It's almost impossible to imagine General Hospital's Laura without the "Luke and" preceding her name, but with Anthony Geary exiting his iconic role this summer, fans, writers, and Laura's portrayer, Genie Francis, have been forced to do so -- whether they like it or not. The emotional story is already underway with the return of Laura as well as the upcoming returns of Jonathan Jackson (Lucky Spencer) and Nathan Parsons (Ethan Lovett), but what awaits fans as the plot thickens? And how will Laura fare without Luke in her life? Soap Central spoke with Francis, who's back for the summer and will return again this fall, to find out. And guess what? She teases that the powers that be already have a new love story for Laura on the way!
soapcentral.com: Welcome back to GH and the soap world craziness.
Genie Francis: I know, it is crazy. But it's fun!
soapcentral.com: You've come and gone over the years, but how does it feel to be back in the shoes of Laura this time around?
Francis: Oh, it's been very nice. It's always nice to come home. It's the only job I can come to and feel that comfortable that quickly. I enjoy that.
soapcentral.com: Why was it important for you to return for this story and Anthony Geary's exit?
Francis: Oh, because this is my life partner. Well, not my life partner, but my one and only leading man. There's never been a leading man like him in my life, and we're partners in the Luke and Laura thing, so how could you not be there?
soapcentral.com: The Luke and Laura legacy has already sort of ended, considering they haven't been romantically linked in quite some time, but now it's really over. I mean, this is it, right? Considering that, what emotions are you feeling as you're filming what could be your final scenes together?
Francis: Oh, my God, I can't even allow myself to think about that while I'm doing that, because I just wouldn't make it through. It's a wrap-up to an iconic story, an iconic partnership, and I'm glad that I'm here for it. That's all I can say, you know.
soapcentral.com: Is this how you imagined their time together would end? Or did you privately have other fantasies or ideas about Luke and Laura's final moments together?
Francis: You know, I don't know the actual ending, because they don't tell me that even, but I know that what we've done so far is definitely a crowd pleaser. I think people are going to love it. I don't think there's going to be a dry eye in the house, really. I think it's going to be great. You know, I've never really had too many thoughts about how it was going to end, because I really just couldn't conceive of it. This has been going on for [years]. I started working with him when I was probably like 16, so it's been many years since we've been working together.
soapcentral.com: Practically your entire life.
Francis: Yes, exactly. I've come and gone, and he's come and gone, but we've always come back to it, so it's a very big deal, and there are so many people who want to be there for this moment, and there will be a lot of people who will be there and showing up, so it's good.
soapcentral.com: A lot of fans obviously wanted Luke and Laura to reunite and hoped for it, but Anthony actually said in one of his exit interview that you two had sort of decided together that Luke and Laura can't be happy together at this point. I'm curious for your take on that, if you really agree with him?
Francis: I think it's a great love story, [but] relationships end, and that is really where they are. They haven't been together in so long. And they have accepted that they're not together anymore. He's deeply in love with Tracy [Jane Elliot]. It would be a betrayal of what [Anthony] has played all these years if we suddenly decided these two were back together again.
soapcentral.com: Even though it's kind of sad that Luke and Laura will never be romantically together again, it's an exciting time for you because you get to explore Laura moving forward without the "Luke and" attached to her.
Francis: Right. I have my fingers crossed that they will be able to come up with something for me to do, because I always felt that if Laura were up and around and not in a coma, that she would be back in Port Charles. That's where her family is, that's where her children are, and I just can't see what would keep her from that. So I've always felt that she would come back. I do have some ideas of what she could do. But again, it's going to be up to the writers and what they want to see from Laura, but you know, she's still a fairly young woman. I could see her maybe finding some kind of relationship and then being near her children and finding some sort of job or position in Port Charles.
soapcentral.com: Is there anything specific that you'd love to see Laura do storyline-wise?
Francis: I totally think Laura could run Kelly's diner. Right? She ran The Triple L with Luke. She was the disco waitress, and she knows the food and beverage service. It's really the only thing she's ever done as a career! So I've always thought that, and I've always sort of seen her in the diner with the apron on, always. I've always seen that. I don't know if they would ever go there, but I could see Laura doing that.
soapcentral.com: You mentioned a possible romantic storyline, as well. Is there anyone currently on the canvas that you think she'd have a lot of chemistry with?
Francis: No, you know, I'm going to leave that totally up to the writers. I think they do have something up their sleeve in that area, so I'm going to let it be. I don't know who or what, but I think they do have some ideas in mind.
soapcentral.com: That must be a fun thought for you, to have the chance to go down a different road and explore something completely different for her.
Francis: Yes, it would be great. It would be very fun for me to spin Laura out a little, because for so many years, I just stood at Luke's side, and really, he had all the story. He was the driving force. So Laura is kind of like Robin of Batman and Robin, and it has been like that for many years -- really, since their Lucky/Laura/Luke story came to an end. It sort of went into that rather quickly. So the chance to spin Laura out a little bit and see who she is on her own will be a wonderful thing.
How would you like to see Luke and Laura's final weeks together play out? What do you wish for Laura's life post-Luke? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.