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9-1-1: Lone Star debuted on Fox as a spinoff of the successful 9-1-1, but there was no saying how the new show would do with so few connections to the parent series compared to other TV shared universes. When the show landed a couple of big-name actors in Liv Tyler and Rob Lowe to star and scored a second season coming off of great ratings in Season 1, however, the future seemed bright. Sadly, one star is now leaving the show ahead of Season 2. Lone Star is losing Liv Tyler.
Liv Tyler is leaving 9-1-1: Lone Star despite fans having every reason to expect that she would be back as Michelle Blake in Season 2, but Deadline reports that Tyler is leaving the show due to the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the world rather than any story reasons. Tyler lives in London with her partner and two young children, and she commuted between London and Los Angeles to work on Lone Star Season 1.
Attempting to travel back and forth between London and L.A. for Season 2 would have been risky for Liv Tyler's health and the health of those around her, and a potential travel ban could have meant she was either stuck away from her family or production would be stuck without its female lead. Tyler reportedly approached producers about leaving 9-1-1: Lone Star despite her multi-year contract over the summer.
While 9-1-1: Lone Star fans will undoubtedly be bummed to lose Liv Tyler so abruptly, Michelle Blake's story in Season 1 at least didn't end on a cliffhanger. Also, Lone Star will not be recasting Tyler's character, so it's entirely possible that she could reprise her role at some point. Connie Britton returned to 9-1-1 as a guest after her post-Season 1 departure, so the spinoff could conceivably do the same with Tyler once it's safe to travel again.
Series co-creator and showrunner Tim Minear's comments on Liv Tyler's departure suggest that she would be welcome back on 9-1-1: Lone Star. He said:
What a thrill it was having a movie star of Liv Tyler’s stature to help us launch the first season of 911: Lone Star. 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.
The good news is that 9-1-1: Lone Star already cast a character who could fill the void left by Liv Tyler's Michelle Blake. Former Suits star Gina Torres (whose Pearson spinoff was cancelled by USA after one season in 2019) is on board Lone Star as a series regular, and she'll play a paramedic captain by the name of Tommy Vega.
Tommy left the life of an EMT behind years ago to raise her twin daughters, but the COVID-19 pandemic will force her back into the workforce after her husband's restaurant fails. She'll have to return to the paramedic action after eight years, but she'll prove to still have what it takes when she come back.
911: Lone Star is reportedly aiming to begin filming Season 2 on October 12 for a midseason premiere on Fox, along with 9-1-1. For some viewing options sooner rather than later, check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule!