What Daniel Lissing Misses Most About His Time on 'When Calls the Heart' (Exclusive)

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Daniel Lissing may no longer be a part of When Calls the Heart, but the hit Hallmark period drama will always be a part of him.

ET's Deidre Behar sat down with Lissing on Wednesday, where the charming star opened up about his unforgettable time on the show, the bonds he's forged with his former castmates, and the support he's gotten from viewers.

The 37-year-old Australian actor, who starred as Canadian Mountie Jack Thornton for five seasons of When Calls the Heart, shocked the show's dedicated fans (known as "Hearties") when his character was killed off in April, following his decision to move on to other projects.

Jack's passionate relationship with Hope Valley schoolteacher Elizabeth Thatcher (played by Erin Krakow) was one of the central stories throughout the series, and his unexpected death -- which came just a few episodes after their wedding -- left many viewers upset and angered.

It's a feeling Lissing says he understands and appreciates, and one he feels will dissipate when season six comes around.

"I think it's the idea that this character isn't going to be in season six that they're missing. But I can almost guarantee that the Hearties and all the fans of When Call the Heart, when they watch season six and they see the new characters come in, the storyline, and they see Erin and Lori [Loughlin] doing their thing, and see Hope Valley in summertime, it's just so beautiful. I'm sure they'll miss Jack and they'll spare a thought for Jack but, like everything, we'll move on."

While Lissing said that he knows that any fan outrage is "coming from a place of hurt," he stressed that Jack's presence on the show wasn't the only thing that kept the show going strong.

"This show is way bigger than one character," he said. "This network and this program will continue to bring quality programming and great stories and the kind of Hallmark-iness that everyone has come to love," Lissing shared. "Anyone out there that's saying, 'Oh, I'm not gonna watch it if this character isn't on there,' I say just give it a shot. I believe that anyone that's saying anything like that will watch one episode and be right back [on board]."

"All I can hope is the fans will continue to enjoy When Calls the Heart as much as they always have, and they'll continue to support me in my career and the decisions I make moving forward," he added.

As for his connection to the cast and crew of the show, the handsome star said that there's "nothing but good feelings."

"It's something that I'll always be proud of and always hold close to my heart," Lissing shared. "I miss it, of course I do. This is my family. I miss the work on set with some of my favorite people in the world…it's great to be working and it's great to be on set. That's what I live for."

Out of everything he gained from being a part of the long-running romantic drama, it seems that his friendship with his co-stars, Krakow and Loughlin, is what he holds dearest. And despite his departure from the series, it hasn't changed things between them.

"I talk to Erin and Lori and a lot of the cast and crew from When Calls the Heart weekly, if not daily," he said. "In fact, we are as close as we ever have been. It's a lifelong friendship. I want everyone to know that. Lori, Erin, we are bonded for life because of [the show]."

Lissing, who described Krakow as "one of my best mates in the world," said that he would definitely be on board with the idea of working alongside her again in the future.

"I would love to do a film with Erin for Hallmark. I think fans would love to see us together even if its a couple of different characters. Maybe us two in modern day would be really interesting," he said. "The idea of Erin and I working together again is super exciting to me and I hope that Hallmark, and the two of us, can work out something or find a script or find something that everyone loves and everyone wants to do."

The sixth season of When Calls the Heart premieres next year, and, while Lissing won't be on the show, he says he'll still be an avid viewer.

"I'll be watching every week. I'll be supporting [them]... it'll be really interesting, especially set in that time period in the town and that support network and these new suitors [for Elizabeth] coming in as well," Lissing shared. "I can't wait to see what happens."

And the door to the show isn't necessarily closed forever. The actor said he would "of course" be open to coming back in the future for a cameo, perhaps in a flashback appearance.

In the meantime, Lissing's working relationship with Hallmark remains as strong as ever, and he has been working closely with the network on their upcoming holiday movie, Christmas in Love, starring alongside Brooke D'Orsay.

"I read the script and I had to do it because it's one of those stories where the arc of the character is just so interesting," Lissing reflected. "It's two worlds colliding. It's two sets of ideologies colliding and then coming together, which I think is relevant, especially this time of the year when we need hope and love and a little bit of togetherness. This was a no brainer for me."

Christmas in Love premieres Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the Hallmark Channel.


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