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Liv Tyler Isn't Returning For 9-1-1: Lone Star. Here's Why

Back in 2018, Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Tim Minear's procedural 9-1-1 premiered on Fox and quickly picked up steam. The show chronicled the day-to-day lives of Los Angeles' many first responders, and the life-or-death situations they find themselves in. Safe to say, fans ate up what the series had to offer, propelling it to a fourth season, which Fox ordered in April 2020. Better yet, the network even green-lit a spin-off series entitled 9-1-1: Lone Star that debuted in January 2020.

The offshoot series follows a similar style and premise as the original, except it's set in Austin, Texas, and features a cast of fresh faces. While Rob Lowe has top billing as firefighter Owen Strand, one of the most gripping performances of the main cast came from Liv Tyler, who played EMS captain Michelle Blake throughout the first season. Her tense line of work — coupled with her desire to find her missing sister, Iris — made Michelle a fan-favorite, and arguably the most well-rounded character on the show.

Sadly for those expecting to see what twists and turns her story will take next, they'll be disappointed to learn that Tyler won't reprise her role on the upcoming season of 9-1-1: Lone Star – and for good reason. 

Health concerns pushed Liv Tyler to depart 9-1-1: Lone Star

Tyler's departure certainly wasn't in the plans for 9-1-1: Lone Star's second season, but her reason for leaving transcends any kind of television story. In order to shoot her scenes for the show's next season, Tyler would had to travel from London, England (where she's lived since 2018) to Los Angeles, California — putting herself at risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus currently circulating across the globe. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, instead of taking that chance, Tyler opted to put her health first and not come back, despite having signed a multi-year agreement to appear on the show. The prioritization of her well-being meant the 9-1-1: Lone Star showrunners had to get creative in filling her shoes for future episodes.

Gina Torres, a newcomer to 911: Lone Star, is set to portray Tommy Vega, a character very similar in description to Tyler's Michelle Blake. This way, she can fill the void left behind without requiring a distracting recast or changes to the current story that would confuse audiences. 

This was a tough call to make, but 9-1-1: Lone Star co-creator Tim Minear had nothing but positive things to say about Tyler nonetheless. He appreciated the star power she brought to the show and said they "will be forever indebted to her for her haunting, powerful portrayal of Michelle Blake." In closing, he also made sure to mention that "the door here will always be open for a return," giving fans hope that they haven't seen the last of Michelle Blake.