One of the hottest summers on record just became a hell of a lot hotter. Steve Burton is returning to General Hospital!
The news may sound unbelievable for three reasons: 1) the Indiana native chose to leave his GH role of Jason Morgan in 2012 after 21 years playing the character; 2) he also walked away from his recent role as The Young and the Restless' Dylan McAvoy to pursue non-soap-related projects; and 3) former Y&R star Billy Miller (ex-Billy Abbott) has been playing the role of Jason since 2014.
But sure enough, during a commercial break in the June 28 episode, the ABC soap revealed that Burton is indeed heading back to Port Charles, which could bump Miller out of the role of Jason. At this time, the character Burton will be playing is being kept under wraps, leaving many buzzing about whether or not Miller will be exiting GH or if perhaps the writers have penned a Tale of Two Jasons storyline similar to One Life to Live's Tale of Two Todds (when it was revealed that Roger Howarth's recast for the role of Todd Manning -- Trevor St. John -- was never really Todd at all, but rather the character's twin brother, Victor Lord Jr.). It's also possible he'll be playing a brand-new character -- something Michael Easton, who has played Hamilton Finn, Silas Clay, and John McBain on the ABC soap, has mastered.
As a quick recap, Steve Burton stunned Jason Morgan fans in August 2012 by announcing he was leaving the role he played for 21 years to spend more time with his family. A few months later, he shocked fans yet again with the announcement that he had joined Y&R in the role of Dylan McAvoy. And then, after just three years in Genoa City, Burton made the announcement in October 2016 that he was departing the CBS soap "to move on to new adventures."
However, the Emmy winner has consistently made it clear that he never intended to walk away from daytime forever. Not only did he tell TV Guide back in 2012 that he would never shut the door to GH, he told Soap Central earlier this spring that soap operas are extremely close to his heart.
"I wouldn't say I made the choice to walk away; you never know what could happen," he teased of his connection to the genre, adding, "Daytime has been my life, and I've been so blessed and grateful to even work in a medium with the people I've worked with. It's amazing... and it's never easy to walk away from that."
Since wrapping up his time on Y&R, Burton has kept himself super busy. Not only did he start an online acting workshop called Hollywood Schooled with Derk Cheetwood (Max Giambetti), but he also recently launched a health and nutrition line called Burton Nutrition with his family. At this time, it's unclear whether or not the actor intends to juggle both businesses with GH or if his focus will be on Port Charles full-time.
Meanwhile, Miller's fan base is likely wondering where he's going to land if Burton is stepping back into the role of Jason. Many fans would love to see him return to the role of Y&R's Billy Abbott, but former GH star Jason Thompson (ex-Patrick Drake) currently holds the position. The other alternative (besides a Tale of Two Jasons, of course) would be if, now that All My Children characters are able to appear on GH, perhaps the writers can keep Miller on the canvas by penning a creative way to have his former Pine Valley alter ego, Richie Novak, make a return from the dead. It wouldn't be the first time soap scribes have had to use their imaginations to accommodate an actor!
UPDATE (July 1, 2017):
Burton took to Facebook to share more details about his return -- including how it all went down. For more on that, click here.
What do you think about Burton returning to GH? Do you hope he'll be back as Jason Morgan, or would you be okay if he starts playing a new character? What do you think will happen to Billy Miller if Burton does return as Jason? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.