A few weeks back, Castle fans were agape at the thought of a ninth season without series star Stana Katic, as well the circus and rumors and cast reactions that flew since. Nathan Fillion hadn’t signed for Season 9 at the time, but has now reportedly been secured, while ABC is set to make a decision on the series before the weekend.

Per TVLine, Fillion has officially closed a deal to return for Season 9, though ABC itself has until end-of-day on Friday, May 6 to decide whether or not to pursue the likely-shortened-to-13-episodes final season. The budget has been reduced without Katic and co-star Tamala Jones, while one of two endings would set the May 16 closer as either season or series finale.

As for those expected to return alongside Fillion, Castle Season 9 would also feature Molly Quinn, Susan Sullivan, Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever, along with Season 8 addition Toks Olagundoye.

ABC’s decision will also come down to the current crop of fall pilots, but will fans jump ship for a ninth, shortened and Stana Katic-free season of Castle?

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