How Chicago Fire Will Pick Up Season 10 After The 'Personal' Cliffhanger For Stella And Severide, According To The Showrunner

taylor kinney as kelly severide chicago fire season 10
(Image credit: NBC)

Warning: spoilers ahead for the midseason finale of Chicago Fire Season 10 on NBC, called “Winterfest.”

The winter finale of Chicago Fire delivered some big twists, but Season 10 didn’t go for the kind of life-or-death cliffhanger that has left fans on the edges of their seats for weeks. Instead of ending with any deadly infernos or potential cave-ins or floods, the biggest cliffhanger of “Winterfest” involved Stella and Severide’s relationship. Severide has been missing her ever since her Girls on Fire trip started getting longer and longer, and she stopped answering his calls and texts. She finally turned up at the end of “Winterfest,” but it wasn’t exactly a joyous reunion. Showrunner Derek Haas shed some light on what happens next following the Stellaride cliffhanger!

Stella only appeared in the final moments of the midseason finale, when Severide returned to the loft only to find her standing there surrounded by her luggage. While I was reminded of the shot of Monica Raymund’s Dawson saying her goodbye to Casey before leaving for Puerto Rico, it’s probably safe to say that the story for Stella will go in a very different direction, and fans will get to see exactly what happens next. When I asked Derek Haas about a time jump between the midseason finale and winter premiere, he shared:

It's gonna pick up right behind this scene that you just saw.

On the one hand, fans have the good news that Chicago Fire isn’t going to jump a few weeks ahead from what seemed to be a tense reunion between the engaged couple. On the other hand… Severide didn’t exactly run to her and sweep her off her feet, and she didn’t race over to him. When asked how nervous fans should be for Stellaride after their reunion, the showrunner previewed:

I would say nervous. That'd be a good way. Fans of the two of them should be nervous for sure.

Well, that’s troubling news considering Chicago Fire is heading into hiatus instead of revealing what happens next as soon as next Wednesday! Still, Chicago Fire isn’t known for delivering finales that are 100% calm and cool, and even a holiday-themed episode couldn’t be an hour of holly-jolliness! 

In fact, it was a bit of a departure that Fire didn’t deliver a life-or-death cliffhanger. Derek Haas explained the decision to end the first half of Season 10 on a “personal” cliffhanger rather than one that leaves the fates of beloved characters uncertain, saying:

You gotta moderate them out. Weirdly, this episode more than some of our other winter finales was isolated by itself in that the eighth episode aired three weeks ago, then we have this episode, then you're off for three weeks. And so just by nature of that it just felt like you could do its own thing. It could just be this holiday episode. And we had just done this gigantic cliffhanger to kick off this season. So we thought, do we need to do all the firefighters in jeopardy? No, let's make it more personal. Sometimes the smaller ones are just as effective, you know?

It really wasn’t that long ago that the entire Squad of Firehouse 51 was trapped at the bottom of Lake Michigan with seemingly no way to surface before they drowned, so it might have been a little soon for something horrible to happen again. Plus, losing Jesse Spencer as Casey was a blow despite Fire finding a way to say goodbye to the character without killing him off. There’s still tension with the Stellaride cliffhanger, but at least neither of them is in imminent danger! 

And it’s a good sign that Miranda Rae Mayo is finally back as Stella Kidd. Based on some further comments from Derek Haas, viewers don’t have to be nervous that she’s just dropping in for a cameo before leaving again. The showrunner shared:

We started talking about it several months ago... I thought I was only going to get Miranda, the actress, back for Episode 10. So we were going to start the story there. But then when I found out she could be available for 9, then we thought, 'Oh, if we could just get it for one scene in 9, then we can just tease it going into the longer break.' So I was really happy that she was able to do that. And then just from a personal standpoint, watched Episode 10 now, having Miranda back is awesome. She's so good at playing this part, and so it's really fun to see her back in action in Firehouse 51 again. It's not to say it's gonna be all smooth sailing for the character [laughs], but I just love watching the actress work.

Miranda Rae Mayo is apparently back and sticking around! Her availability earlier than Derek Haas expected enabled Chicago Fire to deliver a taste of Stellaride, beyond Severide trying to contact her about why she hasn’t come back to claim the position as Truck 81 lieutenant that she seemed downright destined for after Casey left. And since she’ll be “in action at Firehouse 51 again,” that presumably means that she’ll be back on Truck working under Brett Dalton’s Lt. Pelham. 

Derek Haas previously confirmed that Brett Dalton isn’t going anywhere, so it seems safe to say that Stella won’t waltz back in to 51 and take the spot as lieutenant, if that’s even what she still wants. See what happens next when Chicago Fire returns for the second half of Season 10 on Wednesday, January 5 at 9 p.m. ET, between the winter premieres of Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. Based on the events (and cliffhanger) of Chicago Med in 2021 and what’s been happening on P.D., fans should be sure to tune in! 

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. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).