We don't have long until Virgin River's fourth season hits our screens and we revisit the tight-knit town's drama-prone residents.


As you'll remember, season 3 left us on a few major cliffhangers, from Mel's pregnancy and the question over the baby's paternity to whether Brady really shot Jack.

However, one of the biggest bombshells dropped at the end of the last series was the news about Hope (played by Annette O'Toole in the Virgin River cast), who'd been involved in a car accident whilst on her way back from visiting an elderly relative and required brain surgery.

Viewers hadn't seen much of Hope throughout the third season, with the character only appearing via video call to Doc, but will she back on screen in season 4? Here's everything we know so far.

Is Hope back in Virgin River season 4?

Tim Matheson as Doc Mullins, Annette O'Toole as Hope in Virgin River.
Tim Matheson as Doc Mullins and Annette O'Toole as Hope McCrea in Virgin River Netflix

The good news is that Hope will be back to play a more prominent role in Virgin River's fourth season after appearing only via Zoom on the last series.

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Throughout season 3, viewers are told that Hope is visiting an elderly aunt in another state and pops up briefly in one episode to chat to Doc over video call, but never features in-person.

Fans were then dealt a huge blow in the season finale when we learn that Hope's car was hit by a truck while she rushed back to Virgin River for Lilly's funeral and that her injuries required brain surgery.

While it appeared as though the scene was being set to kill off Hope, Netflix has confirmed through the trailer and first-look pictures that O'Toole will back as a series regular in the upcoming season.

In the trailer, we get a short glimpse of Hope back at home in Virgin River, being cared for by Doc whilst surrounded by sympathy cards.

In sneak-peek images, we also learn that a recovering Hope is visited by Muriel (Teryl Rothery) and is taken for a check-up by Doc.

However, in other photos, Hope looks as though she's back on her feet, with the mayor chatting to Lizzie and Connie in one scene before walking arm-in-arm through a garden with Doc in another, and laughing alongside him in a party scene.

Meanwhile, the show's creator Sue Tenney confirmed last year that O'Toole would be back for a fourth season, telling Entertainment Weekly: "If we have a fourth season, everyone is now vaccinated and the pandemic is not what it was. So, I would hope that we would have Annette back."

While a representative for O'Toole told RadioTimes.com that "she will return for season four".

Why was Hope missing from Virgin River season 3?

Virgin River
Hope with Lizzie and Connie in Virgin River season 4 Netflix

Hope appeared very briefly in Virgin River's third season and while fans were wondering why she'd been written off the screen, the unsurprising answer turned out to be COVID-19.

Tenney also told Entertainment Weekly last year that O'Toole was unable to travel for the filming of season 3 due to the pandemic.

"That was a pandemic pivot," she said. "We've worked very hard to make sure she was still very much in the show."

O'Toole's inability to travel resulted in a major change to the storyline, with Tenney rewriting two of the episodes which revolved around Doc and Hope's re-commitment ceremony.

"We had a very lovely, two long episodes about that," she said. "We definitely are going to want to see that. But we have some drama going on with both of those characters that puts that on the back-burner, but also heightens their commitment to one another."

Virgin River season 4 arrives on Netflix on Wednesday 20th July, while seasons 1-3 are available to stream already.

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