“EastEnders Bombshell: Callum Highway’s Future Hangs in the Balance Following Ben Mitchell’s Departure!”

What’s next for EastEnders’ Callum Highway after Ben Mitchell’s exit?

Callum in EastEnders
Callum’s new chapter is set to commence following Ben’s exit (Picture: BBC / Jack Barnes / Kieron McCarron)

We’re still recovering from Ben Mitchell’s (Max Bowden) untimely exit from EastEnders. But, after that emotional farewell with husband Callum Highway (Tony Clay), the show must go on. So now we turn our attention to what’s next for Callum as a solo act.

Callum has vowed to wait for Ben to complete his jail stint and return home, and he’ll also be helping to care for Ben’s daughter Lexi Pearce (Isabella Brown), who views Callum as a second father. But what about life outside of Callum’s family commitments?

Callum hasn’t had a storyline of his own since the brief revisiting of his PTSD in 2021, triggered when he witnessed a stabbing while on duty as a police officer. This followed Callum’s undercover work against Ben’s dad Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden), something he only did to secure Ben’s freedom at the time.

Everything since has been about Callum supporting a troubled Ben, a fact he referenced during their final moments together. Callum raised a valid point, and it’s something he’s always been outspoken about. Yet EastEnders has never taken us past the declarations of ‘What about me?’

We’ve noted Callum’s tendency to stay on the sidelines before, and now more than ever, it’s time for Callum to be a priority for EastEnders and for Ben’s absence to mark his turning point. So, what exactly would this mean for him going forward? I have a few ideas.

The most obvious option would be to pair Callum up with old friend Johnny Carter (Charlie Suff). Callum would have to be officially single for this to happen, though, as to make him stray would go against his loyal nature. As much as we don’t want to consider it, we shouldn’t rule out Ben ending their union down the line rather than allowing Callum to wait for him.

Ben and Callum row in the street in EastEnders
Callum has vowed to wait for Ben (Picture: BBC / Jack Barnes / Kieron McCarron)

This scenario wouldn’t be popular with fans, but would be more realistic than EastEnders limiting Callum to loneliness for the next few years. Still, a romance with Johnny, or anyone else, simply doesn’t feel right at this time.

Even if Callum and Ben did divorce, it would be out of character for Callum to dive straight into a new relationship – something he actively avoided even after previous break ups with Ben.

And soap characters have so much potential beyond their love lives, so let’s put that side of Callum on the back burner for now. We’ve already touched upon his history on the BBC soap, and there’s still plenty to explore.

We never delved deeper into his past with his bully of a father, Jonno (Richard Graham), and have yet to meet his mother. While we were treated to Callum’s beautiful transformation from shy, awkward army lad to out-and-proud, confident police detective, EastEnders has avoided giving us his full background details.

Callum speaks to Johnny at the Vic in EastEnders
An option would be to pair Callum up with Johnny (Picture: BBC / Jack Barnes / Kieron McCarron)

There’s certainly a tale to tell with his mum, the only relative of his who has always been missing in action and so deserves some context. Is she a kind-hearted woman who felt forced to leave her family to escape abusive Jonno? We know she was in touch with Callum during his early days in Walford, but where is she now and why hasn’t she had a continued presence in her son’s life?

Before Callum revealed his true sexuality, he met Vicky Kennedy (Isis Davis), sister of Chris, a man Callum grew close to in the army and was clearly in love with. Vicky informed Callum of Chris’ death and presented him with some letters, in which Chris had professed his own feelings for his fellow comrade.

It would be great to revisit Callum’s uncertainty of the time and see him reunite with Vicky to acknowledge Chris’ impact on his life, bringing Callum full circle as he reflects on how his life has changed.

We’d also welcome the chance to see Callum step into the spotlight with a long-term storyline.

Talented star Tony deserves a chance to shine, so perhaps Callum could be diagnosed with a chronic, lifelong condition, ultimately allowing him to use that trademark strength he traditionally instils in others?

It’s high time we got a glimpse of how his career is faring, and how recent events might affect his mental health after years of only the most fleeting insights into Callum’s state of mind. EastEnders skipped airing Callum’s counselling sessions, which were said to have helped him cope with his trauma from both his army experiences and police work.

Callum standing on the Square in EastEnders
Will we see more of Callum’s career? (Picture: BBC / Jack Barnes / Kieron McCarron)

As beloved as Callum and Ben will remain as a duo, the focus must shift onto Callum as a character in his own right.

We don’t want to see him lose his solid dynamic with the Mitchells and Lexi, but Callum has been in desperate need of care and attention from the team behind the scenes for as long as we can remember.

Sadly, we’ll have to get used to watching Callum without his soulmate, Ben. But if EastEnders is to ensure the character doesn’t get lost among his peers, there are endless story opportunities for the taking.

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