Could Lori Loughlin Come Back to ‘When Calls the Heart’? Why Some Fans Think She Might

When Calls the Heart returned to the Hallmark Channel on May 5 after a seven-week absence, but one familiar face was missing. Lori Loughlin lost her job playing Abigail Stanton after she was hit with fraud charges for allegedly taking part in a college admissions bribery scheme.

While Loughlin’s career at the wholesome network appears to be over, is there a chance she could return to When Calls the Heart in the future? Some fans think the actress might be back in Hope Valley eventually.

When Calls the Heart left the door open for her character to return

Lori Loughlin
Lori Loughlin on the set of When Calls the Heart in 2014 | Andrew Chin/Getty Images

After Loughlin was fired, Hearties had a lot of questions about how the show would deal with the actress’s absence. Some expected her part to be recast, others thought her character would simply be written out of future episodes, or perhaps even killed off.

Viewers got their answer during “Heart of a Mountie,” the first episode that aired after the show’s extended and unplanned break. Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow) explains that Abigail suddenly left Hope Valley (along with her adopted son Cody) in order to travel “back east” and care for her sick mother.

Elizabeth added that Abigail was “much more than a friend, she’s family” and said the town “will miss her and Cody deeply … In her absence, we must soldier on and we will. We are a community, we are strong, we are Hope Valley.”

In other words, Abigail is still very much alive in the When Calls the Heart universe. And that immediately got some fans speculating about if the character might eventually return to the show.

Fans think Abigail could be back

While not everyone was totally satisfied with how the show handled Loughin’s exit, many fans seemed pleased with the solution. “That was an awesome way to honor Abigail and show how much she meant to the show,” one viewer commented on Instagram.

Speculation soon began about Abigail’s possible return. “So happy Abigail wasn’t killed off. An opening is still there for her return one day,” wrote one Heartie. “I love how Abigail left & that it leaves it open for her to maybe possibly come back down the road; depending on what happens in Lori’s life,” another chimed in.

“Thank you for leaving an opening for Abigail’s return when everything is resolved,” commented another fan.   

The show’s executive producer hints Loughlin could return

When Calls the Heart executive producer Brian Bird is well aware that some Hearties would have liked to see Loughlin continue on the show — and that many would like to see her welcomed back if her legal problems are resolved. After the May 5 episode aired, he even liked a tweet from a fan that praised the decision to leave open the possibility that Abigail might return to Hope Valley, which added to the speculation that Loughlin could still have a future on the show.

Still, producers aren’t willing to overlook Loughlin’s misdeeds. In a video posted to YouTube in mid-April, Bird noted that Hope Valley “will always be a place of second chances.” But he also said that “in the real world, that doesn’t mean that justice can be ignored.”  

“Abigail Stanton’s story has always been an important part of the Hope Valley journey,” Bird said. “And while our hearts hurt for Lori, none of us has any idea of what the future holds right now … Both justice and mercy are values we care about in Hope Valley.”

As of now, Loughlin’s fate remains very much up in the air. While a number of defendants in the case have pleaded guilty — including fellow actress Felicity Huffman — she and her husband Mossimo Giannulli maintain their innocence. The Full House star reportedly believes she’ll be acquitted if the case goes to trial and will avoid prison. She faces up to 40 years behind bars if found guilty.

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