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Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

Things are about to get a little bit crazy in Salem. And by “a little,” we mean “a lot.”

There are a whole lotta reasons to be grateful for 2020 coming to an end… not the least of which is that Days of Our Lives is kicking off 2021 with all kinds of big, juicy twists. Events which were set in motion during the party at which Salem rang in the new year will ripple across the canvas in the weeks and months ahead.

When sat down for an exclusive chat with headwriter Ron Carlivati, he gave us the scoop on everything that’s about to go down… including one turn of events that fans have been begging for. “Yes,” he confirms, “we’ll finally find out what Gwen’s secret is.”

Read on to find out what else we got him to spill.

The Big Reveal, Part I

Talk about a master of manipulation. After weeks of planting seeds of doubt in Chad’s head about Abigail’s fidelity, Gwen pushed him right over the edge on New Year’s Eve by “admitting” that his wife and brother are having an affair. Did Chad do the smart thing by confronting the supposed lovers? Nah, he instead got drunk and slept with the venomous scheme queen!

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If you’re thinking this will mean months of furtive glances and guilty exchanges, think again. “We don’t keep that secret under wraps long, because we really want to get to the main course,” says the scribe. “So the fact that Gwen and Chad had sex comes out pretty quickly and sets the stage for a big confrontation between her and Abigail. And it’s during that argument that we find out what Gwen has really been upset about all this time.”

More: Can Abagail (and viewers) ever forgive Chad?

Carlivati adds that we will finally learn “what it is that makes Gwen tick and why she’s after Abigail and her family. Gwen will spill everything!”

The Big Reveal, Part II

With Steve and John digging for the truth, Allie starting to have vague memories and Ava aware of what really happened in London, the walls are definitely closing in on Charlie. “When it’s suggested that Allie be hypnotized in order to coax out her memories, she’s reluctant, because she doesn’t necessarily want to remember that night,” explains Carlivati. “Those are horrible memories she doesn’t want to have come flooding back. But ultimately, she decides she has to know what happened to her.”

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Meanwhile, Claire is getting closer to taking things to the next level with Charlie. “You’ve got to feel sorry for her, because here’s someone who has had issues with insecurity and feeling like she never comes first in a relationship,” Carlivati laments. ” Here’s a guy who says, ‘You’re my soulmate, you’re the love of my life.’ She’s finally getting someone who isn’t accepting her as a consolation prize because they can’t have Ciara or someone else.”

More: When Kristian Alfonso will be back on TV

But the person who is giving her all of this is not the man she believes him to be. “We know that in the past, Claire has not reacted in a necessarily healthy way to disappointment, so yes, we should probably be worried about how she will react when the truth comes out.”

More: Charlie’s portrayer is ready for your hate

On the plus side, the young woman will have a strong supporter in Ben. Viewers have noticed the two getting closer for some time now, bonding as they have over the unimaginable loss both suffered when Ciara “died.” Is there something more percolating beneath the surface?

Ben and Claire talk about Ciara on Days of our Lives

“There’s definitely a friendship there,” hedges the scribe. “So obviously, he’s going to be part of the fallout when the truth about Charlie starts to come to light. Does that mean he’s going to become her knight in shining armor who comes to the rescue? That remains to be seen.”

More: Victoria Konefal’s wild idea for Ciara’s return

The Returns You’ve Been Waiting For

Although Gabi and Sami made recent appearances in Salem, those visits only left viewers hungry for more. “They will both be back in 2021,” confirms Carlivati, “and they will both have great story.”

Where Sami’s concerned, the writer is playing his cards very close to the vest. “Because this is Sami, she’s not going to just knock on the door and say, ‘Hey everybody, I’m back!'” Carlivati laughs. “You want Sami to return in a bigger, more Sami-like way, so I will just say she comes in at a very opportune — or perhaps inopportune — moment.”

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He’s a bit more free with details regarding Gabi’s return. “Seeing Jake with Kate threw Gabi off her game,” he explains. “So she made the decision to go back to Arizona and be with her daughter.

“But while there,” he continues, “she started thinking about things and decided there couldn’t be anything serious between Jake and Kate. How could there be? So she comes back to Salem convinced that as soon as she walks in, Jake will realize what he’s been missing and dump Kate.”

More: Days star blocking “all the idiots”

Things definitely do not go as planned, however. So instead, Gabi finds herself going into business with Jake and not just working with him but working her wiles on him. “She’s determined to do whatever it takes,” Carlivati says, adding that the two of them will engage in a game of one-upmanship that could have bigger ramifications.

In Other Salem Developments

“Nicole loves her husband,” states Carlivati unequivocally. “Yes, Eric is in Africa, but they parted on very good terms. She is the one who told him to go.”

Yet it’s hard to miss the connection that’s forming between Nicole and her good pal Rafe, who is, the writer reminds us, “a free agent. Before leaving, Hope made it clear she was emotionally unavailable to him.” Look for an unexpected person to be thrown into that particular mix in the form of Ava, who winds up in need of protection.

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Although happy to be newly reunited, Eli and Lani will have their lives turned upside-down when their newborn children are kidnapped. “They aren’t just parents, they’re police detectives,” notes Carlivati. “So they’re going to go into overdrive as they try and solve the unfolding mystery.” Look for this story to spiral into the introduction of Jackée Harry’s Paulina. “She’ll be part of the next big story for Lani and Eli.”

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Elsewhere, the writer says that “Brady and Kristen have a lot of chemistry, but she is obviously not a stable influence on him.” And if there’s one thing we know about Brady, it’s that he could use a little stability in his life.

Is it a coincidence that while Kristen’s behind bars, her beau is suddenly spending time with Chloe? “The two of them were married, and although it was during this period that a lot of his addiction issues developed, they were a good match. But the tricky thing with Chloe,” Carlivati observes, “is that she has chemistry with everybody.” Might she reconnect with her other ex, Philip, or even — dare we suggest it — Xander?

More: What’s next for Chloe? 

So Many Men, So Little Time

Speaking of whom… “Sarah and Xander are in a very good place,” insists Carlivati. “In some ways, pretending to be at odds in order to bring down Philip has actually brought them closer than ever.

“But down the road,” he adds, “who knows? Chloe was also involved with Stefan, and his twin brother is on the canvas now. So with Chloe, there are a lot of options, and you just never know where she might wind up.” Or with whom!

Which stories are you most looking forward to seeing unfold in 2021? And what are your thoughts about Chad sleeping with Gwen? Share your opinions in the comment section, then make sure to check out this photo-filled last look at everything that went down in Salem during 2020.