ET exclusively chats with 'WCTH' boss Elizabeth Stewart about the season 9 finale, including the engagement, pregnancy and more!
WARNING: Spoilers ahead! Do not proceed if you haven’t watched Sunday’s season 9 finale of When Calls the Heart!
Elizabeth Thornton is officially off the market!
During Sunday’s season 9 finale of When Calls the Heart, hearties around the world watched Lucas Bouchard pop the question to our favorite school teacher, in a dreamy and intimate proposal that adorably included her son, Little Jack. During a casual stroll, the youngster is busy collecting rocks before presenting his mom with the rock -- prompting Lucas to ask for Elizabeth to be his wife.
ET spoke exclusively with WCTH's co-executive producer and writer, Elizabeth Stewart, who dished on that heartfelt proposal, the pair's evolved friendship with Nathan and what's in store for the Mountie's love life, how Rosemary and Lee will adapt to expanding their family, the status of Bill's health, Henry's road to redemption and more.
ET: We just finished watching the last episode in season 9 of When Calls the Heart, and OMG, what a finale! Between Lucas proposing to Elizabeth and Rosemary telling Lee they’re expecting a baby, how are you feeling? How do you hope the hearties are feeling?
Elizabeth Stewart: I hope the hearties are feeling as excited as we are to dive into these long-anticipated events. But it was important to let Elizabeth take her time with Lucas and for Rosemary and Lee to become contented with their lives together before the baby surprise.
Let’s start with Elizabeth and Lucas. Was it always the plan for season 9 to end with them getting engaged?
Plotting out a season is always an organic process, built step by step, but yes, we hoped by season’s end to have earned Lucas’ proposal.
Elizabeth has had a lot of grand, cinematic moments: her proposal from Jack, wedding to Jack and her kiss on the bridge with Lucas. Tell me about the decision to make Lucas’ proposal to Elizabeth a bit more intimate and relaxed (but equally as heartfelt).
Elizabeth is in a different place than she was with Jack. The experiences of widowhood and motherhood have deepened her. I don’t think she needs or even desires to be swept off her feet in quite that once-in-a-lifetime way she was with Jack. Including Little Jack in the proposal is a signal that her top priority now is as a mother.
Lucas specifically asks during his proposal to be a father to Little Jack. How will their bond evolve as they officially become family?
We made a conscious effort in season 9 to bring Lucas and Little Jack together. They are definitely “Buddies!” But as Lucas becomes Little Jack’s stepfather, that relationship will obviously evolve.
What’s next for the soon-to-be Bouchards? Have you started conceptualizing their nuptials and if it’ll be similar in tone to their proposal? Will they elope or have a wedding with all their favorite folks in Hope Valley?
All I can say is that the course of true love never did run smooth!
Nathan’s friendship with both Elizabeth and Lucas developed into new levels of kindness and understanding in season 9. Tell me about evolving them from a love triangle to three friends with mutual adoration and respect?
For so long, Nathan carried the weight of his guilt around Jack’s death and his heartbreak at losing Elizabeth. It’s been a delight to watch him lighten up a bit and to find true friendship with Elizabeth and even Lucas. I think a large part of that is due to the chemistry between Erin, Kevin and Chris and their amazing performances.
What’s next as the Coulters prep for a baby? Will we see Rosemary with a baby bump as her pregnancy progresses? Will she have a tumultuous labor scene, similar to how Elizabeth gave birth?
I expect that Rosemary with approach giving birth with the same take-charge attitude with which she approaches everything else -- which of course means she’s in for some shock and surprises!
Mei Sou has been such a wonderful addition to Hope Valley. We’re so happy she returned to town -- and naturally, reconnected with Nathan and even spent time with Allie! Safe to assume they’re now a couple?
I don’t think it’s safe to assume anything when it comes to love and relationships, especially in Hope Valley!
Faith admitted her feelings for Nathan, but by the end of the season 9 finale, she seemed at peace with him reuniting with Mei. With Carson gone and Nathan seemingly with Mei, is she longing for romance -- and will she find it soon?
I think Faith is in a place where she would love to find love but she’s also grateful for the full life she has, between her medical career and her friendships in Hope Valley. Maybe she sees that as enough or maybe she’s just convincing herself of that.
Season 9 ends with the town rallying behind Henry, even hailing him a hero and Florence apologizing -- but he’s still behind bars and facing serious time. What lies ahead for Henry?
I think Henry will continue on his path towards redemption and forgiveness. Of course, his biggest challenge is forgiving himself.
Bill’s health was a central storyline this season. He even presents Elizabeth with his estate plan but assures her he’s not going anywhere soon. How is he doing?
Bill has had a wake-up call with his health. If there is a season 10, he’ll have to make some big changes in the way he’s been leading his life.
Hickam saved the day after the saloon fire -- and of course, Fiona was the first to toast and celebrate him. Where does their, could-be-more-than-friends, relationship stand -- and will it ever evolve beyond trusted colleagues?
I love Hickam and Fiona as pals. Could there be something more between them? Quite possibly. But there are now a few single ladies in town, including Faith and Mei. If there is a season 10, maybe it will be Hickam’s chance to get the girl, but which girl?
Joseph received a generous donation for the church -- and Minnie encouraged him to swallow his pride and go after his business goals. What’s in store for the Canfields, personally and professionally?
The Canfields have become part of the fabric of Hope Valley. Whatever’s in store for them, they will secure their place at the heart of the community.
Nathan and Mei reunite after she returns to Hope Valley, and while they definitely seem to connect, some fans were optimistic there may have been a kiss or something to advance a possible courtship. Why did you decide to not include something like that?
I think the feeling is that Nathan shouldn’t be in a rush to get into a relationship with anyone. He’s finally made peace with losing Elizabeth. For now, his priority is Allie.
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