Cameron Monaghan is indeed returning to Shameless.
After Monaghan announced his exit last year and then left when his character went to prison, Showtime announced that Shameless would be back for season 10 with Monaghan in tow. Now, Monaghan is explaining why he's back. The actor was on hand to promote the final season of Fox's Gotham (he plays Not the Joker) at the TV Critics' Association press tour and spoke to reporters after the panel about why he left and why he has now decided to return for the entirety of season 10.
"It got to the point where I wanted to step away for creative reasons as well as business, which many other actors had done on the show years earlier," Monaghan said. "But I took some time away, and I talked to John Wells, the showrunner about possible things we could do with the character in the future, and we got to a place both creatively and financially where I felt comfortable coming back, and much of that had to do with what we were going to do with the story."
Monaghan said he could not say anything about exactly what his return will entail, as it hasn't been written yet.
"I can't [say anything] because it entails things that aren't set yet," he said. "That writers room haven't been even opened yet, and contracts haven't been finished yet. So until that point, I don't even fully know."
Monaghan's exit announcement came after Emmy Rossum revealed that she was leaving, and Showtime confirmed she will not be back for season 10. Monaghan says the loss of her character will not change "the fabric of the show."
"I don't feel like it changes the fabric of the show, because it is an ensemble cast, and because over the course of the last five to six years, characters have grown up and really branched out, and the stories have become very separate. It was very rare that I would get the privilege of acting with Emmy anymore. It's just one of those things. So obviously we're going to lose that thread, and that's a loss for us, but that being said, I feel like we have enough other characters and storylines, that across the board, they can absorb it, and it won't feel like too much of a change to the overall fabric of the show."
Monaghan could not say if Ian will get a chance to have a final moment with Fiona, as "answering that would be a spoiler."
He also could not say anything about the return of Mickey (Noel Fisher), who was last seen in prison with Ian.
"That is a question for Noel and the producers," he said, but "worrying" about Ian and Mickey is "not the right way to say that."
As for what Ian is in for in the final season, Monaghan said that he hopes to see something a little different for his character.
"I think that now we've really torn him down. i think it would be really interesting to see him, instead of just looking for a relationship or resolving relationship conflict to instead be working on himself and focusing in that capacity," he said. "So I'd like to see something outside just him searching and being single and hooking up with people, that kind of stuff."
Many fans wondered about the future of the show with the departure of Rossum in particular, and Monaghan says that there are conversations every season about when it will end.
"But to be honest, I think that a lot of people have signed on for multiple seasons, and I don't know if it's gonna be the last year or not. I think it depends on if people want to keep watching it."
For now, Monaghan is signed on for season 10, but isn't ruling out continuing past that himself.
"It's just a creative thing as much as it is financial, so it's one of those things that...it's just good business as well as looking after what I want to do."
Shameless airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.