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Chicago Fire Star Eamonn Walker To Step Down As Series Regular After Season 12

Contains spoilers for "Chicago Fire" Season 12, Episode 13 — "Never Can Say Goodbye"

After a season filled with casting ups and downs, "Chicago Fire" will be saying goodbye to another familiar face during Season 13 — though definitely not permanently. Deadline reports that Eamonn Walker will be stepping back from his role as Chief Wallace Boden during the upcoming season, though he won't be departing the series for good. For those worried that Boden might exit the incredibly dangerous show in a wooden box, Walker will instead appear on a recurring basis and won't be a regular figure in the drama going forward. The reduced schedule is apparently Walker's idea and was not requested by the show's writers, producers, or NBC.

The English actor, who slips into an American accent while playing Boden, has been a regular on "Chicago Fire" from its first season onward. But fans have not been happy to see his screentime on the decline as of late. Even when he's not regularly around, Boden has been a calming, steadying, solid presence on the drama since day one. While there's no telling what the show will look like with Boden in a less conspicuous role, recent episodes have shown how it might deal with his absence during future outings.

A late Season 12 episode hints at how Boden's exit might go

"Chicago Fire" seems to be in the process of preparing viewers for Wallace Boden's absence. Over the past few episodes of the series, Boden has been off taking care of a family issue. His personal leave means that Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) is currently running the station, which may be how things go during Season 13. 

A preview for "Never Can Say Goodbye," the Season 12 finale, hints that Boden is about to arrive at a significant crossroads thanks to the electoral race for Deputy Commissioner. Perhaps he'll end up campaigning for the seat, which will keep him away from the station for more extended periods of time.

The Wednesday night staple has recently seen several actors fly the coop: Kara Kilmer departed her long-held role of Sylvie Brett during Season 12. Rome Flynn's Derrick Gibson was given a big introduction to the firehouse before leaving the drama six episodes later, and Alberto Rosende left at the beginning of the year after four-plus seasons as Blake Gallo. Jocelyn Hudon and Michael Bradway have been added to the tail end of Season 12 to stem the flow of losses. We'll find out how they fare when Season 13 starts sometime in the fall.