‘When Calls the Heart’: Elizabeth and Lucas’ Romance Heats Up in First Season 9 Footage (Exclusive)

ET has the exclusive first footage from season 9 of 'When Calls the Heart,' featuring a romantic moment between Elizabeth and Lucas.

Elizabeth Thornton and Lucas Bouchard’s romance is soaring to new heights!

Ever since the couple solidified their courtship in the season 8 finale of When Calls the Heart with a passionate kiss on the bridge and a champagne-filled date inside the library, fans have been eager to see what’s next for the couple. 

Only ET has the exclusive first footage from the upcoming season 9 of When Calls the Heart, where hearties are invited to float away with the school teacher and saloon owner. The 15-second clip starts with a close-up shot of Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) and Lucas (Chris McNally) canoodling inside a hot-air balloon.

“Are you sure?” she asks, while gazing lovingly into Lucas’ eyes. “I have never been more sure,” he assures her, before adding, “Trust me.”

The camera zooms out to reveal the pair smiling while huddling closely together -- Lucas’ arm wrapped tightly around Elizabeth’s waist. There’s even a brief albeit sweet moment of PDA, where Lucas plants a tender kiss on Elizabeth’s cheek. 

The footage includes just the first of many moments that hearties will enjoy when the beloved Hallmark Channel series returns in early 2022 for its ninth season, which will include 12 episodes. Series lead and executive producer Krakow shared her excitement with ET in July, just as production was starting. She gushed, “We couldn’t be more excited to begin shooting season 9 of When Calls the Heart. It’s a wonderful feeling being back on set with the amazing cast and crew. There are a lot more stories to tell this season and thanks to the talented writing staff, there will be more drama, adventure and romance and we can’t wait for our fans to see what Hope Valley has in store.” 

ET spoke with Krakow and McNally in May, shortly after it was revealed that Elizabeth had chosen to pursue a courtside with the saloon owner over the town Mountie, Nathan Grant.

“I'm very happy and I'm very sad, it’s the truth, people!” Krakow exclaimed when asked about Elizabeth's decision. “I hope that I'm validating what probably many of the hearties are feeling, which is very mixed feelings. We have been blessed with Kevin [McGarry] and Chris, who have done such an incredible job bringing these characters to life, and it's impossible not to, as a viewer, fall in love with the characters they've created, it's just impossible not to. So I'm really excited about this next chapter for Elizabeth, getting to see her happy and free and in love.”

As for McNally, he spoke on behalf of his character, telling ET, "Lucas is ecstatic! He did his best to show [Elizabeth] how he felt and tried to be patient and took his time. Obviously, there were hiccups along the way, but I think he said [in season 6 or 7], ‘I'll wait as long as I have to for the woman of my dreams.’ Something in that neighborhood. So I think he's mostly just relieved and excited for the future.” 

When Calls the Heart returns to Hallmark Channel for its ninth season in early 2022.