Bachelor Nation fans are still reeling from the Bachelor in Paradise finale two weeks ago, but the next chapter of the franchise has already been kicked into gear. On Wednesday night, showrunner Mike Fleiss shared the first photos of Arie Luyendyk Jr. as The Bachelor (along with some details about the season ahead) and no matter how you feel about him taking the role, he definitely looks the part — suit, winning smile, and all. It may have been several seasons since he stood on that wet driveway, hoping to make a good first impression on Emily Maynard on The Bachelorette, but he looks right at home.
In the photo, Luyendyk is posing in front of the famed Bachelor mansion looking quite dapper alongside Fleiss and Chris Harrison. It's crazy to think that filming is underway already, even though we won't get to see it all play out until 2018.
It's part of the Bachelor tradition for the earliest photos of the season's leading man to be taken in exactly that spot, so this is just par for the course, despite the fact that Luyendyk seems to be an unconventional choice for the gig. And according to the caption on the photo, Fleiss is trying to make #JanuArie happen... although the success of such a hashtag has yet to be seen.
Luyendyk's Bachelor announcement came earlier this month during a surprise appearance on Good Morning America. He wasn't what fans expected — many thought that a more recent contestant like Peter Krause or Ben Zorn was a lock for the gig — and while those gunning for a different lead still seem disappointed, plenty of longtime fans are pumped for Luyendyk to make a return to their TVs on Monday nights just a few months from now. Since he's still single after The Bachelorette, this could be the perfect way for fans who were invested in his story to get the happily ever after they've been looking for. And besides, The Bachelor is The Bachelor, no matter who's at the helm.
Sadly, Fleiss didn't share any other photos from the set, but he did share an important detail: The contestants of this season are top notch. Then again, aren't they always? One of the most interesting parts of The Bachelor is seeing how the women interact with each other as well as their individual storyline. And when the show hands fans awesome women with compelling stories, everybody wins.
Knowing Fleiss, there are more spoilers to come directly from him. At the beginning of every season, he can never resist sharing details like this one with fans. And according to a tweet he posted on September 7, something big might still be on the way. Obviously, he's known for using adjectives like "shocking" and "historic" a bit more liberally than he should, but it's probably safe to get at least a little excited.
Of course, the real reveal will come once ABC announces the contestants and we all get to pour over their head shots and bios, but that's still weeks into the future. For now, what Fleiss is willing to share is all we've got, so keep your fingers crossed that he'll keep spilling whatever beans he deems appropriate.
Even if you were hoping that someone like Kraus or Zorn would get the job instead of Luyendyk, you can't deny that it's going to bring a fresh twist to The Bachelor come January (or, if you're Fleiss, #JanuArie). After so much debate about who's there for "the right reasons" or fame and Instagram sponsorships, Luyendyk as the Bachelor might just be exactly what this franchise needs.