'When Calls the Heart' Releases First Season 8 Footage

Hallmark Channel dropped an early look at the upcoming season on Christmas Day.

Talk about a Christmas treat.

Though there wasn't a new When Calls the Heart holiday movie this year, Hallmark Channel released the first official footage from the upcoming eighth season during the Christmas Day encore airing of last year's film, When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas.

In the clip, which is introduced by Kevin McGarry and bookended by Chris McNally, viewers meet one of the new characters coming to Hope Valley: Joseph Canfield (Viv Leacock), whose vehicle is stuck on the side of the road and gets an assist from Jesse (Aren Buchholz).

At the same time, Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) blazes past on horseback chasing after a novice rider who has lost control of his horse. Thankfully, all is well that ends well.

"Lively little town you have here," Joseph says to Jesse, as a stressed-out Elizabeth rides past them after taking care of the situation.

"Yeah, we try!" Jesse quips, chuckling at the near-horse-riding mishap.

The Canfield family will be introduced in season 8 of When Calls the Heart, which includes Joseph's wife, Minnie (Natasha Burnett), and their two children, Angela (Vienna Leacock) and Cooper (Elias Leacock), who are played by Leacock's real-life children.

The season 7 finale ended on a bit of a romantic cliffhanger when Elizabeth, after mistakenly believing that Nathan (McGarry) had been shot, hugged him when she saw that he hadn't been. And Lucas (McNally), watching from afar, could only look on. With Elizabeth landing a publishing deal and being well on her way to success, will she get closer to making a decision between Nathan and Lucas?

ET's Deidre Behar spoke with Krakow in April over Zoom to get her reaction to returning for another season.

"I hope more of the same, and that we'll get to continue to deepen these relationships and storylines," the actress and co-executive producer said. "I'm so glad that the show continues to resonate for so many people -- even in its seventh season. It's amazing and it's a real gift to all of us that we get to continue to work on a show with such longevity."

"And I'm also so excited because I feel like we still have a lot more stories to tell," Krakow shared. "Our cast and crew are some of my best friends. And so I'm really looking forward to getting to spend more 16-hour days together."

When Calls the Heart premieres Sunday, Feb. 21 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Channel. For more on the series, watch the video below.

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