'When Calls the Heart' Season 11 Finale Has Fans Believing Jack Could Return

The Season 11 cliffhanger left fans hopeful for Jack's return, regardless of how it might happen.

Allison Cacich - Author

Jun. 25 2024, Updated 10:53 a.m. ET

Jack in 'When Calls the Heart' wearing his uniform.
Source: Hallmark Channel

Despite Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart being in it’s 11th season, fans continue to miss former cast member Daniel Lissing, who played Jack Thornton on the series since its premiere in 2014.

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Viewers were stunned by the actor’s exit in Season 5 and have eagerly awaited his potential return. In the Season 11 finale, there is renewed hope among fans that Jack might make a comeback, although theories on how this will unfold differ significantly. Here's what we know about Daniel's departure and what his return might look like.

Jack and Elizabeth in 'When Calls the Heart' standing by a white house.
Source: Hallmark Channel
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Is Jack coming back to 'When Calls the Heart'?

Since the Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer died in the Season 5 finale, it's safe to say fans won't be seeing him again—unless he appears in ghost form or the producers pull off a miraculous survival twist.

After receiving a new Mountie assignment, Jack was killed off-screen, leaving behind his new wife, Elizabeth (Erin Krakow), and their unborn child. Fellow star Lori Loughlin revealed that the decision to kill Jack weighed heavily on the writers.

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"The only way he would leave her is in death," she explained in a Facebook Live after show following the finale. "We talked about, like, 'Do we recast the role? No. We can't recast the role, how can you recast the role? No!' The chemistry that [Daniel and Erin] have, we just didn't feel like — the writers didn't feel like that was possible."

Erin added, "I was just sad that Dan was leaving. That's the bottom line: We were all really sad about it, and that's hard. Dan, in many ways, has been my partner in crime for five years, and one of my greatest scene partners ever, and I'm just really gonna miss him."

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While many fans were convinced Jack would never return, the cliffhanger of Season 11 left them with a glimmer of hope. Superintendent Hargraves (David James Lewis), who had been missing since Season 8, reappears and approaches Elizabeth and Nathan Grant (Kevin MGarry), indicating he needs to discuss a matter related to her late husband. Before he could get into the details, Season 11 concludes. Now, fans are eager to discover if Jack might return.

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Over on Reddit, fans shared a few theories, with one person writing, "It's very possible there will be flashback scenes and Dan might be in them, but Jack is still deceased." Another suggested Jack's body might have been found, while a different theory proposed Jack could return with brain damage or amnesia, leaving Elizabeth having to choose between him and Nathan.

Jack and Elizabeth sharing an intimate moment on 'When Calls the Heart'
Source: Hallmark Channel
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So, why did Daniel Lissing leave When Calls the Heart? 

Without going into too much detail, the Australian actor opened up about his decision to say goodbye after five seasons.

"Circumstances arose for me where I needed to leave When Calls the Heart for reasons that are very personal to me," the 42-year-old cryptically admitted during the Facebook Live. "I went to Hallmark and they were nothing but supportive of me. I went to the girls and they were nothing but supportive of me."

Lori added, "We are actors, and actors have contracts and sometimes contracts expire and you have a choice to make. You either renegotiate or you don't, and Dan has chosen to move on, we respect that. No judgment, we love him, we wish him well, he's still part of the Hallmark family."

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Daniel called playing Jack "the honor of my career" and praised his female co-stars, whom he referred to as "some of my best friends in the world."

"When I came out to the United States, as a guy who was playing [music] in bars in Sydney, to think that I would play a character like Jack on an American TV show is beyond anything I could've ever imagined," he shared.

Jack and Elizabeth smiling on 'When Calls the Heart'
Source: Hallmark Channel

Though he’s no longer on the series, at least for now, Daniel appeared in one of Hallmark’s infamous Christmas movies in 2018, and has a reoccurring role on the CBS series S.W.A.T.

While waiting for Season 12 to release, which Hallmark Channel says is slated to happen in 2025, stream past seasons of When Calls the Heart on Hallmark Channel and other popular streaming services.

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