After nearly two years of waiting, fans of the hit Hallmark Channel series When Calls the Heart, known as “Hearties”, finally found out Elizabeth Thornton’s decision.

In the end, Elizabeth chose the businessman Lucas Bouchard over Mountie Nathan Grant. Of course, not all “Hearties” were happy with her decision and let their feelings be known via social media.

Well, on Sunday, March 6th at 8/7c, When Calls the Heart returns for its ninth season and we get to see the blossoming relationship between Elizabeth Thornton and Lucas Bouchard.

We had the chance to sit down with actor Erin Krakow to talk about the backlash of her character’s decision, how she hopes fans will see Lucas Bouchard in another light and if wedding bells are in their future.

Pop Culture Principle – You have to be thrilled that the show is entering its ninth season and still doing well with the viewers and in the ratings?

Erin Krakow – It feels incredible, and I am very grateful. It’s an amazing accomplishment that we have all been lucky enough to be a part of with the help of our fantastic fanbase and the support of the network. It’s been an amazing ride so far. I am well aware that most shows don’t make it this far and on those really cold days and the early, early mornings getting to work, that is something that I think about from time to time just how lucky we are to be a part of a show that has lasted this long.

Pop Culture Principle – It’s been a long two-year journey for Elizabeth deciding between Nathan and Lucas. You have a great quote in a recent interview. You said, “”Remember just how challenging Elizabeth’s journey has been, how emotional it was for her to lose Jack. Try to reframe your support of one gentleman caller over the other into support for Elizabeth and her journey to find love again.” Do you still feel the same way?

Erin Krakow – You know, I forgot that I said that and thank you for reminding me. I hesitate to fully embrace that because I want people to know that Elizabeth isn’t the only character that they should support. As a matter of fact, I don’t feel that way at all in regard to my comment.

I just think over the past year, there has been a lot of criticism thrown in her direction and mine as well, but I can take it. I am very protective of Elizabeth, and I think she has had so many challenges along the way. Her losing Jack was a major loss in her life, but it would be really nice if we could celebrate the joy that she’s now getting to experience. I am partial because I play the character obviously, but I am really happy for Elizabeth that she has found happiness again.

Pop Culture Principle – The Hearties divided themselves into two camps during this time, Team Lucas, and Team Nathan. Were you surprised by that and also by the reaction from some of the fans when Elizabeth made her decision?

Erin Krakow – Yes, I was surprised. The thing is, I understand. We put the Hearties in sort of an impossible situation where we wanted them to be passionate and invested in this love triangle and I think we wanted them to root for either Nathan or Lucas. We shouldn’t be all that surprised that there was a reaction when someone was chosen. I found some of the vitriol to be a little surprising. I’ve never been called some of the names that I was called throughout this process and again, I am a big girl, and I can take it, but it got really personal real quick and that’s the part I took issue with.

It’s not ok to come for Chris McNally as a person and the same goes for Kevin McGarry. I don’t think it’s fair and I do feel bad that one of the teams felt hurt and frustrated by the outcome, but yes, I guess I was surprised by some of the venom that came from that disappointment.

Pop Culture Principle – Are you excited for fans to get the chance to watch the relationship grow between Lucas and Elizabeth without the distractions or complications?

Erin Krakow – Yes, I am. I am very excited. We touched on this earlier, but I think getting to see Elizabeth happy again is a big deal. We’ve seen the beginning of a courtship between Elizabeth and Lucas, but now we get to see them really dive in in a way that isn’t complicated by anyone else and it’s a very sweet loving dynamic between Elizabeth and Lucas, but also Lucas and Little Jack. Mainly because of COVID we really didn’t get to explore that all that much, but this season we get to see more of their relationship and it’s just so darling and great to see.

Pop Culture Principle – With Lucas in the picture, will we now get to see him bond with little Jack, and do you hope the fans will get to see and appreciate another side of Lucas?

Erin Krakow – Absolutely. I think that with every passing season, we are getting more opportunities to see all of these characters in slightly different lights. So, this season, we are getting to see Lucas as a kind of father figure and buddy to little Jack and it is really special to see him from that new perspective.

Pop Culture Principle – Although Nathan is brokenhearted about not being Elizabeth’s final choice, from the trailer it looks like he may have a new love interest with the addition of actress Amanda Wong, who plays Mei Sou added to the cast. What can you tell us about this new character?

Erin Krakow – We are just so lucky that Amanda Wong has joined us this season. She is amazing and brings a lot of great new energy to Hope Valley. I will say we are full of surprises in Hope Valley and just when you think something will go in one direction, it might go in another direction, so you never know. I will also say that Nathan, being the eligible and handsome bachelor that he is, I’m sure it won’t take him long to open up his heart again and find love.

Pop Culture Principle – We really see Elizabeth fight for Angela to have the right to attend school with the other children in Season 8. Why was that so important for Elizabeth and how surprised was she to see the town also join the fight?

Erin Krakow – The scene where the town shows up at the Canfield’s house and they all come walking to school together just gives me the chills. That scene was a true Hope Valley moment in the sense that it was community coming together in support of one another to do what was right and that to me is what When Calls the Heart is really about. Of course, we have romance, friends, family, and intrigue, but I think that sense of community helping to lift one another up is what our show is about at its core.

Pop Culture Principle – For the first time in the series, we did see some real tension between Elizabeth and Rosemary for a bit in Season 8. Although they eventually worked things out, how important was that to the evolution and continuation of their friendship?

Erin Krakow – I just hated it, I really did. I don’t mean that I hated the writing, or I wish that it hadn’t happened, but it was just hard to play because I just love Pascale. It was a challenge to play those scenes and I was happy when we got over it. I think it’s valuable because it shows that relationships and friendships aren’t always perfect and that’s ok and that doesn’t mean that they have to end. There are ways of working through things and communicating together and that’s real life and that is what Elizabeth and Rosemary did.

Pop Culture Principle – We see Rosemary find her calling with running the newspaper the Valley Voice. Will we see her trials and tribulations with the paper continue in Season 9?

Erin Krakow – We absolutely will! Rosemary is very focused on the paper, and she has a new lease on life. The woman was destined to be on the stage of course, but she has a nose for news, and she is always interested in getting the scoop so she can put something in the paper and that might lead to a bit of conflict at some point this season, so stay tuned for that! Rosemary is very passionate about her new job as editor-in-chief!

Pop Culture Principle – One of the interesting storylines in Season 9 will be the race for mayor. How soon will we find out who becomes mayor of the city, or will this play out over the ninth season?

Erin Krakow – We find out pretty soon. We aren’t going to leave everyone in suspense for too long when it comes to who becomes Mayor. It’s a really fun story that has a bit of drama, a bit of comedy and a little something for everyone.

Pop Culture Principle – We also see that Henry Gowan has left Hope Valley, but right before he drove off, he looked up at the Abigail’s Café sign. He has always been an interesting character in Hope Valley. One, do you think he’s off to find Abigail and will he be back and 2) do you hope we get to see Abigail return to the series one day?

Erin Krakow –Well, I would love to see Abigail back in Hope Valley, and I think I can leave it at that. Everyone knows where my heart is when it comes to that. I do actually think that Gowan was heading out to find her. Gowan and Abigail had a pretty special relationship. She always saw the good in him and he was on his way to find that person who can remind him that he is a good person at heart.

Pop Culture Principle – If Elizabeth from Season 9 could travel back in time and give any advice to Elizabeth from the first season, what do you think she would say?

Erin Krakow – Wow, that is such a great question. It’s a funny thing because I feel in life there are no regrets and you have to go through what you go through in order to become the person you are today. But If I’m going to throw that out of the window for a moment and answer the question, I would say don’t mess around with the miner from Season 1. I would say get with the Mountie sooner because time is limited. Also, although you think Rosemary might be an enemy, she really is a good friend and embrace her sooner.

Pop Culture Principle – Will we see a marriage this season between Elizabeth and Lucas?

Erin Krakow – I shouldn’t be surprised that I was asked this question. If I gave you a definitive answer to that question, I would be giving too much away, so I’ll say you’ll just have to wait and see! 😊

A huge thank you to Erin Krakow for taking the time to talk with us. When Calls the Heart returns for its ninth season on Sunday, March 6th at 8/7c exclusively on the Hallmark Channel!

**All photos courtesy of the Hallmark Channel**

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