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Chicago Fire ended its seventh season with a blazing cliffhanger that left the lives of most of the characters is very real danger. Now, Chicago Fire has ended seasons on massive cliffhangers in the past, including one that seemed like it absolutely had to kill somebody off, only to keep all the major characters alive. Will that be the case with the Season 8 premiere, though?

Well, there are still a few more weeks before Season 8 of Chicago Fire hits the airwaves, but there are some clues about what's to come that we can examine to figure out some characters that definitely are not biting the dust, as well as figure out some who could be in danger of heading off to that great firehouse in the sky before the end of the Season 8 premiere.

Chicago Fire showrunner Derek Haas recently dropped some teases about what to expect from Season 8, and there's good news and bad news. Let's rip off the band-aid and start with the bad news. Haas described the Season 8 premiere as "really deadly," and also said this:

[The premiere is] going to be rough [and] devastating [and] as brutal as we’ve done in a premiere. It’s going to have fallout that’s going to stretch beyond the premiere.

I don't want to say that it sounds like one or more of the heroes of Firehouse 51 isn't making it out of the fire, but it totally sounds like at least one person is going to perish in the blaze.

Also, while Chicago Fire has resolved a seemingly deadly cliffhanger to reveal that nobody died in the past, it also delivered arguably the most devastating death of the series to date with the reveal of what happened to Shay in the Season 3 premiere.

Now, let's jump into the good news. Derek Haas also teased that after what happens in the premiere, Casey will have "more important matters" to think about beyond Brett's engagement to good old Chaplain Kyle in the Season 7 finale. Personally, I'll be thrilled if this marks the end of too-much-too-soon Brett/Casey, but that's not the only reason this counts as good news.

The comment suggests that both Casey and Brett survive, meaning that new EMT wasn't cast because Brett was killed. Two down! Derek Haas dropped another comment that is promising for fans of another romance and ruled out two more deaths, saying this to TVLine about Stella and Severide:

[They will be] rocks for each other while they’re dealing with other feelings and emotions and new responsibilities.

We can add Stella and Severide to Casey and Brett on the list of survivors! Admittedly, those are only four of a whole bunch of first responders who were on the scene of the fire. Luckily, there's at least one more character we can pretty safely say survives: Herrmann!

Casey, Severide, and Hermann will reportedly go looking for a new recruit in the form of Blake Gallo, played by Alberto Rosende of Shadowhunters fame.

Given that those three are the leaders of Truck, Squad, and Engine respectively, it makes sense that they would work together and perhaps even compete over the next firefighter to join Firehouse 51. Derek Haas said this about the dynamic as they bring Blake into the fold:

He’s a very energetic, high-risk firefighter they see from another company, and the three of them [have to] decide, ‘Would this guy be a good fit at 51?’ Especially in the face of what we [see] in the first episode, that’s going to be a question.

On the upside, we now know that Herrmann survives, along with Casey, Severide, Stella, and Brett. On the downside, Derek Haas' mention of the first episode is definitely foreboding.

While the party line at the moment is that the guys go looking for a new firefighter because the CFD has expanded the number of firefighters who can be on an apparatus, could that simply be how Fire is going about concealing the fact that somebody dies in the Season 8 premiere, leaving a vacancy that needs to be filled?

There are plenty of firefighters who are still unaccounted for, beyond the five current confirmed survivors. At this point, if somebody is going to die, my money is on good old Joe Cruz perishing. Although he's been around from the beginning and gone on a touching journey that led to a spot on Squad, Cruz isn't exactly one of the core characters of the series.

Throw in the fact that actor Joe Minoso recently nabbed a recurring role on Epix's Get Shorty and wasn't pictured when the stars of the Chicago shows got together to celebrate the start of production on the 2019-2020 TV season, and things aren't looking so hot -- or maybe too hot, in this case -- for Joe Cruz.

Now, we shouldn't start mourning Cruz (or any of the others) just yet. It's worth noting that the Chicago Med and Chicago P.D. didn't shy away from announcing the departures of their major characters, so it could stand to reason that Fire simply isn't getting rid of anybody because there were no announcements.

Some fans were undoubtedly burned by the heartbreaking Season 5 finale cliffhanger that all but promised a big death, only to not deliver and leave fans having stressed through hiatus for nothing. Will the Season 8 premiere go down like the Season 6 premiere, and reveal that there were no big deaths after all? Or will we get Shay 2.0 and have to deal with a heartbreaking death for the rest of the season?

Find out when Chicago Fire finally returns from its hiatus later this month. Season 8 premieres on Wednesday, September 25 in the middle of the huge Chicago block of programming in the fall TV lineup. Chicago Med premieres at 8 p.m. ET, Chicago Fire gets going at 9 p.m. ET, and Chicago P.D. closes out the night with its premiere at 10 p.m. ET, all on NBC.

Like Chicago Fire, Med ended its season finale in the spring with lives on line, and P.D. could be setting the stage for a divided Intelligence Unit (as well as a new romance within the team), so it should be a night of must-see TV.

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