Ian was last seen in January 2021 fleeing Walford after Sharon (Letitia Dean) had unsuccessfully tried to murder him and has not returned since.
Woodyatt took leave from the soap to appear in a play, although delays caused by coronavirus saw it pushed back and his sabbatical has been extended.
Asked on Sunday Brunch if he would be returning soon, he replied: “I don’t know. It’s not just my decision to make, it’s also EastEnders. I left because of the way the storyline was going, because Ian needed to go.
“Not me going, ‘I wanna leave’, or them saying, ‘You’re going!’ that was the storyline.”
He added: “I just had another opportunity. This play came up. I just fancied doing something different. The way the storyline was, they needed me to take a break. Yeah, the break’s just got longer.”
Woodyatt is due to continue in the play until at least April, meaning that Ian is unlikely to be back in Albert Square before the autumn.