THE NEWS BUNDLE: TNT's 'Dallas' To Address Passing of Larry Hagman in Middle of Season 2

If there was one piece of news that certainly rocked the entertainment industry as fans young and old were surprised by the news, it was the passing of Dallas actor Larry Hagman who unfortunately lost his battle with cancer over the Thanksgiving weekend. Though he was best known for playing J.R. Ewing for over 14 seasons on the original Dallas it was nearly 35 years later that Hagman returned with the same impact in his villainous boots in TNT's continuation of the hit series earlier this year.

So of course with the prominent player to truly be missed, the big question is exactly what's to come next in the second season of the new drama. Now, it seems that after 15 years of stories and dealing with actors' passings once before, Dallas will get ready to honor a pop culture icon in early 2013.

EW reports that before his death, Hagman completed "a number of episodes" for Season 2 of Dallas, with previous rumors pegging six episodes of the fifteen episode order already in the can. It is currently unclear if the actor had a reduced schedule in order to battle the sickness that eventually claimed his life, but it's said Hagman's passing "will also be incorporated into the show" as writers and producers are working closely in order to give "the proper sendoff that [Larry] deserves”.

Co-star and fellow returning Dallas vet Patrick Duffy released a statement on Hagman's death, saying "Friday I lost one of the greatest friends ever to grace my life. The loneliness is only what is difficult, as Larry’s peace and comfort is always what is important to me, now as when he was here. He was a fighter in the gentlest way, against his obstacles and for his friends. I wear his friendship with honor.”

TNT released a statement as well, saying "All of us at TNT are deeply saddened at the news of Larry Hagman’s passing. He was a wonderful human being and an extremely gifted actor. We will be forever thankful that a whole new generation of people got to know and appreciate Larry through his performance as J.R. Ewing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time."

Though the shoes of Hagman can never quite be filled, there are a number of options the revived series could tackle in the loss of a character that had so many essential ties to the new stories and situations. Cliff Barnes could easily step up as a major antagonist, or even son John Ross could really fulfill his bloodline destiny that he has chosen to neglect more than a few times. One thing remains very clear, however: there will be no villain quite like the sinister and yet lovable J.R.

Dallas returns January 28th on TNT, while what creative changes the writers will make to the series' new season has yet to be determined.