Hannah Brown's Bachelorette season is winding down, and although fans still have Bachelor in Paradise to get through, their group chats and online chatter are already packed with speculation about who the next Bachelor will be. Contestant Mike Johnson is a favorite to land the position, and with the final decision still several weeks away, viewers have already started finding clues that Mike will be the next Bachelor.
Mike, a 31-year-old portfolio manager, won over Bachelorette fans with his megawatt smile and his constant concern for how Hannah was feeling. There were plenty of moments that solidified his good guy persona: He stood up against the manipulative Luke P., he shared the traumatic story of his ex's miscarriage, and he was outspoken about his love of the women in his family. The Air Force veteran even took Hannah's rejection of him in stride, thanking her for her honesty and comforted her even while she was breaking up with him.
His graceful exit only added fuel to the fire that is the "Mike for Bachelor" Twitter campaign. In addition to possibly being the first veteran Bachelor, Mike becoming the face of Season 24 would also mark the franchise's first black Bachelor, two years after Rachel Lindsay served as the first black Bachelorette. Diversity in the franchise's leads is long overdue, and Mike's involvement would hopefully lend to a notable increase in contestants of color as Rachel's season did.
The new Bachelor probably won't be announced until early- to mid-September, but many fans are already convinced it's only a matter of time before Mike can officially hand out roses. If you believe otherwise, let's break down the hints pointing toward Mike becoming the Bachelor.
1. Hannah Supported Him On "Men Tell All"
While reuniting with her former suitors on July 22's "Men Tell All" special, Hannah singled out Mike and told him he deserved the best. When it comes to Bachelor casting, Bachelorettes' opinions about contestants aren't the be-all and end-all, but these women have a good sense of the guys who deserve (and can handle) the position of Bachelor. In a post-"Men Tell All" interview with Extra, Hannah even reiterated her support, saying, "I like Mike, he's awesome."
Despite a few exceptions, future leads traditionally made it to the final four stage of their Bachelor or Bachelorette season. As the seventh-place finisher on The Bachelor, Hannah broke this pattern, so perhaps Mike coming in sixth place resonated with her. I mean, whoever said people needed hometown dates or fantasy suites to prove their Bachelor potential? It seems like if Hannah had a say, Mike would probably win her Bachelor vote.
2. Chris Harrison Says He's A Contender
Tea spilled by franchise host Chris Harrison is as close to the facts as fans can receive right now. In true Bachelor style, he kept things vague when discussing the possibility of Mike as the lead with PEOPLE. "Of course he’s a contender [for Bachelor],” Harrison told the magazine. “How could he not be a contender with that smile? He’s one of my favorite people we’ve ever had on the show. He’s a love of a man. I don’t know him that well, and I consider him a really good friend.”
An endorsement from Chris Harrison is better than nothing, so doubters should keep this in mind as the Bachelor announcement approaches.
3. He's Appearing On 'Bachelor In Paradise'
Although he wasn't announced as an original cast member for Season 6 of the tropical spinoff series, on July 22, Mike appeared in the full Bachelor in Paradise trailer holding hands with Caelynn Miller-Keyes. Some fans wondered if the sighting meant his Bachelor chances were now non-existent, but history proves otherwise.
As Bachelor in Paradise grew in popularity and gave ousted franchise contestants a chance to redeem themselves and find love, viewers initially saw it as the exact opposite of where Bachelor-worthy men ended up. That changed when the polarizing, two-time Bachelorette contestant Nick Viall starred on Season 3 of Paradise and went on to become the Bachelor that year. Further, after tearfully exiting Season 5 of Paradise, Colton Underwood also became the franchise's next leading man in 2019. With this pattern in mind, it's clear ABC isn't limiting its Bachelor choices to those who don't go to Paradise.
4. Franchise Alums Are Already Rooting For Him
Mere mortals can only guess about how ABC executives settle on a lead, but the opinions of past contestants might play a part in the decision. Several of Mike's fellow Bachelorette contestants have made it clear they support Mike as Bachelor, but his friends aren't the only ones pulling for him. Chris Bukowski, who's slated to appear on Season 6 of Paradise after "retiring" from the franchise, tweeted his support, and Paradise veterans Jade Roper Tolbert and Evan Bass are also hoping to see Mike as Bachelor. Most importantly, former leads Rachel Lindsay and Nick Viall are also both aboard the Mike train, so if he does become Bachelor, Mike would have at least two instant friends (plus Hannah) in the network of franchise leads.
5. He Wants To Take The Process As Seriously As Possible
The past few Bachelors haven't exactly been fan-favorites. Arie Luyendyk Jr. was relatively unknown to many franchise fans when he entered the Bachelor spotlight five years after his initial Bachelorette stint. And to be honest, lots of viewers grew a little sick of Nick Viall and Colton Underwood after the franchise aired so much unflattering, pre-Bachelor footage of each of them. Now, Bachelor Nation is definitely craving a male lead who genuinely wants love and avoids getting caught up in Bachelor fame. Based on comments he made to PEOPLE, Mike's main concern if he became Bachelor would be getting contestants who take the experience as seriously as he would.
"I take love so seriously and for people to say they want me to be the Bachelor, I am so grateful," he said. "I’m appreciative. But I want to make sure that if that was something that I were to do, that the 30 candidates are definitely there for the same reason. I definitely feel like I could find love in this process.”
A Bachelor candidate who's already talking about the right reasons? Sign me up! Maybe it's just me, but given his life experience and how devoted he was to Hannah, something feels particularly special about Mike's Bachelor goals. Fans will have to wait and see if these details lead to Mike officially making franchise history.
Season 15 of The Bachelorette concludes with a two-night finale at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 29, and Tuesday, July 30, on ABC.