When 9-1-1: Lone Star returns for its second season on Fox in January, it will be without one familiar face. In September, actress Liv Tyler announced that despite a multi-year contract, she would be leaving the Fox procedural after just a single season, leaving many fans to wonder why she had made the abrupt exit.
The actress' decision to depart the series, according to Deadline, was influenced by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has affected several series and led to numerous cancellations. Tyler currently lives in London with her partner and two young children, and throughout Season 1, she would have to commute to Los Angeles for filming, a transatlantic commute she would again have to make for Season 2 frequently. The pandemic, however, has notably complicated travel and made doing so far riskier than usual. As coronavirus began to rise again, Tyler reportedly began reconsidering her role in Season 2. The rise in cases meant an increased threat of another travel ban or more mandatory quarantines, which would not only impact the series’ production but could also prevent Tyler from returning home to her family, forcing her to spend weeks away from them. Although she had a standard multi-year contract, Tyler has approached the producers over the summer about leaving 9-1-1: Lone Star due to the pandemic and her transatlantic travel.
Thankfully for fans, Tyler's exit doesn’t mean that any chance of seeing Michelle Blake back on screens at some point in the future is out of the question. However, she may not be returning for Season 2, whose character is not being written off in a way that would bring a finalized and concrete end to her storyline, making it impossible for her to return. Instead, Tim Minear, 9-1-1: Lone Star's co-creator, executive producer, and showrunner, said when confirming Tyler's departure that she would always be welcomed back.
"What a thrill it was having a movie star of Liv Tyler's stature to help us launch the first season of 9-1-1: Lone Star," Minear said. "We loved working with Liv and will be forever indebted to her for her haunting, powerful portrayal of Michelle Blake. While we were able to tell a complete chapter in Michelle's story, as with Connie Britton on our mothership, we also feel like there are more stories to be told. The door here will always be open for a return."
9-1-1: Lone Star Season 2 is set to debut sometime in January 2021, with new episodes airing on Monday, according to Fox’s January programming lineup, as reported by Deadline. An exact premiere date has not yet been announced.