ordeal," he said.
With Chicago Fire having another three seasons already ordered on NBC, Haas said there has been a certain freedom afforded the creative team in both shaking up the characters' overarching character arcs and also shaking up the cast in general, all as a way to keep the stakes high for their viewers. Haas told ET, "It allows us to explore relationships and characters on a wider timeline than we’ve ever had. 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.'"