Credit: Patrick McElhenney/FXX

Blast Rick Astley and enjoy some rum ham, because things are looking bright for Dennis’ return on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Since last March’s season 12 finale, there’s been much speculation about whether Glenn Howerton, the star and co-creator of the FXX comedy, would be back for the already renewed season 13. The finale ended with Dennis heading to North Dakota to be a father to Brian Jr. (he gave the mother a fake name when they hooked up, of course). Plus, there’s the matter of Howerton having a new day job as the lead of the upcoming NBC comedy A.P.Bio.

But speaking with EW, the actor, who co-created the long-running series with Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, made it clear he hasn’t left Sunny, which only seems further validated by the fact that the interview was interrupted by McElhenney wanting to borrow a sweater from Howerton’s office.

“I would like to dispel any rumors that I left It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia to do A.P. Bio,” declares Howrton. “They are two completely different projects. We’re currently discussing what we want to do next season, but we haven’t started the writers’ room yet. So I haven’t left It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The conversation really should be about what’s going to happen with Dennis, not what’s going to happen with me, and that’s something we don’t have an answer to yet.”

It seems very possible Howerton could balance both Sunny and A.P. Bio considering costar Kaitlin Olson is already pulling double duty on Sunny and Fox’s The Mick. And in terms of the plot line that sent Dennis out of Philadelphia, Howerton insists it was a creative decision.

“After 12 years, we’re trying to mix things up, we’re trying to do interesting things with the characters, and trying not to tread on the same territory over and over again,” he continued. “We’re trying to find new and interesting ways to challenge ourselves and challenge our writing. Obviously, there was something we’d never really done before — we put the characters through things that will actually affect the rest of their lives, by Mac (McElhenney) finally coming out of the closet and by having Dennis leave at the end of season 12. So it was a creative decision, we thought it was an interesting choice to make, an interesting direction to take the show in, and it also potentially afforded me the opportunity to free myself up to do some other work.”

A.P. Bio premieres Feb. 1 on NBC at 9:30 p.m. ET. Watch Howerton’s epic introduction in the comedy’s first scene, which EW exclusively premiered earlier Thursday.