'Chicago Fire' Bosses Tease Who's Doing What to Who on the Season 11 Premiere!

Chicago Fire wrapped up its 10th season with a cliffhanger in which Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) and Kelly Severide’s (Taylor Kinney) honeymoon is about to be interrupted by the threatening occupants of a mysterious van that approaches the cabin where they’re honeymooning. The story picks back up there in the first episode  in season 11, while Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) ponders the status of her long-term relationship with Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer) following Severide and Kidd’s wedding.

Also, in the first episode back, Violet (Hanako Greensmith) has to come to terms with her relationship with Chief Hawkins (Jimmy Nicholas), and Chief Boden (Eamonn Walker) forces Kidd to accept a former academy classmate—with whom she didn’t have the best relationship—as the newest member of Truck 81.

And Parade.com has all the scoop on the premiere from an exclusive interview with showrunners Derek Haas and Andrea Newman. Check it out:

Do you have a theme or a goal for the season overall? When you came back after Severide and Stella’s wedding did you say, “OK, this is what we need to accomplish next?”

Andrea Newman: We always like to reflect what’s going on out there in the world. It’s been a difficult stretch, so we wanted to do the thing that the show does best, which is lift people up out of that a bit but also address the darker themes out there.

In the [writers] room, our theme was you can’t save everybody and so when times are tough who do you turn to? For us, it’s another family at the firehouse and how do you lift people up out of dark times, so that’s where we’re at theme wise.

<p>Photo by: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC</p>

Photo by: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

When I was watching the finale and Brett says to Casey at the wedding, “How much longer can we keep this up?” That doesn’t bode well for their relationship. Are they headed towards the end?

Derek Haas: I think you’ve got to watch. This episode will answer that question very quickly this season. We’ve said it from the jump, and it’s been a recurring theme on this show, that it’s very hard to have long-distance relationships, especially for people who love as intensely as Brett and Casey do.

One of the reasons that Brett has said she can’t move to be with Casey is because of her paramedicine program. Is she actually choosing her job over her man?

Andrea: What we’ve always said about Brett is she definitely cares very much about the paramedicine program. She got it off the ground. In the character’s past, we’ve shown that she’s moved twice for men in her life. She moved initially at the beginning for an ex and when she was with the chaplain, she moved to Indiana. I think she’s come into her own as a character. She’s a stronger character and now her feeling is she’s not going to move. No matter how much she loves Casey, she’s not going to move for anybody else. She’s got her life, and she wants to make sure that she’s the one driving it.

But then you bring the ex-fiancé, Kyle, back. So, it looks like maybe she’ll be back with Kyle?

Andrea: Yeah, maybe, who knows?

Derek: You never know. When people drop in out of the blue, it tends to sometimes rile things up, as when Dawson (Monica Raymund) came back for her charity event with Casey. There’s always an intensity of feelings that emerge.

<p>Photo by: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC</p>

Photo by: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

The final scene in last season’s finale, we see that Severide and Stella are in danger because Severide always insists on always doing the right thing. But he’s not alone anymore, he’s a married man now. How much will Severide have to change now that he’s married? Can he continue to be the knight in shining armor when he has Stella’s safety to consider?

Andrea: I think that’s a great question and that’s something that he’s definitely going to be struggling with. That’s something we’ll see him battling.

Derek: [Jokes] But, Paulette, that truck at the end of the finale, that was just bringing back the wedding cake. They didn’t have a good refrigeration unit on the boat and so that’s just a delivery.

<p>Photo by: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC</p>

Photo by: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

Hawkins (Jimmy Nicholas) made a big career sacrifice for Violet. Before Emma (Caitlin Carver) flamed out, he had confessed all. Does Violet know this? Or is she avoiding him to protect his job? That’s kind of a Romeo and Juliet thing, although they don’t kill themselves, it’s self-sacrifice for the other.

Andrea: Exactly. I think the bottom line is Violet doesn’t know that yet and she was feeling a little left out in the cold by him because she doesn’t know anything about the efforts that he made. That’s going to change their dynamic when she figures that out. They have a lot on either side to work out between the two of them. But the heat is there and they are very passionate about each other, that’s for sure.

Her feelings for Hawkins mean that she no longer has feelings for Gallo, because it feels like Gallo still has feelings for Violet. Will he act on them?

Andrea: I would agree with that. I think Gallo’s struggling with that and struggling with really caring about her both as a friend and having these stronger feelings, too. For Violet, it’s really just been Hawkins for a stretch and now she’s struggling with the cost to both of their personal and professional lives that they had to pay, and how to navigate that.

We always say that the relationship types that she has are two archetypes. Her relationship with Gallo is where she can be goofier and they’re like best friends. They’ve got that underlying the other stuff. With Hawkins, it’s a more adult and intense and passionate relationship. It’s two different archetypes and she’s lucky enough to have both of them right there.

Any guest stars coming back from the past or any new cast members for this season?

Derek: Yeah, there’s a spot opening up on Truck 81 and we, for reasons that you’ll see in the premiere episode, introduce a new firefighter who brings a lot of energy and intensity.

Andrea: And mystery.

Derek: And mystery into Stella Kidd’s Truck 81, on which she thought she had the perfect combination of people. And then for reasons beyond her control, she inherits a new firefighter that she knows.

Andrea: From the past.

Derek: That sounds intriguing.

Stella’s a lieutenant now. Will she have time to continue with her Girls on Fire program?

Andrea: She’s definitely going to keep it going but she’s going to have to delegate a bit, too. It’s fun, we have Kylie (Katelynn Shennett) who works at the firehouse now, but was also part of Girls on Fire. Stella’s going to rely on Kylie a lot for help with Girls on Fire. It’s going to be a core part of her story this year.

Derek: We have a great little Girls on Fire, I don’t know if shout out’s the right word, but a storyline within an episode that’s going to be really good.

Andrea: Yeah, emotional for Kidd. Her Girls on Fire girls are aging out and getting to the point where they can make decisions about are they going to continue in the fire service. So, it’s a fun time for her.

We didn’t really see Chief Boden’s wife Donna (Melissa Ponzio) last season. Did she get another series or will we see her back?

Andrea: Yeah, we love her. She is on another series, so we’re going to see some of Boden’s family, we’re going to see him with his son and reference Donna and we’re going to, hopefully, get her on the show soon, too, because we all love her and it’s really nice storylines when we have Boden with his son, Terrance, and with Donna.

Right, it shows a softer side of Boden.

Andrea: Exactly, exactly. And that’s a big part of an early episode, is of Boden and his feelings about family and his son.

I also think he’s mellowed a little bit as a Chief.

Andrea: It’s funny because it goes the opposite direction this season because he’s juggling so many things now as Deputy District Chief that he’s got a lot on his plate and he’s kind of fired up.

Derek: One thing I will say that you might have forgotten, because it goes all the way back to Season 1, is that Chief Boden takes Halloween very seriously.

Andrea: I was going to say that, too. Honestly, we talk about what a wonderful actor he is, we love him and he’s so intense. He plays the intense stuff so well, but he’s also a lot of fun when you put him in unique situations. His love of Halloween will put him in exactly that situation in our Halloween episode this year.

Speaking of family, will we see more of Joe Cruz with Javi and his wife?

Andrea: Hell, yes.

Derek: Oh, yeah, that’s a big part of Season 11. You’re going to love it. It’s a great storyline. It’s going to have this roller coaster ride of what it’s like being that expanding of a family in that short of a time.

Andrea: And, also, it shows just how tricky the foster situation is for unaccompanied minors in the system. It’s a bumpy road, it’s not easy, so they’re going to be struggling with that a bit, too.

I thought they found out that his aunt couldn’t take him so that they were going to be able to actually adopt him?

Andrea: No, that’s still very much up in the air.

Derek: But that does sound like something they should try.

One last question. What’s happening at Molly’s this season?

Derek: There’s always something with Molly’s. There’s always going to be. Do you remember the original owner of Molly’s made a statement that he was dying last season when he was on? What’s that character’s name again?

Andrea: Stephanides.

Derek: Stephanides said he wanted to tend bar one last time because he was dying, and there was a question of whether or not that was true. That’ll be answered.

Chicago Fire returns for its 11th season on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.