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Virgin River star believes Hope changes “for the better” in season 5

Annette O'Toole has been speaking about the changes that Hope McCrea will go through in season 5 of Virgin River, saying she's more empathetic.

Hope in Virgin River

Season 5 of Virgin River has finally wrapped filming and fans will be keen to see what happens to Mel, Jack and the rest of their beloved residents of the picturesque small town next. When we last saw Mayor Hope McCrea, she was beginning to accept that she did need help with her car accident recovery after all.

Speaking to Good Housekeeping, actress Annette O’Toole says that we can expect to see some changes in Hope’s character next season. “Little by little [Hope’s] getting better. The producers want her to get back as much as she can to being the Hope that we knew originally. So, I think that’s interesting, but she will be changed. I think it will have changed her for the better.”

“I think she is going to be more empathetic,” she continued. “I mean, she’s still who she is … [In] season five, she’s still dealing with [her injury], but less so … By the end of season five, you’re going to see pretty much how she’s going to be.”

“A lot of times, especially in this new season, I’ll say a phrase you wouldn’t think I’d know,” O’Toole teased. “I’d say, ‘Oh, Lizzie [Sarah Dugdale] taught me that phrase,” or ‘Denny [Kai Bradbury] said that to me.’ She’s still in touch with not just young people … I think Hope really has respect for everyone. Except for the people she hates, of course.”

Speaking to Hello at the start of October 2022, Annette O’Toole also described the storylines for season 5 as “important” and “timely.” While O’Toole wasn’t giving much away, this perhaps suggests real-world influences will play a part on the course of Virgin River season 5.

“There is a big thing that happens right in the middle of the season that brings the community together in a very big way. It’s a kind of timely topic that’s happening in our country and I’m really glad that they’re going there. I don’t think we’ve ever done anything like this. It’s an important issue and I’m glad that we’re getting into things like that on the show.”

While we wait for season 5, check out our guide to the cast and filming locations of Virgin River.