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Is Franco coming back to General Hospital? Roger Howarth’s role explored

Darcy Rafter January 21, 2022
ABC's "General Hospital" - 2021
Scott Kirkland/ABC via Getty Images

General Hospital fans were stunned when Franco was killed off the show. But, they were even more surprised when they discovered that the actor behind Franco, Roger Howarth, wasn’t leaving the show. So, the question on everyone’s mind is, will Franco ever be coming back to General Hospital.

Franco’s seems to have survived everything from falling off a roof to a brain tumour, but it seems he’s finally had all his nine lives. Franco was originally played by actor James Franco in 2009 before Howarth took the reigns.

Some weird happenings in Port Charles suggest that a prankster like Franco could be seeking attention from Liz. So, let’s discover whether Franco is ever going to be returning to Port Charles or if we just have to accept he’s gone for good.

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GENERAL HOSPITAL – “Episode 14811″ – General Hospital” airs Monday-Friday, on ABC (check local listings). (Scott Kirkland/ABC via Getty Images) ROGER HOWARTH

Is Franco coming back to General Hospital?

No, it has not been confirmed by General Hospital or the actor that Franco will be coming back to the daytime soap opera.

The character was shockingly killed off in March 2021 when Franco was shot and supposedly killed by Peter August. However, some rumours circulated that Franco isn’t really dead and Howarth could bring him back to life.

Mainly because in a recent episode Cameron finds the timing of Liz finding her ring in her locker and Franco’s studio burning down not to be a coincidence. Some fans are even theorising that Austin is the person putting the ring in different places and setting the studio alight, and it is actually Franco doing it. We know that Franco had a tumour causing him to have different personalities, also the reason for his old psychotic tendencies. So could Franco and Austin be the same person?

When did Austin join General Hospital?

Roger Howarth made a comeback to the soap on 27 May playing a brand-new character, called Dr Austin. Although some fans are upset that he is playing a different character. It would be virtually impossible for him to play two characters at once and return to portraying Franco as well as Austin…unless we have a recast on the cards.

“I was straight-up terrified, 100 per cent,” Howarth said about taking on a new role. “Excited and pleased and grateful — I love what I do and I was glad to get back to it — but there’s a certain amount of nervous energy that showed up.

General Hospital: New Year, New Drama Promotional Trailer

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General Hospital: New Year, New Drama Promotional Trailer
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Roger Howarth’s GH roles explored

Howarth originally joined GH in March 2012 playing his One life To Live character Todd Manning. However, following some complications the soap was forced to find him a new role in 2013. They chose for him to take over the role of Franco and the reformed serial killer was loved up with Rebecca Herbst’s Elizabeth. Howarth’s new character of Austin seemed to be a friendly face at first but he may have a darker past.

We met Austin during the episode where a pregnant Maxie had just escaped Peter August who had abducted her to a cabin in the woods. During her escape, she ended up having contractions and going into labour whilst in the middle of the forest.

This is where the heroic hiker named Austin (Roger Howarth) steps in. Austin says he is a certified medical doctor and helps Maxie.

Following Maxie’s delivery of Louise, Austin was knocked out by Nurse Jennings, who was trying to steal the baby. Austin was then treated at GH for his injury but after recovering stuck to his promise and helped Dante Falconeri search for the missing baby.

Twitter wonder’s if Franco is still alive

Most fans on Twitter weren’t too annoyed that Howarth had acquired a new role and they were mostly just happy to see him return to the show.

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Darcy is an experienced journalist passionate about celebrity culture and entertainment. After gaining a degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University she has also become a social media specialist, always keeping informed on the latest trends. With almost five years of experience in media, her expertise is analysing platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. When she's not tracking the latest trending content, she’s watching films and eating lots of chocolate.