After a dramatic cliffhanger during the season finale of Nashville‘s fifth season, the show was abruptly cancelled, leaving many fans saddened. The show’s dedicated fans, or “Nashies,” did everything they could to get other networks to pay attention. Sure enough, their petitions helped move CMT to pick up the show for season 5.
There has been a lot talk about who is returning to the show and who isn’t. Several favorite characters are returning, and many new cast members will make their debut in the new season. Are you wondering when is Nashville coming back on? Look for the new season sometime in January. In the meantime, get to know the new characters of the country music-driven show and see who will be returning. below:
1. Connie Britton (Rayna James)
Connie Britton is known for the beloved character Rayna Jaymes on the show. She will be returning to Season 5 with just as much energy and empowerment as seasons past. Britton has said that this will be the best writing and season of Nashville the fans will see. Her character as of right now is ongoing, in spite of rumors stating that she will be leaving mid-season. As far as we’re concerned, the beloved character of Rayna Jaymes is here to stay.
2. Clare Bowen (Scarlett O’Connor)
Scarlett O’Connor has had some interesting and dramatic storylines throughout the seasons of Nashville. Fans will get to see what’s next for her in season 5 as Australian actress Clare Bowen returns to the new CMT set. Will Scarlett and Gunnar finally get together and stay that way? Will she make it on her own in the music industry as a singer/songwriter? Bowen doesn’t confirm any of these things but we are sure to find out as Season 5 unravels.
3. Chris Carmack (Will Lexington)
A lot has happened to Chris Carmack since the season 4 finale of Nashville. He got engaged to longtime girlfriend Erin Slaver and welcomed a new baby girl. He’s also returning to Season 5 with a broader storyline of courage and bravery, which his character perfectly entails. “I’m proud of Will Lexington,” Carmack told ET. “This is his first step on his journey to personal fulfillment. He now has the courage to face whatever gonna come his way.”
4. Sam Palladio (Gunnar Scott)
Sam Palladio is best known for his lovable character Gunnar Scott. While Palladio will be returning to season 5, he is creating his own solo album, which he hopes to release in the near future. So how will the storyline for Gunnar play out? Will he start a solo career in music? Will he stay with Scarlett? We can’t wait to find out.
5. Lennon and Maisy Stella (Maddie and Daphne Conrad)
We all know that Maddie and Daphne Conrad have had their ups and downs through the series. Daphne is a girl who just wants to be loved by her sister, while Maddie is lost, trying to figure out what it means to be a teenager pursuing a music career. They have both been through so much, from emancipation to being happily reunited with their family. Lennon and Maisy Stella are wonderful actresses when it comes to playing these characters. Naturally, the return of these two sisters has Nashies overjoyed.
6. Charles Esten (Deacon Claybourne)
Charles Esten is a big part of the Nashville community. It’s hard to imagine his character Deacon Clayborne without Rayna Jaymes. And now that they are married, they have built a beautiful life together. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty bumps in the road ahead, whether it comes to being a father figure for Maddie and Daphne or fighting off an addiction. He’s dealt with a lot of the course of the show, but we love him anyway. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Deacon and his marriage with Rayna.
7. Hayden Panettiere (Juliette Barnes)
Hayden Panettiere’s Juliette Barnes is back for season 5. The shocking cliffhanger of season 4 had left us wondering if she would make it out alive. Thankfully, Juliette will be returning and there are hopes that she will be okay in regards to (spoilers!) last season’s plane crash. What crazy drama is in for Ms. Barnes in season 5? We can’t wait to find out.
8. Jonathan Jackson (Avery Barkley)
There has been a lot of turmoil between Jackson’s character Avery Barkley and Juliette. They got married, had a baby, but then Juliette left while battling severe postpartum depression. All that drama takes a lot out of someone, and that’s what we experienced a lot from Barkley last season. Avery and Juliette seem to genuinely love each other but have incredible obstacles between them. But you can bet that their child will ultimately unite them in one way or another.
9. Rhiannon Giddens (Hanna Lee Jordan)
Some new characters for season 5 have been announced, one of the first being Rhiannon Giddens. The Americana singer-songwriter will be playing the character of Hanna Lee Jordan, a young social worker with a voice of an angel. You may know Giddens from her postmodern string band Carolina Chocolate Drops. She made her solo debut in 2015 with her LP Tomorrow Is My Turn, and can also heard on Eric Church’s “Kill a Word.”
10. Bridgit Mendler (Ashley Wilkenson)
Former Disney Channel star Bridgit Mendler will also be joining the cast this year. She will be playing the character of Ashley Wilkenson, an internet sensation who is about to record her first album. Ashley is described as extremely talented, sexy, self-assured and stubborn, with a well of hidden vulnerability.
11. Christian Coulson (Damien George)
Welcome to Nashville, Christian Coulson! The Harry Potter actor is joining the cast for season 5 to play the character of Damien George. He is described as a confident, charming and caustic in-demand director. Fans will see him for the first time as he produces Gunnar Scott and Scarlett O’Connor’s first music video.
12. Jen Richards (Allyson Del Lago)
Jen Richards, an Emmy-nominated writer, actress and producer has been added to the cast. She’s set to play Allyson Del Lago, a tough but understanding physical therapist who helps a series regular through one of their most difficult challenges. Just who she will be helping? We can’t wait to find out in January.
Season 5 of Nashville will premiere on CMT on Jan. 5. The network picked up the show for a fifth season early in June, following ABC’s cancellation of the TV drama back in May. Due to popular request and demand, Nashville will broadcast and stream on CMT, as well as Hulu, which currently carries the show’s previous seasons.