Question: You've answered a lot of questions about Vaughn and Alias but not this one: Did Michael Vartan elect to leave, or was he fired?
Answer: Well, as you might expect, it's complicated. Here's what I've been told from a reliable source close to the situation. Shortly after Vartan and J.Ga's big split, Vartan allegedly made it known that he wouldn't be terribly upset if Vaughn were to get whacked while on assignment. TPTB, in turn, made it known that Vartan had a contract to honor and, well, he better suck it up and be a professional. Cut to 2005: Producers, looking for a way to revitalize the show and give Sydney a personal mission in Alias' final season, finally granted Vartan his wish. There was just one problem: Vartan was once again loving his job and didn't want to go. But the writing was already on the wall, albeit with the presumption that Vartan would return later in the season either as Vaughn, Vaughn's ghost or someone else altogether. And that brings us to the second problem. For some unknown reason, producers never got Vartan to sign off on that return engagement before jettisoning him, resulting in the stalemate we have now. The good news is that the odds are still leaning in the favor of his returning before year's end despite the fact that he just landed a movie in Australia. Anyway, that's the poop. Don't shoot the messenger.