There's not long to go until Virgin River returns to our screens with the highly-anticipated season three and boy, do we have a load of questions that need answering!
Netflix's hit romantic drama, based on Robyn Carr's novels of the same name, captivated viewers with its second season last November, in which we saw Jack and Mel finally get together – just before Jack was shot by an unknown assailant whilst closing up his bar.
Thankfully for #Jel fans, it looks like Jack survives the attack judging by the trailer – however we may have to wait a while until justice is served.
Speaking to US Weekly (via The Express), showrunner Sue Tenney revealed that the mystery around Jack's attempted assassination won't be all wrapped up by the end of season three.
"There will be an arrest at the end of season three – but everything is not the way it looks," she said. "The story is not over with the arrest."
What we do know about season three is that we can expect to see a load of new faces in Virgin River – including Zibby Allen, who'll be playing Jack's sister Brie, and Markian Tarasiuk, who plays mysterious new character Parker according to the first-look images Netflix recently released.
Read on for everything we know so far about Virgin River season three, from sneak-peek photos, all the latest theories around who shot Jack on Virgin River and cast announcements.
Virgin River season 3 release date
Good news – we finally have a release date for Virgin River season three and it's not very far away!
The Netflix romantic drama returns to our screens on Friday 9th July.
The Virgin River cast announced the release date at the end of May.
"Because of your love for the show, Netflix are gonna stream season three of Virgin River on July 9th," Martin Henderson says in the video, which reveals there'll be 10 episodes in the upcoming season.
Production on season three began back in August 2020, according to What's On Netflix, and finished in December, with Netflix confirming at the end of last year that Mel, Jack and the rest of the Virgin River crew would be back for a third season, based on Robyn Carr's novels of the same name.
Virgin River season 3 cast: Who stars in the show?
Alexandra Breckendrige (Mel Monroe) will be returning to star in season three, with Martin Henderson (Jack Sheridan) also confirmed to be back after season two's cliffhanger, along with Colin Lawrence (John 'Preacher' Middleton).
We can expect Lauren Hammersley (Charmaine Roberts), Tim Matheson (Vernon 'Doc' Mullins), Annette O'Toole (Hope McCrea), Jenny Cooper (Joey Barnes), Grayson Gurnsey (Ricky) and Benjamin Hollingsworth (Dan Brady) to return for season three too.
Season three will see two brand new characters arrive on the show: Jack's sister Brie (played by Grey's Anatomy star Zibby Allen) and Lilly's daughter Tara (Schitt's Creek's Stacey Farber).
It also looks like Ricky may have some competition when it comes to Lizzie's heart judging by Netflix's first-look pictures, which tease new character Parker (The Magicians star Markian Tarasiuk), seen flirting with Lizzie on a bench. Is there trouble in paradise for fan-favourite couple Rizzie?
In the upcoming season, we'll also meet Charmaine's new man Todd (Homeland's Patrick Sabongui), who Charmaine is keen to show off to Jack in the new trailer. Will Todd's arrival on the scene spell trouble for Jack and his relationship with the twins?
Virgin River season 3 trailer
Netflix dropped the first official trailer for Virgin River season three on 11th June and what a trailer it was.
In the two-minute clip, we watch as Jack is dramatically wheeled to hospital with Mel by his side, before jumping in time to three weeks later, showing a now-recovered Jack back at the barbecue as Mel tells him to take it easy.
As well as revealing that Jack is in fact alive, the trailer teases a number of upcoming plot points from Charmaine's new man and Preacher struggling to look after Paige's son Christopher, to Doc's medical diagnosis and Mel's wishes to have a baby with Jack.
And there's more! Netflix released a short clip of Mel and Jack talking about their respective traumas, with Jack saying, "It's been one thing after another," before Mel says that she's there for Jack "whatever [he] needs".
Earlier this month, the streamer also treated fans to a sneak-peak clip of the season in which Dan Brady (Benjamin Hollingsworth) has a conversation with sinister gangster Calvin (David Cubitt).
The clip, published by TVLine, sees Calvin threaten Brady's life after helping Spencer, one of Calvin's men who cooperated with the police, leave town instead of killing him.
While Brady says he had "nothing to do with" the police raid on Calvin's marijuana farm, Calvin replies: "Really? So you're not responsible for flipping Spencer?"
"You know, if not for a loyal employee I'd be in jail right now. Are you surprised? When your police friend showed up, there was no drugs, no money, 'cause they were."
While Brady says to kill him if he's going to, Calvin says: "In time. My time, and when I do, unlike Spencer, you'll stay dead."
He added: "Which on the plus side, I guess you did try to make up for everything considering what happened to Jack," implying that maybe Brady had something to do with Jack being shot.
- For the latest news and expert tips on getting the best deals this year, take a look at our Black Friday 2021 and Cyber Monday 2021 guides.
What will happen in Virgin River season 3?
**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR SEASON TWO**
Season two's finale left us with a lot to unpack, so there'll be plenty of material to cover in the third season.
Let's start with the biggest cliffhanger of the season, which saw Mel find a wounded Jack, bleeding out on the floor of his bar after being shot. While we now know that Jack survives his gunshot wounds, thanks to the season three trailer, we still don't know who the assailant is.
Virgin River star Martin Henderson, who plays Jack in the Netflix series, said in December that the finale was "a nice, dramatic end to a season that leaves a lot of unanswered questions" and even had a theory as to who shot his character.
"Who on Earth would have done that?" Henderson said to TVLine when asked who might be responsible for the potentially fatal injury. He added: “I always joke that it’s most likely Charmaine. It does pop into your mind!”
Lauren Hammersley, who plays Charmaine in the romantic drama, has also hinted that her character could be the one who shot Jack, telling TVLine: "It's possible!"
A teaser clip from the upcoming season may have revealed the identity of Jack's shooter, with the first-look from TVLine hinting that it was Brady who turned a gun on Jack.
In the video, we see gangster Calvin threaten Brady for failing to kill Spencer and instead helping him escape town, before adding: "On the plus side, I guess you did try to make up for everything considering what happened to Jack."
Meanwhile, Benjamin Hollingsworth, who plays Brady in the series, has had his say on the rumours ahead of season three, telling TVLine: "I'm pretty sure Brady is on everyone's suspect list."
"I wouldn’t be surprised if the fans are placing bets about who ended up shooting Jack — and I wonder what the over-under is on Brady," he adds. "When I play the role, I try to dance that line of ambiguity between his intentional actions and actions he might have done out of resentment or anger.
"I want to leave the possibility open that it could have been him, because it is possible. I’d like to believe that he didn’t, but that’s because I’m playing him. Being so close to him, I don’t believe he’s someone that would do that, regardless of his state of mind. But it’s impossible not to make him a suspect."
Hollingsworth says fans should expect to see a "softer side" to the character in the upcoming episodes – and judging by Netflix's first-look pics, it looks like he'll be growing close to Jack's sister Brie (Zibby Allen), who turns up in Virgin River.
Could Brady really have shot his former army buddy Jack? Or is this throw-away line just teasing viewers?
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we'll get a straight forward answer by the end of season three according to showrunner Sue Tenney.
"It's a big part of the season – who shot him and what's going on," she told Us Weekly.
"His friend Mike (Marco Grazzzini) ends up staying in town and he’s trying to investigate and find out who the shooter is, while also trying to keep Jack from taking the law into his own hands," she said. "There will be an arrest at the end of season 3 — but everything is not the way it looks. The story is not over with the arrest."
As for what's in store for Charmaine – Jack's former friend-with-benefits who is now pregnant with his twins – in the upcoming season, Hammersley said that while viewers tend to hate Charmaine, there are "two sides to the story".
"Charmaine really wanted Jack to be her person, but his heart belongs to Mel. It’s been a tough go for Charmaine, but I can see why people just want her out of the way, because of the chemistry between Jack and Mel," she said. "I just hope that Charmaine ends up happy."
It looks as though that's likely to be the case if the trailer is anything to go by, with Charmaine telling Jack that she has a new man in her life. "I know that you were having a hard time adjusting to the whole being a dad thing but now Todd's here and I'm not alone, so you're free," she says as we see a shot of Charmaine and aforementioned Todd. Will Todd's arrival make it harder for Jack to see his kids?
The end of season two also saw the romantic reconciliation of Jack and Mel, with the pair declaring their love for one another and kissing in the penultimate episode – and it looks as though season three will cover their romance in great detail.
In the trailer, we watch as the new couple enjoy spending time with one another and it all appears to be going swimmingly until Mel floats the idea of having a child with Jack. As Jack already has Charmaine's twins to account for and is still worried about his shooter returning to finish the job, it's understandable why he'd been reluctant to have another baby – but could this be a deal-breaker for Mel?
Another romance we're all keen to learn more about is that between Ricky (Grayson Gumsey) and Lizzie (Sarah Dugdale) – the teenage lovers who were caught by Lizzie's aunt Connie (Nicola Cavendish) in season two's final episode. Speaking to TVLine ahead of season three, Dugdale said she's excited to see how Lizzie and Ricky navigate their relationship whilst hiding it from Connie.
"In Season 3, we'll hopefully get to explore [Connie's] presence, even when she isn't there; the complications that brings up for them; and their ability to stay present together when there's all this other stuff going on."
Showrunner Sue Tenney recently told TVLine that the third season will see "a larger time jump than we had between seasons one and two", while the mystery as to who shot Jack will span "over several seasons" – so it's likely we don't be getting an answer straight away.
Season three will also provide some answers for Hope and Doc, who were about to discuss some difficult medical news before they were interrupted by a surprise re-engagement party in the final episode.
Tenney added that Doc's diagnosis will be a key plot point in the next season, adding that his new situation will be "a complication that will challenge him and will challenge his relationship with Hope".
"He's going to rise to the challenge, but it is a real complication for him, especially for him practicing medicine going forward. Will he be able to continue to do that? The clinic and town are his life, so we will seriously explore that."
In the trailer, we see Doc tell Mel that he is "maybe" going blind – but we're yet to learn more about his medical difficulties.
We also get a quick glimpse at a funeral in the clip – please let it not be Doc's!
The finale of season two also left us wondering whether Preacher will be accepting a job as a chef in San Francisco or whether he'll be staying in Virgin River after the arrival of Wes' twin brother and Christopher – Paige/Michelle's son. The show's third outing is sure to answer all these questions while following the plot of Robyn Carr's novels on which the series is based.