EW‘s scoop-guru Michael Ausiello reports that actress Julia Stiles is in talks with Dexter execs to join the murderous Showtime hit when it returns this fall.

According to Ausiello, Stiles is “in advanced talks to play a major, top secret role in the show’s upcoming fifth season.”

What kind of role? That’s part of the “top secret,” of course, but new show-runner Chip Johannessen told Ausiello that Stiles won’t be tasked with following in John Lithgow’s big, bad season 4 footsteps:

“We’re not going to have a single Big Bad this season,” revealed Johannessen. “We don’t want to try and top John Lithgow, so we’re going to change up the forces that Dexter’s going to be dealing with.”

More Dexter casting news follows for those who are fully up-to-date with the series’ major plot developments at the end of season 4:

The Dexter powers-that-be have also revealed that Julie Benz, who played Dexter’s wife Rita until she was murdered in the final episode of season 4, will return for the season 5 premiere in September.

Johannessen wouldn’t give much away on that front, either, but revealed that Rita will not reprise her presence in Dexter’s life as a waking vision, like his father Harry Morgan often does:

“We’re not going to do some ghostly thing with her,” says Johannessen. Adds fellow exec producer Sara Colleton: “We reserve those for Harry. If you have too many things like that it becomes gimmicky.”

How, then, will Rita return? Ausiello got this from another Showtime rep: Rita will “help Dexter deal with his newfound feelings of loss and grief — emotions he has never really felt before.”

Which leaves the following as Rita-returning possibilities: Dream sequences? A flashback sequence? Home movies?

Have your own theories on how Rita will return, and whom Julia Stiles might play when Dexter returns to Showtime this fall? All theories welcome in the comments.

[Source: EW]
Images courtesy of WENN

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.