Bridgerton season 3 potential release date, cast, plot and everything you need to know
Bridgerton spoilers follow.
Bridgerton continues to be a phenomenon around the world, and with season two maintaining a spot in Netflix's Top 10 for the past two months, there's a buzz louder than a whole hive of bees for season three to come at us as quickly as possible.
Good job you've got us to tell you all about it. Consider us your personal, 21st-century Lady Whistledown when it comes to all things Bridgerton.
So, dear reader, we take it you're interested in finding out what's to come – and there's a fair bit of scandal ahead concerning a certain Mr Bridgerton.
Get ready folks – it's the Colin season!
Here's everything we know about what lies ahead for the Ton.
Bridgerton season 3 potential release date: When's it coming?
Currently, we have no news regarding a release date for season three – but we do know that it's on its way, with filming having commenced in July 2022.
The team shared an announcement video showing the cast back on set, all flashing two fingers before switching to three with a wink á la Antony Bridgerton.
Unfortunately, unlike other Netflix shows, we can't really predict when the show will be back. Season one dropped on Christmas Day 2020 (December 25), while season two launched on March 25, 2022.
But with filming now fully cracking on, we would hasten a guess that season three will be with us no later than summer 2023.
We'll let you know when we hear something more definitive.
On top of this, it was confirmed way back in April 2021 that season four is on its way too! So there's plenty more scandal to be had among London's Regency-era elite. There's even a prequel in the making as we speak focusing on Queen Charlotte, Violet Bridgerton and Lady Danbury during their younger years.
Netflix released the news in a letter from Lady Whistledown herself, reading, "Esteemed members of the Ton, it seems we have a rather special announcement. Bridgerton shall return for seasons three and four. This author shall have to pen more ink..."
Producer Shonda Rhimes also released a statement at the time, saying, "This two-season pickup is a strong vote of confidence in our work and I feel incredibly grateful to have partners as collaborative and creative as Netflix. Betsy [Beers] and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue bringing the world of Bridgerton to a worldwide audience," (via People).
So be prepared for more drama keeping us going for a couple of years yet!
Bridgerton season 3 cast: Who will be in it?
Bridgerton has a few key players the series just wouldn't be the same without – starting with Nicola Coughlan, who plays Penelope Featherington (aka clandestine gossip writer Lady Whistledown). Dame Julie Andrews will likely lend her voice once again to Whistledown's musings.
For season three, Nicola will take centre stage even more alongside Luke Newton, who plays Colin Bridgerton, after it was confirmed this season would be based on their love story.
Then, of course, there's the central Bridgerton family, including mother Violet (Ruth Gemmell) and the rest of her children Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), Benedict (Luke Thompson), Eloise (Claudia Jessie), Francesca, Gregory (Will Tilston) and Hyacinth (Florence Hunt).
In season three, actress Ruby Stokes has been replaced as Francesca Bridgerton by Anatomy of a Scandal star Hannah Dodd. Ruby made the decision to leave in order to focus on another Netflix project, Lockwood & Co.
In Julia Quinn's novel series, on which the show is based, each book focuses on a different sibling. After season one focused on Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), she was somewhat relegated to the sidelines and only appeared sparingly in season two. Her husband, Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) bowed out of the series after season one.
Unfortunately, it looks like Dynevor is now following in Page's footsteps, as she recently told ScreenRant that she won't be returning for the upcoming third season.
"Sadly not in season three," she said. "Potentially in the future. But season three, I'm just excited to watch as a viewer."
When later asked about her Bridgerton future in an interview with Variety, the actress explained: "Well I did my two seasons. I’ve done what I wanted to do with that character and she had a great arc. If they ask me back in the future, who knows?"
As sad as it may be, Dynevor isn't leaving Netflix completely. She's next set to star in the movie Fair Play alongside Solo: A Star Wars Story's Alden Ehrenreich – and the first reviews are glowing.
Meanwhile, there had been rumours the Duke would be recast for future seasons. Although we don't think this is likely to happen (nor would we want it to), Page had no objections to the idea.
"They're free to do as they like," he told Variety. "Shonda [Rhimes] and I had a wonderful conversation at the end of season one. We were quite happy with how we'd stuck the landing on that one. I'm still proud of how we stuck the landing on that one."
Recently explaining the reason for his departure, the actor said: "I signed up to do a job and I did the job and then I did some other jobs. That's it. That's the story. I wish it was more glamorous than that.
"[After] we finished the story, the temptation would be to roll with the distractions and go: 'Oh, well, the story went really well so we can kind of change this up and make some other stuff up, I guess'. That was never what we'd signed up to do."
It seems the Duke's return isn't written in the stars – or Whistledown's pamphlet, for that matter.
It was initially uncertain what the future held for Jonathan Bailey, who plays season two's central Bridgerton, Anthony.
But unlike Daphne and the Duke, Anthony and his new wife Kate Sharma (played by Sex Education's Simone Ashley) play central roles in both their family households. It would be far less likely for them to disappear altogether. Besides, Kate's younger sister Edwina (Charithra Chandran) is yet to find love. Jonathan confirmed his return as part of the production announcement.
Simone Ashley has also confirmed she will be back in business for the next season – and she's even leaving Sex Education to accommodate it. Sob.
"We're going to be back! Kate and Anthony are just getting started," the actress told Deadline. "In season two, there was a lot of push and pull between Kate and Anthony, there were complications with the family, and then they find each other towards the end.
"I think everything is just starting. I'd like to see Kate just let go a bit more and play more in season three and kind of swim in that circle of love together. I think they both deserve it."
Ruling over all the goings-on is Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel), who can't resist a little bit of gossip around the social season. Helping her in this quest is longtime pal and confidante Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh). So expect them to be snooping around a little in season three, too.
Plus, of course, we have some new additions to the Ton! Alongside the production announcement, it was confirmed three more stars are joining the series. They are:
• Daniel Francis (Stay Close) who will play Marcus Anderson: Described as "a charismatic presence who lights up any room he enters, attracting the notice of certain matriarchs in the ton, and the ire of others".
• Sam Phillips (The Crown) will play Lord Debling: "A genial lord with unusual interests. But with wealth and a noble title to back up his eccentricities, he'll have no shortage of interest from young ladies this season."
• James Phoon (Wreck) is taking on the role of Harry Dankworth, "someone who may lack in wit and intelligence, but makes up for it with serious good looks".
Bridgerton season 3 plot: What will happen?
Nicola Coughlan set the Ton ablaze (not just as Lady Whistledown) when she confirmed in May 2022 that Bridgerton season three will not be following the book collection's timeline.
While the third novel, An Offer From a Gentleman, focuses its attention on the second Bridgerton brother, Benedict, in the series he's being bypassed for now in favour of the fourth book, Romancing Mr Bridgerton.
"Like Lady Whistledown, I have been keeping a secret for quite some time and I can confirm to you all that season 3 is Colin and Penelope's love story," Nicola told the FYSEE panel (via Deadline). "I have kept that secret since two weeks into season two. This is the first time I am saying it here."
This story centres on Colin Bridgerton's friendship-to-more relationship with Penelope Featherington.
Throughout the first two seasons, viewers have been privy to Penelope's unrequited love of Colin, who was almost conned into marriage by Penelope's cousin in season one. In season two, he returns from travelling the world with no intent of finding a wife any time soon.
Despite being a long-held confidante, Colin sees her as "just Penelope" and even dismissed her to his friends as a potential wife at the end of the season, where a heartbroken Penelope overheard the male-bravado comment at the Featheringtons' ball.
"That very last comment is what I’ve got the most stick about from fans since we’ve finished," Newton admitted of the "savage" scene in an interview with Tudum.
To add fuel to the fire, Penelope's vicious Lady Whistledown alter-ego was discovered by her best friend Eloise, who has disowned her for leaving her and her family as little more than tabloid fodder for the Ton.
This setup in the season finale seemingly shapes some major drama for Pen, who now looks like she's ready to use her quill as a knife, no matter who she takes down.
Speaking about the decision to skip ahead in an interview with Tudum, Coughlan explained that following Colin and Penelope's story a season earlier just makes sense: "I feel like if you see Penelope fawning over this boy for another season, you’ll be like, 'Get it together! Come on, move on and get over it.
"Jess has talked to Luke and I through the season, and I think people are going to be really obsessed. I think book fans are going to be happy."
Adding to the conversation while speaking with Variety, new showrunner Jess Brownell said: "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."
The official synopsis for season three reads: "Penelope Featherington has finally given up on her long-held crush on Colin Bridgerton after hearing his disparaging words about her last season. She has, however, decided it's time to take a husband, preferably one who will provide her with enough independence to continue her double life as Lady Whistledown, far away from her mother and sisters.
"But, lacking in confidence, Penelope's attempts on the marriage mart fail spectacularly. Meanwhile, Colin has returned from his summer travels with a new look and a serious sense of swagger.
"But he's disheartened to realize that Penelope, the one person who always appreciated him as he was, is giving him the cold shoulder. Eager to win back her friendship, Colin offers to mentor Penelope in the ways of confidence to help her find a husband this season. But when his lessons start working a little too well, Colin must grapple with whether his feelings for Penelope are truly just friendly.
"Complicating matters for Penelope is her rift with Eloise, who has found a new friend in a very unlikely place, while Penelope’s growing presence in the ton makes it all the more difficult to keep her Lady Whistledown alter ego a secret."
In September 2022, Nicola announced as part of Netflix's TUDUM event the first episode will be titled 'Out of The Shadows', and shared the first part of the script which was, of course, a message from Lady Whistledown.
The letter read: "Dearest gentle reader,
"We’ve been apart for far too long. At last, London’s smart set has made its return, and so too has this author. As the season begins, the question on everyone’s mind, of course, is, which newly minted debutante will shine the brightest. The crop this year proves to be rather dazzling indeed.
"Unfortunately, not every young lady can attract the light."
Of course, Bridgerton wouldn't be Bridgerton without those steamy scenes, and being the central romance of the next season means there is likely to be some of them between the high society gossip writer and Bridgerton brother.
But Coughlan has admitted that taking the lead in season three and filming said scenes is pretty nerve-wracking.
When asked by E! News if she was ready to film them, Coughlan joked: "I'm gonna have to be!"
She added that it's "terrifying" being the lead next season, but that she's "known for a really long time."
"I've known [since], like, two weeks into filming season two, so I had a lot of time to adjust to it," she told People. "But then, last night when they were like, 'The news is coming out. You can talk about it', I was like, 'I don't want to. I'm too scared.'"
The Irish star also chatted about her nerves filming sex scenes back in March, telling Digital Spy: "I think I'm genuinely – and I'm not kidding – going to ask Shondaland for a special family-friendly cut. Because I just think it's embarrassing enough watching the scenes that I am not in there like that."
The news has proven a double-edged sword for fans, who have been eager to see Colin and Penelope get together, though they feel disappointed it's at Benedict's (albeit temporary) expense, whose tale followed the classic Cinderella story.
In An Offer From A Gentleman, Sophie Beckett meets Benedict after sneaking into the Bridgertons' masquerade ball despite her evil stepmother's wishes. After their chance encounter, he becomes enamoured by her, though has no idea of her real identity.
But Bridgerton as a series is never afraid to stray somewhat from the books, and in the first season, it was teased that Benedict may in fact be bisexual, though the queer undertones were stripped away in season two as he connected with a female nude model at the art academy.
It's unclear whether any of these plot threads will develop in season three or beyond.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Luke Thompson explained: "Benedict has such a lovely openness and fluidity about him generally, and that's really, really fun to play because it could go anywhere.
"What I would say is that we're only in season one and just getting into season two. People get very excited and they want everything to be explored in the first few seasons and every corner of sexuality, gender.
"Obviously, there's a way to go, so we'll see what happens with Benedict, but we're only on season two, so there's lots of space for him to explore all sorts of things."
During season two of Bridgerton, Benedict was seen attempting to live the life of a bohemian artist, only to get frustrated when he discovers his oldest brother Anthony bought his place at art college. Annoyed and angry, he decided to leave education altogether, deeming himself a fraud.
But while Colin is taking the lead, there's still the rest of the family to contend with.
While Daphne and the Duke have almost completely disappeared after season one, Anthony and Kate will now likely take a back seat as their time as the lead romance is over.
They'll still be around though, especially when it comes to snooping in their younger siblings' love lives.
And as well as Benedict, Kate's younger sister Edwina still has a love match to find.
There's also the matter of finding another diamond of the season. Could it be Penelope?
Bridgerton season 3 trailer: Is there any new footage?
While we're yet to see any new footage of the actual show materialise, the cast of Bridgerton has certainly kept us fed with little bits of gossip from the set. (Would we really expect anything less?)
The latest came as part of the streamer's TUDUM event in September, with on-screen siblings Claudie Jessie (Eloise) and Luke Newton (Colin) coming together to talk about their characters while painting portraits of each other.
They were then joined by Nicola Coughlan for a reveal of the first episode title and first details of what's to come. Naturally, we're obsessed, so have a look at that... and then start counting down the days for the show to return.
We'll give you a proper update in due course, dearest reader.
Bridgerton is available now on Netflix.
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