‘WCTH’ Showrunner, Creator Explain Why Elizabeth & Lucas Had To Split Up

WCTH Photo: Erin Krakow Credit: ©2023 Hallmark Media/Photographer: David Dolsen Photo: Chris McNally Credit: ©2023 Hallmark Media/Photographer: David Dolsen

Hearties are still in shock over Sunday’s WCTH episode “Long Time Running.” After getting wedding jitters, Elizabeth made a decision that surprised viewers. She and Lucas split up in a shocking cliffhanger that has caused new strife in fandom.

However, an interview that included the series Showrunner Lindsay Sturman, and When Calls The Heart co-creator Brian Bird revealed why this surprise storyline had to happen.

What did they have to say?

WCTH Photo: Erin Krakow, Chris McNally, Mark Brandon Credit: ©2023 Hallmark Media/Photographer: David Dolsen
WCTH Photo: Erin Krakow, Chris McNally, Mark Brandon Credit: ©2023 Hallmark Media/Photographer: David Dolsen

Elizabeth And Lucas Split Up In WCTH Shocker

In the penultimate episode of WCTH Season 10, Elizabeth told Lucas she was not going with him to Capital City. Earlier in the episode entitled “Long Time Running,” Lucas asked her if he should run for Governor. Everyone knows he is the only one who stands a chance against Governor Balfour. But, she did not think things over.

However, it is when Lucas is asked in a radio interview whether Elizabeth and Little Jack would join him in Capital City that was the pivotal moment for Elizabeth. She realized that she didn’t want to leave Hope Valley. At the train station, she told him as much.

WCTH Photo: Erin Krakow Credit: ©2023 Hallmark Media/Photographer: Sven Boecker
WCTH Photo: Erin Krakow Credit: ©2023 Hallmark Media/Photographer: Sven Boecker

According to Showrunner Lindsay Sturman, who spoke to the Edify Aftershow, this was their “Casablanca moment.” Sturman and series co-creator Brian Bird were on the show discussing the bombshell cliffhanger in When Calls The Heart Season 10, Episode 11.

They revealed that the two had different journeys.

Lucas Was Headed To A Big Life, While Elizabeth Was Going Small

When the new showrunner came to the WCTH Season 10 writer’s room, she further explained that they started with the end in mind and worked backward. That means they knew they were going to split them up.

“Elizabeth and Lucas had different destinies and how do we follow those? Following Lucas, giving him this bigger story of you know a man who thinks big and does big.” Sturman concluded that Lucas is “sort of bound for some greatness.” The showrunner revealed that he is on a “Hero’s Journey.”

Meanwhile, she revealed that Elizabeth “had the big life. She chose to leave Hamilton and come to this small town and have the sort of quieter life.” She concluded that Elizabeth is a teacher with a small life who wants to raise her son.

That is how they saw their “paths diverging.”

WCTH Photo: Kevin McGarry, Jack Wagner, Kavan Smith, Chris McNally Credit: ©2023 Hallmark Media/Photographer: David Dolsen
WCTH Photo: Kevin McGarry, Jack Wagner, Kavan Smith, Chris McNally Credit: ©2023 Hallmark Media/Photographer: David Dolsen

Shock Split Will Keep WCTH Going

The most surprising part of this interview was that Brian Bird and Lindsay Sturman felt that by splitting up this couple, they now have many more WCTH stories to tell. It opens up their worlds. Otherwise, this is the end game, and there are no opportunities for more stories.

Moreover, this means that the future should include many more seasons. Brian Bird has said that he wants this series to have as many seasons as The Simpsons. They believe that now they are set up to achieve that.

Hearties, what do you think about this shock split? Do you think this will keep the show running for more years?

Georgia Makitalo

60 Comments

    1. I knew this was how it was going to end. they never had the spark between them that she had with Jack. she may choose Nathan despite her worry or they may go another route, but it opens doors for her that would otherwise be closed. she can regroup and move on. it was the right call and I will continue to watch with interest.

      1. I agree totally, she was just going through the motions with Lucas. Honestly it was very boring with Elizabeth and Lucas but I’m a true fan of the show, so I kept watching.

    2. me especially if she goes right after the other on she didn’t want. Don’t know… I always thought her husband would come back.. But not this way.

    3. I never thought they belonged together. I was initially disappointed when she chose Lucas over Nathan, and I expected them to split up. That’s what a good series does; there are lots of twists and turns in the plot. However, I’m not sure what’s now going on with Elizabeth and Nathan. It seems as if the writers are about to put them back together. I had begun to think of Nathan as her “rebound” and that there would be someone else for each of them. I had been expecting a new man to show up in Hope Valley and be the right one for Elizabeth. But maybe she does belong with Nathan.

      1. Elizabeth and Nathan can’t be put “back together” because they were never together in the first place. I think Lucas was the best for her because they loved each other unconditionally and put each others wants and needs first. With Nathan he is the needy one, I think Nathan went to HV to take Jack’s place in his job and with his wife.Nathan was always the reason.

    4. Personally, I applaud this decision to break up Lucas and Elizabeth. From day one when he came to Hope Valley, Lucas was destined for bigger things, but I thought it was going to be growing the town, not running for Governor. I couldn’t see him content to stay in Hope Valley and run the hotel while living in Elizabeth’s Row House. The story is as much his as it is Elizabeth’s and he deserves to be happy. So while I cried watching them split up, it felt right to me. I love Lucas and will continue to love him if Chris stays with the show. This twist has made me want to watch the show more than ever. I’m sorry this Sunday is the season finale, but look forward to Season 11.

    5. No- I won’t watch it anymore!! It came out of no where, unlike the era, there were many story lines that could have come from them getting married. Just had to have some creative writers!!

  1. I hate what you did!! You handled it all wrong!!!You destroyed a beautiful love story!!!. It was all a lie!!!. You broke our hearts!!!. I’m done! It was my favorite show but you destroyed All the love and excitement that came with Lucas and Elizabeth!. A beautiful love story gone forever😭

    1. I so agree with you. If they weren’t going to stay together, why put them together in the first place and then break our hearts. I won’t let that happen again. It was a really stupid thing to do.

    2. I totally agree. Nathan is a Ken doll, so plastic and a big baby. That niece of his is as well, no wonder. Lucas is a real man. So boring if you have Elizabeth end up with Nathan. I won’t be watching anymore anyway. Such a good show has lost its spark. Sad…

      1. I love your comment! I had to laugh because you are exactly right and said it perfectly. But I do understand that there are others who wanted Nathan. For me, I don’t have an interest in watching at this point.

    3. I agree with you. I love Lucas especially with Elizabeth. Personally. I would want to be spoiled by a man with money even while staying in Hope Valley.

  2. But all these Lucas fans got mad at Nathan fans when they were upset over the Elizabeth/Lucas pairing. Hmmmm. They were very nasty to Nathan fans. Some of us just wanted it to stay more true to the books about a school teacher and a Mountie and true to the time period where no school teacher would have dared to be involved with a saloon keeper. The Nathan fans just wanted reality.

    1. I completely agree! I am TN and have hoped for the series to stay true to the books as much as possible. I was also shocked at how many of the Lucas fans are saying they won’t watch anymore when the criticized Nathan fans for feeling this way in previous seasons! I have watched this show from day one and continued on even when I wasn’t happy with the choices made. It is a great show regardless of who marries who because there are so many stories!

    2. The historical accuracy of the show was a joke, but I didn’t mind because it was a bit of fairytale. For instance, the clothing was over the top.

    3. If you’ve read the books, the teacher and Mountie don’t even stay in the town. The traveled some and he also got transferred in which she went with him.

  3. I have watched this show from season 1.. The journey of E is amazing! All the characters are also. I am so proud of E for listening to her ♥. it take a strong woman to know what her heart wants and what she needs, playing it safe wasn’t E true self. I have read so much hated post from others fans it’s not right. I personally think if you were forced to jump in marring someone you didn’t truly love you’ll end up in regretting it . kudos to E.

    1. I agree whole heartily, stay true to your heart. Ilov the Mountie and teacher theme. Near what the books were about. I think Nathan is the quiet support she needs until her heart is ready to make a choice.

    2. I just wish that Elizabeth would not have played with Lucas’ heart. He let her go in S8 to find her true love even if it wasn’t him. She then told Nathan she wasn’t in love with him and her journaling that episode revealed that N wasn’t her lifetime nor was she his. When she though L left town, E ran after him and they reunited on the bridge and then had a romantic scene in the library with E professing her love for Lucas and he for her. E&L courted for a year, and she practically begged him for a proposal and was disappointed when it didn’t come for her birthday. She gave Lucas the pocket watch engraved with “Our Time Has Come” when L was wrongly accused and jailed. She stood by her man then and was resolute that she loved him completely. He always told her that he wanted to be with her and LJ and live in HV where the whole town knew each other and all came together to help one another. He never had that growing up and wanted it so badly. Then the proposal, that included her son that she had allowed Lucas to bond with in S9, and she agreed Yes, yes to it all, to be his wife and to allow Lucas to be a father for LJ. Creative writers could have come up with great storylines for them as a married couple and a family. After S8, BB said that choosing Lucas would give them more seasons than with Nathan, but less than 2 seasons later now it is that they’ll get more storylines with E& N instead. Totally makes no sense and S10 was so disjointed to effectuate this drastic flip mid-season that included character assassination to boot.

  4. Are you going to split Rosemary and Lee? That is the dumbest explanation that there could be no more good storylines for Elizabeth and Lucas if they stayed together.

  5. She won’t marry Nathan either. They are just limping along with the storyline and it seems to be getting so childish. Geared for 12 year olds.

  6. I love them together. I can, however, respect the storyline, but it was done poorly. Elizabeth ended things as if she never even loved Lucas. It was a 2 minute breakup after a 2 year decision. Made me lose respect for Elizabeth. She is selfish and wishy washy now. I’m over her – bring on Rosemary and Lee!! Make them the front runners!

    1. That was my take too. In fact, I’m amused at all the comments from people, many who completely separated themselves from the precise dialogue in those last two minutes and inserted their own projected ending – that’s how rushed that scene was. The whole thing is just so silly now. As I stated on another forum, she didn’t have a change of heart, she had a mental breakdown. As for staying true to the real story – that ship sailed a long, long time ago. Besides, she DID marry a Mountie – he died. It won’t be the first time I quit watching a show, but it’s not because of a breakup, it’s because it was done so badly artistically speaking. It’s like they ran out of time and just threw in some words and poof – it’s over. You can’t change the characters core of who they are to fit a rushed dialogue because you want to write a new story. You stick with what you created and mold the stories around the characters. If you can’t figure out how to make an ongoing story around a married couple deeply in love and commited to making their town and the world a better place, I don’t have hope for anything sustainable or real to follow.

      1. I absolutely agree with your comments wholeheartedly and add them to what I said in my own comment.

  7. I was disappointed, to say the least, but I think it could have been handled better than a rushed very few minutes before L was leaving. It showed E to be insensitive & makes me not like her.

  8. I was kind of hoping that Elizabeth would choose Nathan in the first place, so now they have another chance. I liked Lucas also, so I hope he continues to at least visit Hope Valley. There is so much more to this show than just those three characters. All of the characters are great and each one adds so much character to the show. This is one of our favorite shows and it is decent for anyone to watch. We hope it stays on forever!

  9. I feel betrayed. I never expected Lucas to beat out Nathan as he was an underdog but to set up and run with the story and then change characters behavior, when we are looking forward to a wedding and so invested in it that I sat and cried and have been in turmoil ever since over a TV show is ridiculous. I don’t know what kind of people think it is ok to treat 2 men this way but I have no respect for the Elizabeth character or those who think this kind of behavior is okay after so long.

  10. At least Lucas is on a path to becoming a hero with an interesting storyline… and he agreed that “something was missing”. When Elizabeth rejected Nathan, she told him she was “looking for Jack in him”… which erased who he is as his own unique person & reduced him to just his job.

    Personally, I don’t think this split was all that shocking. There had been clues for most of season: Elizabeth not being very excited about wedding planning or grand gestures/surprises. Elizabeth admitted that she avoided talking to Lucas about Jack. E&L disagreeing about where to live after the wedding… and whether or not Montague could be trusted. The wrong dress arriving & Elizabeth calling it a “bad omen”. (She didn’t say that even when her dress & the church caught on fire before she married Jack!)

    Can the show go on for more seasons? Possibly. Unfortunately, they’ve divided their fanbase & alternately ticked off each group. Only time will tell how many Lucas fans leave & how many Nathan fans return. I do think they need to make it 100% clear that this triangle stuff is over & done for good to really move forward.

    I just know that I’m personally thankful the show seems to have returned to it’s roots & feels like the show I fell in love with in S1.

    1. 100%!!! I TOTALLY AGREE re dividing viewers! I’m done….all 3 of this seasons episodes are dull & lack ANY spark!
      And WHY did Bill’s 1st chance at love get moved AWAY???
      The show is ridiculous & I’m no longer invested and interested 🙄

  11. Quelle fin sans aucune logique – Je vois la vedette principale de cette série devenir en quelques minutes une moins que rien, une girouette – Par contre Lucas a toute mon admiration et j’espère qu’il deviendra le héros de cette série, il est un homme honnête, loyal, capable d’aimer et surtout d’aimer les autres et de faire en sorte qu’il se sacrifierait pour une bonne cause. Je vais regarder le dernier épisode et je cancelle ma chaine car je n’ai plus l’intention de regarder un feuilleton sans envergure devenu à mes yeux un roman savon. Rassemblez E/N car ils ont tout pour rester médiocres et ennuyeux. J’espère que Lucas trouvera la femme qu’il mérite et sera heureux dans ses nouvelles fonctions de Gouverneur car je lui souhaite de gagner en affaire et en amour.

  12. Elizabeth left so many clues that she wasn’t thrilled with the direction their life was going. I think she truly loved Lucas, but for all the wrong reasons. When reality of where their future could go became real, she had to be honest with who she really was.
    Could you honestly see Lucas living in that little country house next to Rosemary? He wanted to build Elizabeth a castle because that’s how he pictured his own life. They were truly on different paths and as long as she was in control there was no problem. When his destiny that she feared became reality it was too much for her. Whether or not she ends up with Nathan is of no relevance. She was true to her heart!

  13. This decision is completely ridiculous and untrue to the characters as we’ve known them before this season. Lucas loves Elizabeth more than ANYTHING. He would never put his job before her—but somehow this season everything changed. And then the worst part was their short 3-minute breakup at a train station, ending a years long romance in a few sentences. This was a disservice to the characters and unbelievable to loyal fans who expected more. The people who have been begging for Elizabeth to flip to Nathan will be happy, but that’s about it.

    1. I agree… Lucas and Elizabeth have been entirely changed and are acting completely out of character, all to push some new narrative that came out of nowhere. I have no respect for the character of Elizabeth anymore. She has been made into a whiney and wish-washy person that I just cannot watch anymore. Not to mention the betrayal from those of us invested and enjoying the love story. All to be told that it was a lie or not real or whatever. If she had never chosen Lucas, that would be one thing, but to just change the years long story… I’ll pass, I have wasted enough time on the show.

      1. I completely agree with you! This spoke season was buzzard. No one in Hope Valley acted true to character. They way the break up went down was very poorly done. It is a complete insult to our intelligence that they expect us to just except it and their explanations for it and be happy to keep watching. No thank you! Not me! The best show in TV has been completely ruined!

  14. Lindsay’s track-record with producing high-quality, long-lasting shows when she assumes the helm speaks for itself—in that it doesn’t. Majority of the shows she has been involved with have been cancelled within one or two seasons, and now we can see why.

    Storytelling 101: you can not change your characters to fit a plot, you must change your plot or extend your plot in a way that speaks true to the characters. But you must ALWAYS stay true to your characters. Apparently, this is not a strong suit for Lindsay, because it’s not just Lucas and Elizabeth who have had strange out-of-character moments, but Nathan, Mei, Faith, Hickam, Fiona, and practically everyone else too (maybe sans Henry, who actually had a wonderful character arc, to my chagrin).

    Also in storytelling 101: showing is better than telling, but telling is always better than letting your audience merely ASSUME. Again, not a strong suit for Lindsay. We’re on episode 12 now, the series finale, and not one mention of Nathan and Faith’s failed relationship, or what happened with Mei? Not one conversation about? We’re left to wander around left field and forced to assume.

    Likewise, the break-down of Elizabeth’s and Lucas’ relationship somehow evaded fans eyes. There are mo conversations eluding to differences of opinion (besides the vanilla/chocolate cake one last episode, and I’ll be damned if difference of cake choice is what should be the basis of ending an engagement is based on), there are actually very little conversations at all. You can argue that that alone is a disconnect, but I will then refer you to the point I made before this one – that’s out of character, for both of them. This is not a couple who is dating, this is a couple that is ENGAGED, and now weeks away from their wedding. Had they went with Elizabeth’s wishes in E1, they would have eloped and been married by now.

    Mei, who last season rode into town disguised as a man, who was a confident, bold Pharmacist, somehow became a quiet, meek character this season—and her entire plot this season was to be a match for someone. Mei, the woman who stood up to Geoffrey last season, couldn’t even approach Mike about her feelings?

    Fiona. Fiona had one great character arc this season with helping with the radio—and then she played the town matchmaker, along with Faith.

    Nathan. Whew boy. We had amazing character development for Nathan in S9–we saw him talk openly and honestly to Mei about his past, exposing his more emotional side. Then we saw him brood—again—when he found out Mei might be married. Once he talked to Mei, he realized what was truly going on and opened up again. And then Mei left for Chicago, then came back, and then that was it. Again, what happened to Nathan and Mei?

    Elizabeth. Another whew boy. We saw her completely devolve and character assassinate unlike any other this season. Do I really need to express the reasons why? I would be here ALL day. You don’t go from S9 to S10 Elizabeth without changing the script, it’s really that simple.

    Lindsay and Brian hope we “support Elizabeth” after all is said and done. Well, if it was that simple—maybe. If we had a good break-up, and actually saw how the relationship wouldn’t pan out, if we had actually seen the differences, the communication of disagreements, the divergent paths—maybe? But we didn’t. All we saw was a man who said he didn’t want to leave Hope Valley, and broadcast it for all to hear on the radio, offered like a sacrificial lamb to slaughter. They played it like there was no other option—but there was. Any man could have went in Lucas’ stead and used Lucas as the face of the campaign. But no one offered to save Lucas.

    This Elizabeth is a Elizabeth I can not support. It’s Lindsay’s Elizabeth. Like the kiss of death, another character of Lindsay’s that lacks emotional depth and abandons dogma.

    Good luck, WCTH.

    1. Excellent point of view. I’m so disappointed in in this new WCTH. I feel like the show should end and start a new series with different characters.

    2. I completely agree! I didn’t realize they had a new show runner, but that explains a lot. I kept saying that these storylines do not make any sense and they are all coming out of left field, and now I know why. Well, she sure knows how to ruin a show and ruin it fast. I’ve watched the show since the beginning, but, now, I have stopped. Didn’t take her long to lose me as a fan of the show. Someone should replace her before she ruins it for good.

  15. I’m thoroughly delighted that she chose to stay behind. Had she truly loved him she would have gone with him anywhere. From the very beginning of their story I felt Lucas was her safe second choice. She was afraid of becoming a widow again if she chose Nathan. I think her heart always has and always will be with Nathan. She and Lucas have never had that spark. She may not go to Nathan right away but eventually I think she will get there. All in all a very satisfying episode. Sorry Lucas lovers but that’s the way I see it. LOVE THE SHOW.!!!

    1. Nathan thought her heart was always with Lucas. He admitted that to Lucas in the saloon in the season 8 finale. Did you watch and listen. Once said and the scene is filmed and broadcast it becomes history. Like when a book is published with written words you just can’t erase the print.

  16. For me, the reasons explained by the writers to follow this path with the storyline seemed hollow. The developing story of Elizabeth and Lucas, with Lucas, getting so close to Little Jack, the writers denied the happy ending that the fans were so anxiously awaiting to occur. Their reasoning was a bit selfish, not taking into consideration at all how disappointed the fans would be to be denied the storyline that had been built up over the last few seasons. One of the reasons for this ending was story development to have this show run for as long as the Simpsons? Seriously? In order for that to happen they would need to have happy, loyal fans to watch and invest in watching the show..

  17. Since everyone loved Jack bring him back, when Elizabeth and Nathan gets close. Not as a dream or hallucination but for real. They never found him. Maybe Nathan could of nursed him back To health, but kept him caged up and decided to take Jack’s place in Elizabeth’s heart. Jack escapes and comes home and little Jack yells for his dad. Elizabeth gets back with Jack and Nathan goes to jail. Everyone would be happy as far as te Nathan / Lucas thing. Everyone loved Jack

  18. I never thought they appeared to be in love and I’m happy with the split. Looking forward to the next episode!❤️

  19. It amazes me that so many are angry and stomping around with threats of leaving. no you won’t! It should of ALWAYS been Nathan she and Lucas I’ve zero chemistry they were boring from the start. I did stop watching when I said I would I’m just amazed at the team L fans that badgered team Nathan fans for how we felt that are now being so hateful and rude. The only way I will EVER watch another episode is if Nathan and Elizabeth are a couple. in Hope Valley THEY would be the real power couple!! SO MUCH CHEMISTRY!!!

  20. Why breakup Lucas and Elizabeth? How does that add to the longevity of the show? Does this mean the Elizabeth never remarries because that would affect the longevity of the show?
    The story could have been written lots of different ways with out retconning a character and tearing apart iconic romantic scenes. Why?

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