Fret not after that tumultuous Bridgerton season 2 finale: Lady Whistledown will write again. Netflix announced way back on April 13, 2021, that it had already renewed the dazzling period romance for both a third and fourth season, just as the highly anticipated season 2 began filming in the U.K.
Bridgerton is based on a series of eight novels (and multiple “epilogues”) written by Julia Quinn and adapted for Netflix by Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland productions. They follow the Bridgerton family, comprised of widowed matriarch Violet (Ruth Gemmell) and her eight children, as they seek marriage matches in Regency England’s high society. The first season, which premiered Dec. 25, 2020, broke Netflix viewing records as it followed eldest daughter Daphne’s (Phoebe Dynevor) search for a husband, and her unexpected connection with the dashing Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page). Season 2 then tackled the second book in the series, honing in on eldest brother Anthony (Jonathan Bailey)'s enemies-to-lovers romance with the foolhardy Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley). But it seems Netflix has every intention to continue this story far beyond these installments.
“Bridgerton swept us off our feet,” Netflix VP of Global TV Bela Bajaria said in a statement when seasons 3 and 4 were first announced. “The creative team, led by Shonda, knew the material and delivered a beautiful, emotional, romantic drama for our members. They have some exciting plans for the future, and we think audiences will continue to swoon for this show. We’re planning to be in the Bridgerton business for a long time to come.”
After a finale that ended in marital bliss for Anthony and Kate but stinging deception for Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and her best friend, Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie), here's what we know about what could come next.
So far, there's no word yet on when the next installment will land—only that it is, in fact, forthcoming. Season 2 premiered a little over a year after season 1, but given that production was slowed by the pandemic, it's possible the creative team might hasten season 3's development. If so, we could be looking at a spring 2023 debut date for the next chapter.
Bridgerton season 3 will focus on Penelope, aka Lady Whistledown, and Colin Bridgerton's (Luke Newton) romance, Coughlan confirmed during the FYSEE panel on May 15, per Variety.
This marks a departure from the order of Quinn's books; in the written series, the next Bridgerton to get the lead treatment would be Benedict (Luke Thompson), who takes center stage in An Offer From a Gentleman. The story pulls heavily from Cinderella lore: Benedict falls for one Sophie Beckett, an earl’s daughter forced into servitude by her hateful stepmother. The Colin-focused book, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, is fourth in the line-up.
Jess Brownell, who will succeed Chris Van Dusen as showrunner for season 3, explained the change to Variety. “I really feel like it’s Colin and Penelope’s time. Because we’ve been watching both of these actors on our screens since Season 1, we’ve already invested in them a little bit. We know who they are as people,” she said. “I feel like, especially in the last season, there are these moments of tension between them where it’s like, Colin walks up to the line of almost realizing that Penelope has feelings for him but doesn’t quite get there. Instead of treading water on that dynamic, we wanted to push it into their season. It really felt like the perfect moment to tee it up.”
Coughlan already knew about the season 3 plans since “two weeks into filming season two,” she told E! News, “so I had a lot of time to adjust to it.” The actress also joked about whether she's ready to film sex scenes: “I'm gonna have to be!”
Apart from the romance at its focal point, season 3 will certainly delve deeper into its juicy subplots as well. At the end of season 2, Eloise had finally learned her best friend's identity as Lady Whistledown; Jessie promises the fallout is unlikely to dissipate any time soon. She told ELLE.com, “I think Eloise won't tell anyone [Penelope's secret]. I think Eloise will continue to be a good mate and not tell anyone, because what does Eloise gain, really? I do think they'll make up, but I don't think it's going to happen quickly.”
After Page famously departed Bridgerton following his season 1 run, citing his completed arc and one-season commitment to the series, many fans might be wondering if Bailey, Ashley, and other new favorites will return for the third season. Thankfully, Ashley confirmed to Deadline that both she and Bailey plan to participate. “We’re going to be back! Kate and Anthony are just getting started,” she told the outlet, adding, “I’d like to see Kate just let go a bit more and play more in season 3 and kind of swim in that circle of love together. I think they both deserve it.”
Other cast members who've yet to explore their own romances are expected to return as well, including Penelope, Eloise, Colin, Benedict and more. In an interview with ELLE.com, Jessie revealed she has every intention to play Eloise “for as long as they'll let me. I'll happily be doing this way into my 40s.”
On May 14, 2021, Netflix also announced Jess Brownell would take over as Bridgerton showrunner for seasons 3 and 4. While we eagerly await further news from the ton, you're always welcome to dip into the source material to satisfy your cravings.
Hannah Dodd (Anatomy of a Scandal) has been cast as Francesca Bridgerton for season 3, replacing actress Ruby Stokes who exited to work on Netflix's upcoming Lockwood & Co. series. Variety reported the news on May 12, following the character's noticeable absence in the second season. “I love Francesca, but we lost her midway through Season 2,” Chris Van Dusen previously told TVLine. “After exhausting all other options, she unfortunately had to come out due to reasons beyond our control.”
That doesn't necessarily mean she'll be the lead in season 3, though; if the series follows the order of Julia Quinn's books, Francesca's story would be at the center of season 6, to align with the novel When He Was Wicked, per Variety.
Sadly, no. Shortly after rumors bubbled up saying Page would return to reprise his role as the Duke of Hastings, the actor himself put the speculation to rest with an Instagram post on June 21. In it, he poses with his former co-star Jonathan Bailey and wrote in the caption: “The boys are back in town. ❤️ (No, I’m not going back to the show btw - the papers made that one up.) But we had the best, and most stylish, catch up I’ve had in a while over some truly excellent Italian coffee and sunshine ☕️.”