EastEnders star Jake Wood’s exit ‘explained’

EASTENDERS’ Jake Wood has confirmed that his final scenes as Max Branning will air in mid-February. 

It was confirmed back in September that Max would be leaving in a huge new storyline. But what will the mystery exit plot be? Here's the lowdown…

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What will Max Branning’s exit storyline be?

Attacking Ian

EastEnders fans know that trouble is brewing after Ian Beale caught Max snogging Linda behind Mick’s back last night. 

Max and Ian are already at each other’s throats after Ian stole his money to buy the pub for Sharon, but Ian will infuriate Max further in upcoming scenes when he blackmails him by threatening to expose his affair with Linda.

Might a furious Max lash out and land himself in prison?

Whether Max does attack Ian or not, fans are convinced he’ll get the blame and be driven out of Walford. 

One convinced fan tweeted: “Max in jail from bashing Ian round the head? #EastEnders”

Another added: “100% certain that sharon has a plan in action and is gonna attack ian and pin it on Max.”

A third said: “Max is making too many comments about hurting Ian to actually be the one who attacks Ian. But he will 100% be framed for it. #EastEnders”

After discovering Ian’s killer secret

With Max growing increasingly suspicious of Ian’s dodgy antics, might he do some digging and discover he’s behind Dennis Mitchell’s death?

This could definitely lead to things turning nasty between the pair, and facilitating Max’s exit.

One fan said: "I would not be surprised frankly if Max puts 2 and 2 together to work out that he killed Denny #EastEnders."

Driven out by Mick

Linda and Max first shared a passionate kiss on the pub balcony last month after he caught her turning back to alcohol. 

And with Mick preoccupied trying to come to terms with his childhood abuse by Katy Lewis, Linda and Max have since grown ever closer. 

As Max and Ian’s feud escalates this Christmas, it’s possible that will Ian air Max and Linda’s dirty laundry out for everyone to see.

Could Mick, already fragile and confused, end up lashing out at Max?

Or might Linda discover it’s Mick she wants after all and drive Max out of the Square for good herself?

Taking to Twitter after Ian spotted Max kissing Linda, one fan said: "Oh Ian….somethings never change.  Is this part of the big exit story line for Max?"

Another added: “Now that it's likely that Max isn't leaving until early next year, I hope he gets a better exit than this Linda mess. #EastEnders"

A third said: “I'm worried that this stuff with Linda is Max's full exit storyline.”

When will Max Branning’s exit air in EastEnders?

Jake has confirmed that Max Branning’s exit will air next February. 

The actor appeared on Good Morning Britain earlier today to reveal ITV's 1 Million Minutes campaign advert to combat loneliness, which he directed.

When host Piers Morgan asked Jake when his EastEnders exit will air, the actor replied: "I think about mid-February, I am filming now for another two weeks so it will be about mid-February."

Why is Jake Wood leaving?

It was confirmed back in September that Jake was leaving the soap after 15 years playing Max. 

He told fans at the time: "I have loved playing Max Branning who amongst other things in that time has had 4 marriages, 10 affairs, 4 children (2 dying from falling from the roof of The Queen Vic), been buried alive, watched unwanted DVDs at Xmas and perhaps most traumatising of all…shared a hot tub with Ian Beale.

"I have made some truly great friends whilst on the show and I’ll miss everyone there. I’m grateful they have left the door open for Max and I’m excited to see what new horizons are around the corner."

Executive producer Jon Sen previously said in a statement about Jake's departure: "Jake is a truly wonderful actor and EastEnders have been extremely lucky to have him for so long.

"We have a big storyline for Max that starts in the coming weeks and we are all very excited to see that play out."

Will Jake Wood be returning to EastEnders?

Fans will be relieved to hear that Jake also confirmed on Good Morning Britain earlier today that his character Max wouldn’t be leaving the soap in a body bag. 

He revealed: "One of the security guys when I drove in last week said, 'Sorry to hear you're leaving, are you going in a cab or a coffin?'

"It’s not going to be a cab exactly but they’re leaving the door open so I’m very pleased for that."

But with EastEnders yet to confirm his return, viewers will have to wait and see.

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