After nearly 30 years with All My Children, Julia Barr
) makes her final on-screen appearance this week
. With that exit, fans are rounding up the boxes of Kleenex and preparing for a torrent of waterworks as All My Children no doubt prepares for one of those emotional flashback montages.
Well, you can continue to round up the tissues, but it's not for the reason you suspect.
It's a decision that will surely outrage fans even more than when they learned that All My Children executives had opted not to renew Barr's contract. There will be no farewell for Barr's Brooke. She will simply "vanish" from town like so many other scrapped characters before her.
"I had assumed that I would have a final scene regarding my character's departure - certainly with Tad or Jamie, or even a last jab at Erica," Barr said in a statement in her official fan newsletter. "I think the fans would have liked the chance to say goodbye to Brooke and to have had some closure with the character many have known for 30 years. I know it is what I would have wanted. However, it was not the decision that was made for whatever reason."
An All My Children spokesperson has confirmed to soapcentral.com that "there is no exit scene" planned for Barr.
Instead, Barr will be seen as a mourner at Simone Torres' funeral. After that, she will no longer appear on-air. The rumor mill is now grinding into overload as fans try to figure out exactly what that means for Barr, Brooke and All My Children.
It is increasingly unlikely that Brooke will be killed off by the serial killer. Without Barr as a cast member, it would be difficult to rationalize AMC's recasting of the role only to have the character murderer. However, it would certainly not be out of the question to recast the role at a later time. Soap operas often will recast roles when a performer is unavailable - for whatever reason. A recast allows the return of a character and, in the cast of recasting a role that has been played by a long-term veteran player, the opportunity to bring in a new performer at a much lower salary. That is becoming increasingly important in these days of budget-tightening.
Other options would be to have All My Children address Brooke's exit later and offer a video montage at that time. And a final option would be to have Barr return at a later date when she and AMC can come to terms on a new contract.
In the meantime, Barr will exit All My Children on December 20th.