'WCTH's Erin Krakow & Co-Stars on How Elizabeth Moves Forward With Nathan After Lucas Split (Exclusive)

Krakow, Chris McNally and Kevin McGarry spoke with ET during production on the show's forthcoming new season.

When Calls the Heart has seen quite a few suitors calling on Elizabeth Thornton's heart over the years, but season 11 will see a whole new long-awaited romance develop.

For Elizabeth (Erin Krakow), it feels like fate has finally tipped the scales to bring her the love she's been looking for in Nathan Grant (Kevin McGarry) -- even if it meant ending things with Lucas Bouchard (Chris McNally) in a dramatic season 10 finale.

Recently, ET's Deidre Behar traveled to Vancouver, Canada, to speak with the stars on the set of the hit period drama, and they opened up about the future of Elizabeth and Nathan in the wake of her unexpectedly ending her engagement to Lucas.

"I have always liked Nathan and Elizabeth as a couple," shared McGarry, who stars as Nathan, a Canadian Mountie with feelings for the beloved Hope Valley school teacher. "I think Nathan was created for Elizabeth."

Nathan came to Hope Valley after the death of Elizabeth's husband, fellow Mountie Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing). Nathan developed feelings for Elizabeth, which he expressed in season 8 -- although the feelings were, at the time, unrequited. Nathan then largely remained untethered romantically, instead focusing on being a father figure to his young niece, Allie (Jaeda Lily Miller), whom he later adopted.

"I really feel like [Nathan] not finding a place, him not finding a partner, was deliberate. He was meant to kind of just wonder, while she was kind of moving forward with Lucas," McGarry said. "I think it was always meant to be this and that they were meant to be endgame. And I really like how it's been done."

While Nathan has been serving as a single father to his daughter, Elizabeth has also been a single mother to her son, Jack Jr. (Hyland Goodrich), whom she welcomed after learning of her husband's tragic death.

"I think that has always been kind of the thing that pulls them together, is that they're on the journey with children by themselves," McGarry shared. "And they've always leaned on each other to help out. We see now, in season 11, them kind of coming together and helping each other raise these kids."

That being said, Elizabeth and Nathan aren't going to be rushing into labeling things right away.

"Nothing is official. I think that would feel way too soon," Krakow shared of the burgeoning romance. "We do want to be respectful of the fact that Elizabeth and Lucas had a very real and loving relationship. It just wasn't, as it turns out, meant to be Elizabeth's lifetime or Lucas', so we are being respectful of that."

"They're waiting for their right moment," Krakow teased. "And, of course, there are things that come up along the way to interrupt that. But yeah, it's a slow burn. We're taking our time... the first time Elizabeth and Nathan see each other [after the split], you do feel that sparks are flying. But even though those sparks are flying, they still are taking their time."

"Nathan confessed his love in season 8. But Elizabeth doesn't know for sure that he still has feelings for her," she added, "and I think Nathan doesn't want to assume that just because Elizabeth and Lucas broke up, she has feelings for him. So, it's kind of a dance."

With regards to Elizabeth's relationship with Lucas, Krakow said that the split shows how much Elizabeth has come to learn about herself.

"As we've learned more about Elizabeth's heart, as she has learned more about it, we've come to the realization that her relationship with Lucas -- though beautiful and loving and respectful -- it was Elizabeth choosing safe love over great love because she just couldn't bring herself to risk losing a person that she felt like she could have that great love with," said Krakow, who also serves as an executive producer on the long-running romantic drama. "I think she was really in denial about it for a long time, and so finally, she's reached a point where she can be truly honest with how she's feeling."

"And that's a real scary, exciting, authentic kinda love," she added. "So I'm thrilled about it."

As for Lucas' take on the budding new romance between his ex and the handsome Mountie, Chris McNally tells ET, "He is still heartbroken from that separation, but I think Lucas has always maintained that he really wants the best for Elizabeth, and he really wants her to be at her happiest."

"So if that dynamic wasn't something that would cause her to be in her most happy state, then he doesn't want to be a part of it," McNally added. "He still wants her in his life. He said that, at one point, that he'd rather have her friendship than not have her around at all."

Because of this, McNally said he doesn't see it in Lucas' future that he'll try to win Elizabeth back or drive a wedge between her and Nathan.

"I think that Lucas has sort of reached the top of a mountain in his fight, and he sees, at this point, that no matter how hard he fights, you can't change something that has something to do with the other person," McNally shared. "So he takes a step back at this point and I think is internally struggling with being heartbroken, but at the same time, has so much empathy and compassion for Elizabeth."

While many Hearties are looking forward to seeing how Nathan and Elizabeth develop their relationship, some were upset to see her romance with Lucas come to an end.

McGarry and Krakow, however, want fans to know that they understand that disappointment, but think that fans will like what is in store.

"Every character is inherently good on the show and just because somebody is not with somebody else, it doesn't mean that they're not an important character on the show," McGarry said. "Lucas is a very big part of Hope Valley and I don't think we'd have a show without him... [There are] multiple heartbeats on this show, you know? So, I'm sorry if anybody is hurt, but I really think the show is moving to a really beautiful place and I hope you stick around and watch it."

"Though we are very much an ensemble show, I would encourage [fans] to think about how hard it must have been for Elizabeth to really listen to her heart and focus in on Elizabeth's journey to finding her great love," Krakow shared, echoing McGarry's sentiments. "And really, I think we should be happy that she has been able to be that truthful with herself."

When Calls the Heart season 11 kicks off April 7 on Hallmark Channel.


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