During a interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Monday, April 12, showrunner John Wells explained that Emmy, who exited the Showtime series during the season 9 finale that aired in March 2019, had hoped to return for the April 11 finale. But the logistics just didn't work out amid the pandemic, given that the 34-year-old star lives in New York City, while Shameless filmed in Los Angeles.
"We were trying to get Emmy—and Emmy wanted to come back," John said. "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 and Los Angeles, and it was impossible to figure out how to get her back."
He continued, "That was [the] 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."
John went on to say that the writing team "had about 20" potential story lines in mind for the eldest child of Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy). As fans know, the embattled patriarch died alone in the series finale after suffering from COVID-19 and the effects of alcoholic dementia.
Nothing was set in stone regarding an update on her character, but John revealed that the writing staff imagined Fiona might be currently residing in Florida.
"We joked in the room that she ended up getting a job at Disney World, probably in Epcot Center because she would never get a job on the better side," he shared. "We had a lot of jokes for her, but we never actually nailed it down. But she would have a life and be pursuing her own things. That's how people move on with their lives."
For her part, Emmy appeared grateful for the fan support. In response to a viewer who tweeted after the finale that Fiona "deserved a send off party," the actress replied, "So much love."