Castle's fate is currently up in the air, but if the series does return for Season 9, we already know there will be a lot of changes that will happen in the off-season. Yesterday, we learned that Stana Katic and Tamala Jones are officially leaving the ABC drama. Obviously, a lot of people were affected by the bad news, and this morning Castle lead Nathan Fillion shared his own feelings regarding the creative changes. Here’s what he had to say:
Castle has been one of the greatest joys of my creative life, and I hope the show continues on for years to come. Stana has been my partner all this time, and I thank her for creating the character of Beckett who will live on for all of us as one of the greatest police officers on television. I wish her well and have no doubt she will succeed in everything she pursues. She will be missed.

Speaking on Twitter, Nathan Fillion had a lot of nice things to say about his partner in crime law enforcement. For the past eight seasons Beckett and Castle have morphed into a major crime-solving force. People are invested in the case-of-the-week procedural mostly because they are invested in the characters—especially the two leads. And while Castle is named after Nathan Fillion’s character, it’s arguable that the series really hinges on both characters rather than just the one played by Fillion.

Nathan Fillion’s comments are about what we’d expect, considering Stana Katic’s departure has already been confirmed. However, what makes her exit announcement sting even harder is the fact that reports indicate it was ABC’s decision to have her leave the series. When shows are on the air as long as Castle has been, it’s not unusual for at least one or two major cast members to leave in search of brand new projects. That has happened on shows like Bones and Law & Order: SVU and will be happening on NCIS later this year. It’s also becoming more and more usual for shows to decide to kill off a character or two during the series’ run. However, not being given an option to sign a contract renewal is a whole different beast.

Castle has been experiencing lower ratings during Season 8, and this week’s episode, which aired shortly after the Stana Katic announcement, dropped down to a 1.0 rating. Shows get more expensive to produce as they age and if that show is no longer pulling in major advertising dollars, some sacrifices might be needed in order to keep the series on the air. This could explain why Castle ultimately decided to drop Stana Katic and Tamala Jones.

We’ll let you know as soon as ABC makes an official decision about Castle Season 9. In the meantime, you can see the leading lady in a few more episodes. Castle airs on Monday nights at 10 p.m. ET, only on ABC. The season finale, "Crossfire," will air on May 16.

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