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Taking inspiration from classic small-town series like Friday Night Lights and Dawson's Creek, Netflix hit Virgin River has an old-school feel. The pace is leisurely, the relationships are slow burners, and the electronics are few and far between—but Netflix has moved fast to capitalize on its unexpected success, quickly renewing Virgin River for seasons 4 and 5 in the wake of the release of season three. Now that season 4 of Virgin River is out in the world, fans are itching to find out when they can expect season 5—and what that season might look like.
We've got good and bad news on that front: Filming for the fifth season was unexpectedly pushed back four months, from March 2022 to July 2022. Alexandra Breckenridge, who plays Mel, let slip to Glamour during a conversation about This Is Us that Virgin River had been delayed: "They've been trying to get me to come back since I've been been on Virgin River," she said of This Is Us, which ended earlier this year. "We were supposed to start shooting season five of Virgin River in March, but it was pushed to July. So had we started when we were supposed to, I don't know that Sophie and Kevin [of This Is Us] would've ended up together."
The good news: As of July 18, What's on Netflix confirms that season 5 of Virgin River has begun filming in British Columbia. Annette O'Toole, who plays Hope, confirmed this in an interview with PureWow: "I’m actually leaving tomorrow to go to Canada to film season five,” she noted. And the Virgin River Instagram account celebrated the news, writing on July 18: "Our cast in a table read for SEASON 5.. Yes, you heard that right folks. We have now started production on SEASON 5!" (Fans were quick to note that Ricky, played by Grayson Gurney, was at the table read, in spite of joining the Marines at the end of the fourth season.)
Season 5 of Virgin River is expected to follow in season 4's footsteps and boast 12 episodes, rather than the 10 episodes of seasons one through three.
Henderson had just finished filming the beginning of the fifth season when he spoke to Glamour about what's in store. "The baby stuff gets really interesting. Obviously, I’m speaking without having read any of those actual scripts, but we’ve got some really nice…a lot of stuff gets wrapped up and then there’s a whole bunch of new beginnings, new story lines," he said. "I can’t give too much away. I know someone might move away. Someone might leave."
He added: "What I’m hoping in season 5 is actually seeing [Mel and Jack] get closer together through adversity rather than being pushed apart, because I actually think the audiences love that. You’ve got to have some bumps, but seeing them mature and deepen their love is going to be nice."
Speaking to Screenrant, O'Toole said, "I'm hoping that there's going to be more of [Hope] doing her mayoral duties than we've seen her do. Politics on a local level like that is really interesting and we haven't really seen that side of her...And there will be another big event, which I can't say what it is, but that does seem to be a theme of every season where we do have one big thing where everybody comes together, and it's very exciting. I wish I could say more about it, but it's a more important event than what we've had in the past of just having a gathering."
Spoilers for Virgin River season 4. At the end of the fourth season, we learned that Doc's grandson, Denny, has Huntington's disease. Tim Matheson, who plays Doc, noted in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that this news will, of course, affect his own character: "Most doctors feel like, 'I could fix this.' There's that conflict. But what's great is that Hope has invited Denny into their home, and he becomes a part of their home. Maybe even more than medical attention, being surrounded by that love is equally important as medical treatment for his illness."
We also saw Brie confront her abusive ex, Don. "Without giving anything away, I can at least tell you that Brie is somebody who follows through on her promises. Where that takes her, I cannot reveal," Zibby Allen told TODAY. That wasn’t just something she said in a vacuum; that’s going to be a part of her journey as she continues to heal that part of her world." She also said to People about her relationship with Brady: "I really hope that they figure out how to navigate something that's real," she said. "I think they're so different, right? They come from such different walks of life. So the big question mark is, 'Can they make it last and have a real day-to-day relationship?' Jack and Mel are very, very different. We've seen it work with them. So I'm rooting for [Brie and Brady]."
Meanwhile, we learned at the end of season 5 that Preacher may or may not have killed Vince. "I can't tell you [if he killed him]," showrunner Patrick Sean Smith told EW. "It is something that we pick up immediately. We pick up right after that incident in season 5." He added: "I know how important that relationship is. Not just between Preacher and Paige, but also Preacher and Christopher, so it's definitely something that we will service and address in season 5."
As for Melissa, who shows up to cast a shadow over Mel and Jack's future, Sean Smith noted: "She was introduced as a new big bad for this season. And it's been fun to dig in to it. We got so little of her character when she was introduced. So it's been fun to fill in the holes there and understand how she works differently than the men who have mostly been in charge of that part of the show. It does pose a threat to Jack, and it poses a threat to a lot of people in town. I've learned more about fentanyl than I ever thought I would in my life."
Potential Release Date
Seasons three and four were released a year apart, in July 2021 and July 2022—signaling that Netflix may be aiming to release one new season of the show per year. Which could suggest that season five could be released as early as July of 2023, if we're lucky.
Jenny is the Director of Content Strategy at Marie Claire. Originally from London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and never left. Prior to Marie Claire, she spent five years at Bustle building out its news and politics coverage. She loves, in order: her dog, goldfish crackers, and arguing about why umbrellas are fundamentally useless.
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