The co-creator of the popular Hallmark series When Calls the Heart took to Twitter this week in an attempt to appease viewers still seething over the show’s Season 8 finale. In a series of tweets, Brian Bird asked fans not to abandon the show.
“I urge you to keep watching for all the happiness yet to come,” he wrote.
Thousands of fans took to social media following the May 9 broadcast, in which the show’s protagonist, widow Elizabeth Thatcher (played by Erin Krakow), finally chose between two longtime suitors, Nathan Grant (played by Kevin McGarry) and Lucas Bouchard (played by Chris McNally).
After letting Nathan down gently, she pursued Lucas, to the outrage of many fans, who flooded Facebook and Twitter with angry comments, conspiracy theories, and threats to stop watching the show.
One fan wrote on Facebook, “I didn’t think I could be MORE disappointed after watching the finale of 8 seasons of Game of Thrones…then I watched the finale of When Calls the Heart.” Another simply said, “Maybe Lucas will grow on me.”
‘No last minute changes’ to WCTH Season 8 finale
Co-creator and executive producer Bird weighed in, reminding fans that the season finale was not the end of the show and that anything could happen in Season 9. He also responded to rumors that the shows’ writers and producers had somehow misled fans into believing Elizabeth would choose Nathan, or that they changed course in the middle of production, as some fans alleged.
“This is simply not true,” he wrote on Twitter. “There were no last-minute changes. The outcome was decided months earlier.”
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, two of the show’s stars, Pascale Hutton and Kavan Smith, also defended the storyline.
“I think the message of our show has always been one of love and hope and support and community,” said Hutton, who plays Rosemary LeVeaux Coulter on the series. “I hope fans can…remember that and take that to heart and project that going forward.”
Smith, who plays Leland Coulter, said, “If people are willing to give us a chance and some of the storylines may not have ended up the way they wanted them to but if they are willing to stay open-minded, I think they’ll enjoy where we are going.”
When Calls the Heart Season 5 finale prompted similar reaction
Both actors acknowledged the similarity between the response to the Season 8 finale and the one that followed the finale of Season 5, when beloved character Jack Thornton, played by actor Daniel Lissing, was killed shortly after his wedding to Elizabeth. Smith said the disappointment was understandable, but that the show continued to grow and develop even without Jack.
“We got better season after season,” Smith said. “The storylines got better, the characters got stronger, and we kept developing. So I feel that we’re still in a position where the show’s going to get better.”
Bird told fans not to give up on the show. On Twitter, he wrote, “If you change your minds, Hope Valley will welcome you back with open arms.”
When Calls the Heart is currently on hiatus.