Heartthrob Luke Grimes joined “True Blood” in its sixth season as James, Jessica’s (Deborah Ann Woll) new lover whom she met at Governor Burrell’s vampire camp. Initially set to reprise his role as a series regular in season 7, TV Line reported in late December that the actor decided to drop out of the role … and that the position of James is now being recast for the final season.

The last viewers saw of James, he had carried his romantic relationship with Jessica outside of the vamp camp walls. He performed with his band at the Bellefleur’s Bar & Grill (formerly Merlotte’s) human-vampire party six months after the whole camp ordeal, and the season 6 finale concluded with a horde of infected vampires about to feast on the fresh local blood.

Since season 6 ended in August, Luke Grimes joined the highly anticipated “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie as Elliot Grey, brother of kinky billionaire Christian Grey. Fans began to speculate that Grimes wouldn’t return to “True Blood” due to conflicting filming schedules, and while nothing was confirmed at the time, HBO released a statement on Monday confirming that the actor had dropped out of the vampire drama.

“The role of James is being recast due to the creative direction of the character,” a spokesperson for HBO revealed to TVLine.  

The site reached out to Grimes’ rep, who declined to comment, but a source close to the 29-year-old actor claimed that he asked to be released from his contract after learning about James’ season 7 storyline. “He initially joined the show because he wanted to work with [his ‘Forever’ co-star] Deborah Ann Woll,” the source explained. “But when he started reading the scripts for season 7, he was disappointed to learn that they were going in a completely different direction with James.”

While what exactly James will be diving into in season 7 is unclear, showrunner Brian Buckner previously told Entertainment Weekly that season 6 only “scratched the surface” of Luke Grimes as James.

“I always think it’s a nice thing to be able to introduce the next season’s regulars in an organic way in the previous season, if you know where you’re going, as we did in this case,” Buckner told the site in August. “It felt really good, especially with the vamp camp being what vamp camp was – that was a way to meet new vampires.”

Grimes has already been busy working on the “Fifty Shades of Grey” set. Playing opposite Eloise Mumford, who was added as Kate, Anastasia’s best friend and Elliot’s love interest, Grimes was photographed by author E.L. James on Dec. 11. “Luke Grimes’ trainers are too clean …,” E.L. James teased on his sneakers.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” is to hit theaters on Feb. 13, 2015. Filming for season 7 of “True Blood” is set to begin in January 2014. The seventh and final season will air on HBO in the summer of 2014.

Are you disappointed that the character of James is being recast? Who would you like to replace Luke Grimes as James? Let us know in the comments section or send a tweet to @AmandaTVScoop.