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Shameless fans were already reeling from the news Emmy Rossum was exiting the program when they were hit with another bombshell regarding another actor's departure. Cameron Monaghan announced he would be exiting the series ahead of what was said to be his final episode as Ian Gallagher. Executive producer John Wells shared some background on Monaghan's departure, and whether or not there's a chance Ian Gallagher will ever appear on Shameless again.
[He] knows that he is much beloved and welcome back any time. We certainly hope he wants to come back and do more [episodes]. [He's] young and looking around at the world and wanting to know what to do next, and we have nothing but admiration and [are] proud of him. We watched him grow up and turn into a great young man.
John Wells indicated the door is always open for Cameron Monaghan to return to Shameless, and the executive producer gets why he's wanting to move on. Monaghan's spent a decade on the program, so Wells seems to understand why he would like to try something new. Monaghan's rise in star power thanks to Shameless and Gotham may make him a hot commodity in Hollywood, especially seeing as he'll be free from his acting obligation to the latter soon.
John Wells told TVline he and the Shameless crew understand the actor's concerns, which may be why they gave Ian a somewhat happy ending that could be revisited if Monaghan returned. Ian ended up serving his jail sentence for his role in blowing up a van in protest of conversion therapy, but ended up bunkmates with former boyfriend Mickey. The two shared a tender kiss that could close out Ian's story for good, or be the start of yet another one.
It feels as though it wouldn't be hard to squeeze in a couple Ian appearances in future seasons, if Cameron Monaghan is willing. The show could check in while he serves his two-year jail sentence, and follow up on how things are going between he and Mickey. This video shows they've had an up and down relationship throughout the years, so it wouldn't be surprising to learn the honeymoon was over between the two after months as bunkmates.
Another idea is that Shameless could do an episode when Ian's jail sentence is up, which would give Cameron Monaghan more time to spread his wings and get into other projects. Of course, that's reliant on Shameless remaining on television another two seasons, although the Showtime drama hasn't had a hard time staying on television thus far. It may be somewhat harder for the series to snag renewals going forward without Monaghan and Emmy Rossum keeping fans entertained, so there's really no telling what could happen next.
Shameless will return for the second half of Season 9 on Showtime Sunday, January 20. For a look at some of the major programs coming to television before then, head on over to our fall premiere guide.