Chicago Fire Boss Talks The Return Of Stella Kidd And Why Fans Should Be Worried

Chicago Fire is returning from a few weeks off to end 2021 with a holiday-themed winter finale, and fans shouldn’t head into the episode expecting just an hour of holly-jolly merriness at Firehouse 51. The episode, called “Winterfest,” will see the long-awaited return of a character who has been missing for several episodes and the stakes rising higher than ever when it comes to Stella, Severide, and Pelham. Fire showrunner Derek Haas spoke with CinemaBlend about what’s on the way in Season 10, and fans should evidently start worrying. 

Stella technically left Chicago for a good reason, as she was taking a furlough to expand the Girls on Fire program, but her absence and lack of communication are affecting Severide. Plus, the addition of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. alum Brett Dalton as the Truck lieutenant filling the vacant spot while she’s gone just complicates the issue further. Derek Haas opened up about how the winter finale will set up the second half of the season in 2022, including Miranda Rae Mayo back as Stella Kidd:

The finale is the beginning of, we get to see Kidd again, so you're going to start answering questions about why she's been gone. And a lot of questions she has to answer regarding, just personally, 'Why did you shut down on me?' is what Severide would like to know. And professionally, 'Why did you not come claim this lieutenant spot?' is what Boden wants to know. And so that becomes a big driving force of the next episode. And then this musical chairs game of there's a lieutenant seat open but not enough chairs, too many people and not enough chairs. So how's that going to work out at our firehouse? That doesn't mean everyone can stay. And so that becomes a driving force in the second half of the season.

The sadness of saying goodbye to Casey seemed to have the silver lining of opening up the officer spot on Truck 81 just in time for Stella to take, so her absence and silence have created a big mystery… and not one that Severide is exactly enjoying. When I asked how merry Severide will be feeling after first having to say goodbye to Casey and then Stella going silent on him, the showrunner shared:

I don't think he's too merry because he's been basically ignored by his fiancée when he's been trying to tell her, 'You need to get back here and claim your spot as lieutenant of Truck 81 if that's what you want.' And she hasn't responded, so he's frustrated in this episode.

For a long time, a spot as lieutenant at 51 seemed to be precisely what she wanted, and fans have no more insight about what exactly she has been doing (other than not communicating with her fiancé) than Severide does. And according to Derek Haas, that’s something to be uneasy about moving forward, based on his response when asked if fans should be worried that she hasn't been responding:

Yes, for sure. I think fans should be worried. Even on past this episode, I think they should be worried.

Well, at least that means Chicago Fire isn’t going to wrap this intriguing story for Stella (and Severide) within the span of the winter finale! The showrunner’s comments do suggest that fans will have reason to be on edge during the winter hiatus, but winter finales on Chicago Fire generally are not calm episodes from start to finish. Plus, Firehouse 51 already has a candidate who could take the spot as Truck lieutenant on a permanent basis. Derek Haas weighed in on whether Brett Dalton will be sticking around as Jason Pelham

He will, yeah. That's one of the big storylines in this finale is he's looking for a permanent place and we really like him. And he wants to be lieutenant at Firehouse 51 in the same spot that Stella should be planting her flag. So Boden's got some tough decisions to make. We'll definitely keep seeing Pelham as the season continues. We really like him.

Unfortunately for fans holding out hope that Stella would be able to swoop back in and easily claim the spot as Truck lieutenant, Pelham happens to be extremely competent at his job and is fitting in about as well at 51 as could be hoped for a newcomer. When I noted that there’s the conflict of Pelham as a great CFD officer while also being in line for the job that seemed destined for Stella, the showrunner explained:

Yeah, yeah, exactly. So that's a tough spot to be in, because he doesn't know Stella. I mean, he's heard about her and he knows that there's a place he's missing. He also came in right behind the most beloved Casey. So it's a little bit of shaky sand that he's standing on at the firehouse and he doesn't even know that Kidd and Severide are a couple. So there's a lot going on.

All things considered, it sounds like Chicago Fire is going to deliver plenty of twists when it comes to Stella, Severide, and Pelham to close out 2021. Be sure to tune in to NBC on Wednesday, December 8 at 9 p.m. ET to catch the winter finale of Chicago Fire, right between Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET. 

And fortunately, fans don’t have long to wait into 2022 to see whatever worrying developments happen next for Stella Kidd. Chicago Fire (along with Med and P.D.) will return to NBC with its winter premiere on Wednesday, January 5, so don’t forget to mark your calendars!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.