Taye Diggs Could Return Despite Shock Exit, Says Showrunner

When it comes to Taye Diggs and his All American character Coach Billy Baker, death doesn’t necessarily have to mean the end, at least according to showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll.

Diggs’ character was killed off in the latest episode of the CW series, which saw him sacrifice himself to save Jabari (Simeon Daise) after the team bus crashed over the edge of a cliff. However, despite this heroic yet tragic ending, it doesn’t mean viewers won’t ever see Coach Baker again.

“I have ongoing conversations with all of my cast every season, so there’s nothing that ever comes out of the blue,” Carroll told The Wrap regarding Diggs’ exit. “We never had any delusions that we’d be able to hold onto Taye for 12 seasons or anything like that.”

“I was just like, ‘Whenever the time comes where it feels like the character has served his purpose, or Taye feels like he’s done what he’s come here to do, let’s have a conversation and let’s make sure we’re on the same page,’” she continued.

Carroll went on to say that there was no other option but for Coach Baker to die a hero. “There’s no version of Billy that is leaving his kids and family. There was no version of the story that made sense where he’s taking a coaching job and didn’t take Laura (Monét Mazur) with him at a minimum,” she explained while also sharing that Diggs has agreed to come back as Billy in any form should he be needed in the future.

“Staying alive and not being present in his family’s life, that’s just not who the character was. He would have to leave-leave,” Carroll added. “Then I had the lovely task of telling the rest of the cast what the storyline was going to be for Season 5 and crying in Zooms with all of them as we went through the stories.”

All American is a sports drama that premiered on the CW on October 10, 2018, and is inspired by the life of pro football player Spencer Paysinger. The show’s fifth season premiered on October 10, 2022, and was renewed for a sixth season in January.

All American, Mondays, 8/7c, The CW

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