For a third time since it was conceived, TNT‘s new Dallas series will have to adjust its storylines to account for the absence of one of its signature characters, J.R. Ewing. And while the first two times the preparations turned out to be contingency plans that were never enacted, this time the show is forced to write off the villainous oilman following the death of the actor who’s portrayed the iconic character over the span of 35 years.

Related: R.I.P. Larry Hagman

Larry Hagman, who died Friday at age 81 from cancer complications, was in Dallas filming Season 2 of TNT’s Dallas. He had completed shooting a number of episodes — believed to be six — before his death, and will appear in the 15-episode Season 2 of the series, slated to premiere January 28. As of now things are fluid, and it is unclear how his passing will affect the production on the show, which was scheduled to resume following the Thanksgiving break. Extending the hiatus or scheduling one in the near future is a possibility so the writers can rework the scripts for the remaining episodes without Hagman and, more importantly, create a proper sendoff for J.R. The larger-than-life character was already at the heart of one of the most famous episodes of television as the November 1980 Dallas episode that resolved the series’ “Who shot J.R.?” cliffhanger remains the second-most-watched telecast of all time. J.R.’s farewell episode on the new Dallas will likely attract legions of fans of the iconic character. (more…)