The ‘Shameless’ Showrunner Has Explained Why Emmy Rossum Didn’t Return As Fiona For The Series Finale

(Spoilers from the final season of Shameless and the series finale will be found below.)

Shameless ran for eleven seasons like its U.K. counterpart did, and on Sunday night, the Gallaghers bid farewell to their audience while leaving things fairly open-ended. We don’t know what happened to the family house (and if Lip will manage to sell the thing) or what will happen with most of the still-present siblings’ living situations. It kinda felt like any other episode, other than delivering one of the things that I wanted from the final season: a lifeless Frank (from COVID-19 after a lifetime of abusing his body in every way possible). Yeah, Frank (who suffered from accelerating dementia this season) ended up dying alone, which makes sense since he’s on the list of the All-Time Worst TV Dads. No complaints there, and he got more kindness from Liam than he deserved.

Mostly, the long-running show struggled, even while keeping it real with a pandemic storyline, for these past few seasons. That’s only to be expected following the departure of Emmy Rossum’s Fiona, who was more than Gallagher glue: she was the jaded heart of the series. Steve Howey (who portrayed the muscle-bound, bar-owning Kevin) recently tweeted that he missed Fiona, and so did the series. Fiona never returned, not even for the finale. Showrunner John Wells spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about how Emmy wanted to come back, but the pandemic-logistics crushed that idea:

We were trying to get Emmy — and Emmy wanted to come back. We caught it at the wrong moment. We wanted her to return and had some storylines about her coming back and she wanted to do it. Based on what was going on with the pandemic, when we were planning it — there have been so many surges, I can’t remember which one it was — but the quarantines went back into effect between New York [where Rossum resides] and Los Angeles [where Shameless films] and it was impossible to figure out how to get her back. That was biggest disappointment: not being able to make that work out because we all wanted it to happen. A very minor but sad result of everything that’s happened in the pandemic.

Wells added that Fiona could have had one of “about 20” storylines that writers dreamed up, but nothing ever materialized on script because, again, traveling has largely been a non-thing over the past year. Wells added that he believed that Fiona’s now living in Florida, and he jokes that she’s probably working “in Epcot Center because she would never get a job on the better side.” Wells also didn’t answer a very pressing question: whether she ended up with Justin Chatwin’s Jimmy-Steve. Well, I’m simply going to pretend that happened because, hey, Jimmy was one hell of a grifter, but he was actually the least awful boyfriend that Fiona ever had on the show. Even after this:

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)