Season 9 of Chicago Fire has been big for Stella Kidd as her dreams of moving up the ladder at CFD came closer and closer to being realized, although not without some obstacles along the way. Still, she took and passed the lieutenant's exam, but the great news of her making lieutenant did raise a little bit of concern, as it would presumably mean Stella leaving Firehouse 51 and potentially much less of Miranda Rae Mayo. Fortunately, the actress recently made some comments that make me feel a lot better about Stella sticking around.
Stella managed to past the test after going through an incredibly stressful experience that involved saving the life of a former Girls on Fire participant with very little information to go on, so all her work with and without Severide by her side paid off. She went through that experience saving the girl in the same episode as when she had to push her strength to the brink to hold up a man who had been impaled on a tree long enough for her fellow firefighters to find a way to get him down.
Stella showed off why she's a great firefighter with the right instincts to lead in the CFD, while also pulling off a physical feat that none of the others on the scene could have managed. I spoke with Miranda Rae Mayo ahead of her big episode, and her comments on the tree stunt make me feel pretty optimistic about Stella sticking around now that she has made lieutenant instead of being sent out of the story to another firehouse.
After praising the special effects department, stunt coordinators, set decoration department, and art department all coming together to pull off something that Fire hadn't done before in its nine seasons on the air, Mayo opened up about the filming process:
The filming part was very physical. And it was very uncomfortable. And I felt very vulnerable. Because like, everyone was watching it, it was this big moment of Stella really like showing her strength and holding up this man. Me as Miranda, I think I was more concerned about making the character look like a superhero than actually really getting into it and what it would feel like. I didn't think that I could do what Stella did. So I feel a little disappointed in the scene, you know what I mean? But, you know, life keeps moving on. And there's plenty of time, God willing, and you know, Dick Wolf willing. [laughs] The Dick Wolf universe, you know, hopefully I get more opportunities on the show to really play more with that. But yeah, the filming process, it was very uncomfortable, in a great way, in a way that like grows you. So that's what's true for me in this now moment.
I would say that Miranda Rae Mayo succeeded in showing Stella's strength and pulling off a superhero-esque move in holding up the man in the tree! His odds of survival may not have been great given that he had been impaled on a tree branch and stuck there until the heroes of 51 arrived on the scene, but he wouldn't have had even a chance if not for Stella. But tellingly, Mayo shared that she's hoping to get more opportunities to pull off stunt sequences because there's "plenty of time."
And there certainly is plenty of time left for Chicago Fire, as the Dick Wolf series (along with the other two One Chicago shows) scored a three-season renewal last year that means Fire is already guaranteed another two seasons. Plus, Stella's big episode aired as the thirteenth of a 16-episode season, so "plenty of time" makes me think that Miranda Rae Mayo has her hopes for Fire beyond Season 9.
When I noted to Miranda Rae Mayo that I got a kick out of Stella pulling off something that none of the men who were on the scene of the incident could have done by squeezing up into the tree, the actress responded:
Right? Listen, for me too, Miranda, I frickin' love climbing trees. Like actually like when I saw the tree on location, I was like, 'Can I climb this tree?' And it wouldn't have looked as seamless because on set we have a schedule, you know what I mean? So it's got to flow. But if it didn't need to flow, and I needed to just figure out a way to get up that tree, I bet you I could have.
It's not exactly getting a cat out of a tree, but it was definitely memorable! Since Firehouse 51 is already filled up with officers with Casey on Truck, Herrmann on Engine, and Severide on Squad leaving no vacancies for Stella, there is still the question of if Chicago Fire can honor Stella's promotion without sending her away. Fire could create a vacancy by removing one of the existing officers from the equation, although it would have to be either Casey or Herrmann since Stella isn't Squad.
I've had my theories about Casey departing for a while, and I can see ways that Chicago Fire might be setting up replacements for him, but we can only speculate for now. And based on some comments from showrunner Derek Haas, we might not actually find out before the end of Season 9. And the end is fast-approaching!
Only two episodes are left before the final credits roll on the ninth season, and if Chicago Fire has proved one thing over the years so far, it's that seasons tend to end on a bang, even if the heartbreak sometimes doesn't come until the next season premiere rolls around to show the aftermath. (R.I.P. Otis!)
Of course, Miranda Rae Mayo's comments don't guarantee anything about Stella's future, so be sure to tune in to the remaining episodes of Chicago Fire Season 9 to see what happens for Stella after she earned her big promotion. Severide is clearly looking ahead to their future together, and marriage is even on his mind, so hopefully whatever the finale has in store for them other than Severide back in his scuba gear is a good thing.
The final episodes of Chicago Fire Season 9 air on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, between Chicago Med and Chicago P.D. to make up One Chicago Wednesday. Next season will see the debut of Law & Order Thursdays with SVU, Organized Crime, and the upcoming spinoff, while the FBI corner of the Dick Wolf universe over on CBS is getting bigger as well, so the expansive shared universe of all of these shows is only getting more expansive.