Kevin McGarry and Chris McNally are both young, handsome stars who already have an admirable acting portfolio. Kevin McGarry made his mark as Mitch Cutty on “Heartland,” the series which quickly won over American fans after its Canadian inception. Chris McNally starred in “Supernatural” on the CW network, and in another sci-fi spin, “Altered Carbon.” Nothing needed to be altered, in any way, for the striking gentleman to be invited to Hope Valley as the newcomers on “When Calls the Heart,” and fans will see the reasons for themselves in the Season 6 premiere on February 24.

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Both Chris McNally and Kevin McGarry each have appeared in Hallmark movie credits. McNally starred in “The Sweetest Heart,” in 2018, and McGarry had leading roles in “Love at First Bark” and “A Song for Christmas.” McGarry had another viewer favorite this past holiday season with the wedding-themed “Winter Castle” alongside Emilie Ullerup.

Even after becoming part of the Hallmark family, it can be a daunting task to step into a series that has become the most popular and cherished series in Hallmark Channel history.

Stepping into a storyline that ended with both tragedy and high hope in Season 5 also asks a lot of any actor. Kevin McGarry and Chris McNally feel both the honor and the challenge of taking on their new characters on “When Calls the Heart,” as they related in a February 19 feature with Entertainment Tonight via Yahoo. Both stars were made to feel right at home by leading lady, Erin Krakow, and are excited about the adventures, and romance, waiting to unfold.

Respect and responsibility

Kevin McGarry will wear the Red Serge as the new Mountie of Hope Valley, Nathan Grant.

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It never escapes the star that he has very big boots to fill, so to speak, but he also relishes the challenge, because as he relates, “Nathan and Jack, they're very different.” He is thrilled for the “new adventures with this new character” and still assures fans that respect is paid to the legacy of Jack “in the very first episode” and continuing through the season in the lives of the Hope Valley community,

McGarry feels a responsibility to maintain "that level" achieved by the drama.

Daniel Lissing, who portrayed Mountie Jack Thornton through five seasons of “When Calls the Heart” couldn't be more enthusiastic about the two new stars or the possibilities for the character of Elizabeth.

Last week, Lissing exuberantly assured fans in talking with Entertainment Tonight that, “You can miss Jack, but get on board!” The Australian star further elaborates “I think these guys are great actors,” who are going to bring something “different” to the drama. Lissing and Krakow remain real-life good friends, and the former leading man loves that the character of Elizabeth will have “a few options after such hardship.”

Ready for risk in love

One of Elizabeth's options for the future may come in the arrival of Lucas Bouchard, played by Chris McNally.

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Bouchard becomes the new saloon owner and loves the game of chance, even though he holds his cards, and much of his life, close to the vest. McNally insists that he is “protecting himself from pain in the past,” so those secrets are bound to slip out over the season, and Hope Valley always has the heart to forgive.

Kevin McGarry does drop one hint that things between his character and Chris McNally's Bouchard “come to a showdown” in a scene recently shot. It seems the perfect kind of fever pitch for Elizabeth to infuse with calm and reason, so “When Calls the Heart” faithful will just have to wait and see.

Erin Krakow already has a new fan club of two, comprised of her two new castmates. On-screen, both the new male characters realize that Elizabeth is far from being ready to dive into any new relationship. McNally says that his character only hopes to “plant a seed” after his eye is captivated by Elizabeth. McGarry coyly says that “chemistry” may come between Nathan and the new mother. That kind of thing takes a while to boil.

Kevin McGarry calls Krakow “amazing” and especially appreciates how “her mind is there with you,” as an actress. Chris McNally concurs about the warm welcome from all those involved with “When Calls the Heart” and “especially Erin.” He credits Erin Krakow for consistently making him feel “comfortable” as a newcomer to the show.

Both the new gentlemen of Hope Valley describe their brunette leading lady as “giving” and that characteristic comes naturally on “When Calls the Heart.” The community embraced Elizabeth Thatcher when she arrived as the new teacher, even after she lost everything, and now she and her neighbors can again pay the favor forward.