Agents of SHIELD's two-part series finale aired last night and finally saw the long-awaited return of Fitz. Iain De Caestecker came back to play Fitz in a series of flashbacks last week, but it was the finale that officially saw the return of the fan-favorite character. De Caestecker's absence has been a mystery this season onscreen and off. There were never any official announcements saying he wouldn't be a series regular this year, so fans have been eagerly awaiting his return. Many assumed this was due to a scheduling conflict, which was also the case for De Caestecker at the beginning of season five. After a recent interview round of interviews with the Agents of SHIELD showrunners, they confirmed that theory was correct.
“It had more to do with the schedule,” Jed Whedon confirmed. “Logistics rather than our intention of storytelling. Yes. Yes. There were conflicts, there were other jobs,” Maurissa Tancharoen explained.
“So, we would ask, just re-watch the season with that in mind,” Whedon added. “We use of every moment of Fitz that we were given,” Jeffrey Bell explained. “Yes. That's a good way to put it. But yeah, there are some angry, angry people about his absence,” Tancharoen said.
“I know. Well, hopefully that is resolved by the end of Wednesday when they feel like, ‘Oh, okay,’” Whedon replied. “And the other thing I'll say about it, one of the things that was difficult for us is we have separated [FitzSimmons] a lot. They are what we would call in our business, a 'forever love', and we knew that early on, and so the only thing you can do with a 'forever love' is make it hard for them to be together. So, we had already done that.”
“So that made this season a little bit more of a puzzle, but the thing that we felt paid it off, or at least, as best we could, was the idea that, a) They get a super happy ending and a big reward. But also that for him, actually, no time passed, that she had that adventure and that for him, it was just a moment. He actually didn't miss anything in his mind. So, that was how we justified it to ourselves in the writer's room,” Tancharoen explained.
During another round of interviews, De Caestecker also spoke about returning to the set, saying it was "weird" and compared it to "being at school or being at college, or an ex-girlfriend," but added that it was also like "coming back home."
The first six seasons of Agents of SHIELD are currently streaming on Netflix, and the series finale is available to watch on Hulu.