Like all network procedurals, it takes a few extra stretches to keep stars and quality consistent through the later seasons, something ABC’s Castle has been on the edge of for years. Now, Stana Katic has apparently been thrown off that edge, as a prospective Season 9 will move forward without Beckett, or Katic’s approval.

Word of the surprise move comes from Deadline, as despite the lack of an official Season 9 renewal, sources say that neither Stana Katic nor Tamala Jones have been asked to return in their respective roles as Detective Kate Beckett and medical examiner Lanie Parish, apparently owing to budgetary concerns. Co-lead Nathan Fillion has not officially confirmed his return yet (both options expire after Season 8, though Fillion was at least asked to re-up), while it seems a ninth season would clock in at only 13 episodes

Said Katic of the departure, which sources claim was never offered as a choice:

Rather then distract from what was an amazing experience, I would just like to say that I’m very grateful to ABC for giving me the opportunity to be a part of a much beloved show. Thank you to the fans.

ABC too offered a statement, albeit without confirming an official ninth season:

Kate Beckett has been a beloved character on our hit series Castle for the past 8 years. We are grateful for Stana Katic’s talent and dedication to the series and we hope to continue our relationship. Tamala Jones has also been an integral part of the series and we are grateful she was a part of Castle.

It’s worth noting that Castle also lost series creator Andrew Marlowe after Season 7, replaced by Alexi Hawley and Terence Paul Winter, while two endings have been filmed for the Season 8 finale, should it prove the final year.

Fans won’t be happy for a Beckett-less Castle, but could the show have life in it yet?

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