Reuben Milner is set to return to Shortland Street as Jack Hannah and reunite with his on-screen brother Curtis, played by Jayden Daniels.
The Hannah bothers were two of Ferndale's most popular characters. Their family was beset by soap opera tragedy, their father died in a plane crash and little sister Pixie - played by now movie star Thomasin McKenzie - died of cancer.
Milner's character was the last family member on the show and when he left it was one of the most tear-jerking moments in the show's 28-year history.
Jack's new-born baby died after suffering a catastrophic brain bleed and at the suggestion of his new boyfriend, he left to look after his cancer-stricken mother on Waiheke.
"I still remember like yesterday the scenes where Nicole and Jack farewelled baby Kiri. I remember not being able to stop the tears, even when I got home and I was Reubs again. I still get emotional thinking about it," Milner tells Spy.
The 24-year-old enjoyed the break from acting.
"I spent some of the time working on the docks and installing fire alarms with my stepdad, but I was super excited when I got the call to come back to Ferndale. Jack was still right there, in my heart, I just put my costume back on and it felt like I had never left," he says.
"From a young age, I had always wanted to be an actor, but I knew that it's not an easy industry to break into. I didn't know what was coming for me. So I decided to finish school then follow my dream. It wasn't long after my last exam that I had my first audition and scored the role of Jack Hannah. I couldn't believe my luck."
It's been five years since Milner finished his days at Whangarei Boys' High School and walked into the studios of Shortland Street. He says it's an experience he will never forget - and that made him jump at the chance to return.
There was one major difference this time round. Milner was required to film his first scenes back in Ferndale while Auckland was in alert level 3 lockdown.
"It was really different on-set. We were doing our own hair and makeup, being costume checked from a distance, we had to wear a mask when not filming a scene and we had to maintain distance onset and around the building," he says.
"People always say it – but it was the camaraderie and family feeling of the cast and crew and this was again shining through under some pretty strange circumstances."
With the production about to head into filming of the annual Christmas cliffhanger, will the return of the Hannah brothers signal the return of some other familiar faces to Ferndale? Or indeed with a tragic family history and an annual cast kill-off that follows the end-of-year Shorty catastrophe, will the brother's reunion sadly be short-lived?