GH Emma Samms headshot
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

We know Holly’s alive… but when will her loved ones be clued in?

If things had gone differently, General Hospital‘s Holly might be spending this holiday season with friends and loved ones. It’s easy to imagine a Christmas party at which she, Jackie and Olivia are making pointedly polite conversation despite all having their minds set on claiming the heart of a certain sexy former superspy.

Instead, Holly is being held at an undisclosed location by person (or persons) unknown. And like so many other things, we can thank that change of plans on 2020’s unwelcome intruder. “The mechanics of telling several of our stories changed as a result of the unexpected shutdown,” admits co-headwriter Chris Van Etten. “We had to rethink a bunch of stories, and we had to change a few because of actor availability.”

general hospital gh emma samms holly prisoner cell

“We couldn’t have pulled this off without Emma’s help,” says Van Etten of the scene which alerted viewers to Holly’s true fate.

Credit: ABC screenshot

One glaring example? Emma Samms falling ill just as the show was prepared to unroll big story for Holly. “That’s why we wound up seeing Holly on a remote camera feed for one scene,” Van Etten sighs. “We had intended to bring her back more or less full-time. But we had to stop and change gears on that story.”

More: Everything you need to know about Holly

The scribes debated letting the audience continue to believe that Holly was dead and play the big reveal at a later date, when Samms was able to return. “Ultimately, we thought it was very important that we confirm for viewers that Holly was alive, out there somewhere,” says co-headwriter Dan O’Connor. “It was never our intention to let people believe that Holly was really, most sincerely dead for any amount of time.

“So when we realized we were going to have to put this story on pause, we knew we had to let the audience in on the secret,” he adds. “We couldn’t have them thinking that we would ever dream of killing a character as iconic as Holly off screen!”

More: Tracking a slew of GH exits

In the end, the unexpected delay created a downright delicious cliffhanger. “There are occasions when you’re given the opportunity to plant a seed for a story that you can play at will,” shares Van Etten. “It might be two months or six months or two years down the line. Thanks to the fact that Emma was able to help us produce that scene of Holly being held captive, we now have that in our back pocket.”

For now, life goes on in Port Charles, with Holly’s loved ones none the wiser to her actual fate. “When circumstances allow us to bring Emma and Holly back to the canvas, we can do that,” says O’Connor. And if we know these writers, they’ll do so when we’re least expecting it!

While we wait for Holly to resurface, why not take a look at the below gallery in which we speculate as to who might be holding the heroine captive. Then visit the comments and share your own theories.