The Bachelor and The Bachelorette usually follow a strict pattern: a frontrunner from the last season of The Bachelorette is brought on as the Bachelor, and then, shortly after, one of his cast-offs finds love on the next season of The Bachelorette. This year, the franchise has upended their formula: because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette is airing now, but our new Bachelor, Matt James, is somewhat of a newcomer to Bachelor Nation — but only somewhat. Bachelorette devotees will quickly recognize him as Tyler Cameron's best friend, and in a way, he does come from Clare's season: he was actually originally cast as one of her potential suitors.
"Matt has been on our radar since February, when producers first approached him to join Bachelor Nation, as part of Clare’s season," Karey Burke, the President of ABC Entertainment, said in a statement. "When filming couldn’t move forward as planned, we were given the benefit of time to get to know Matt and all agreed he would make a perfect Bachelor." Bachelor Nation agreed: a record 6,500 women auditioned this summer to win Matt's heart.
Matt's casting is also historic, as he's the franchise's first Black Bachelor after a whopping 25 seasons. The announcement came after an online petition, which called for more diversity in Bachelor Nation and a Black Bachelor in 2021, garnered over 10,000 signatures in a matter of hours. "It's an honor," Matt told Good Morning America. "I’m just going to lean into myself and how my mom raised me, and hopefully when people invite me into their homes on Monday night, they’re going to see that I’m not much different from them and they see that diverse love stories are beautiful."
And Matt's season is filming right now. While you're watching Clare moon over Dale Moss, just know that out there in another COVID-free bubble, there are a number of women vying for Matt's heart.
When and where is Matt's season being filmed?
Matt confirmed on Twitter that filming began at the end of September and will end in November. "See y'all in 2 months," he wrote on Twitter September 22 before logging off.
While Clare's season of The Bachelorette was filmed at a Palm Springs (well, technically in the nearby town of La Quinta) resort, Matt's season is reportedly taking place at the Nemacolins Woodland Resort in Pennsylvania. Per Us Weekly, Bachelorette alum Jason Tartick hinted in an Instagram story that it's one of his favorite vacation spots, and he'd been "hearing rumblings this resort may be on our [TV] soon." Us Weekly confirmed that the entire resort had been booked for the months of October and November, and Matt tagged the location in a farewell Instagram Story.
Who is in Matt James' 2021 Bachelor cast?
When does the new Bachelor season premiere?
The Bachelor and The Bachelorette look very different this year, thanks to COVID-19, but Matt's season of The Bachelor will very likely air right on schedule. Historically, The Bachelor begins filming in mid-September and airs early January, so unless production has to halt for health or safety-related reasons, season 25 will likely premiere in early 2021, right after Clare's season ends.
What kind of Bachelor will Matt be?
Matt's best friend, Bachelorette heartthrob Tyler C., opened up about his forthcoming season on a June episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons Ever. He told Chris Harrison that Matt's dream woman would probably be someone like his mom — and his rationale makes sense. "His mother is one of the sweetest ladies, very loving, caring, compassionate, willing to serve others, help out in the community," Tyler said, "and someone that’s ready to get on the ground with Matt and change the world. Because that’s what Matt’s gonna do. Matt’s gonna change the world, and someone that’s ready to take on that challenge with him."
Matt has also said that he wants a diverse group of potential fiancées. "I’m hoping when that limo pulls up there’s a lot of diversity, and I see every type of women coming out of that limo," he told Good Morning America.
What happened between Matt & Clare?
Matt was initially set to appear on Clare's season of The Bachelorette. In April, Clare appeared to subtweet him when she blasted her contestants who were already "doing interviews and creating cameo accounts," asking them to respect her, the show, and the opportunity. Matt indirectly responded by clarifying that he was on Cameo to raise money for charity.
Clare's season began filming this summer — without Matt. Despite the drama, he's excited to watch her find the one. "My first reaction was, does this mean I don't get to meet Clare? Because I was looking forward to meeting her," he told Good Morning America after his Bachelor season was announced. "I'm super excited for her and her season, but I'm looking forward to meeting her eventually."