Stana Katic Is Leaving Castle in Major Shakeup

a one-year contract for Season Eight.Both characters have been with Castle since the beginning, [...]

(Photo: FOX)

It's still not clear whether FOX's Castle will be back for a ninth season in the fall -- but if it is, it will have to do without one of its two leads, and another longtime recurring guest star.

Both Stana Katic -- who plays Detective Kate Beckett -- and Tamala Jones, plays medical examiner Lanie Parish, won't be back in a potential Season Nine, Deadline announced today.

The site indicated that ABC still hopes for a shortened, 13-episode Season Nine at a reduced license fee -- presumably to wrap things up. Budget reductions are apparently to blame for Katic and Jones leaving, with Katic apparently never even approached about a return after signing (along with co-lead Nathan Fillion) a one-year contract for Season Eight.

Both characters have been with Castle since the beginning, and while the title indicates that the show is a solo series, it's really been a tale of the designated romance between Castle and Beckett for much of its run.

"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," Katic said in a short statement to Deadline, in which she declined to comment on the nature of her departure. "Thank you to the fans."

"I've had so much fun playing the wonderful and unfiltered Lanie over the past eight seasons," Jones said in a statement. "I will greatly miss the cast and crew – it's been a privilege getting to work with this incredibly hard working group of people. Thank you to ABC for this opportunity and to the fans for their unwavering support. It's been an incredible journey and I can't wait for what lies ahead!"

"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," ABC said in a statement. "Tamala Jones has also been an integral part of the series and we are grateful she was a part of Castle."

Series star Nathan Fillion hasn't yet issued a statement, although given his presence on social media and at fan conventions, it likely won't be long before he weighs in.