'We Had Something Special:' The Full Story Behind How Bridgerton Season 3 Adapted Penelope And Colin’s Love Story

 Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton in Bridgerton, Season 3.
Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton in Bridgerton, Season 3.

With a popular Netflix show like Bridgerton, there are many aspects one needs to think of when coming up with the following story to tell. Based on the Julia Quinn novel Romancing Mister Bridgerton, Bridgerton Season 3 will be focusing on Penelope and Colin's love story. To bring that to life can be challenging – but new showrunner Jess Brownell said they knew from the beginning that they "had something special" with actors Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan.

There are plenty of upcoming book-to-screen adaptations, but I know Bridgerton to be one of the biggest out there. Season 3 has been long-awaited by fans for more than two years now, and when it was confirmed the show would follow Penelope and Colin next, fans were ecstatic.

Jess Brownell, who became showrunner of Bridgerton after Chris Van Dusen exited the series, sat down with CinemaBlend to discuss the third season and how she and her team brought Colin and Penelope's love story to life.

the featheringtons on bridgerton season 2
the featheringtons on bridgerton season 2

It Was All About 'Key Moments' From The Book

There are so many book adaptations in the works, from the ACOTAR TV show to the Colleen Hoover hit, It Ends With Us. But since Bridgerton is already an established series, challenges might arise to keep that momentum and praise going.

Jess Brownell told me that the book Romancing Mr. Bridgerton really was the key from the beginning when it came to appropriately adapting Colin and Penelope's love and that the "key visual moments, the key settings" and more helped guide them in bringing this romance to viewers. She also noted that some things might be out of order, but that it's OK as long as the "spirit of the book" is still honored:

From the book…we spend the first week of the writer's room talking about the book and talking about what we love from the story. What are the key visual moments, the key settings, the key character moments that we definitely want to see in the season. From there, we make sure to try to honor the spirit of the book and the emotional journey. I would say that most of the key set pieces from the book are in this season. They just might not necessarily be in the same order or with the same characters. You'll see some things in the back half that are from the front half of the book. There's still some moments to come that fans will recognize.

The Bridgerton books in general follow all of the love stories of the Bridgerton family and each features its own "emotional journey," as Brownell explains. Colin and Penelope's story is the fourth novel, where Benedict's story actually comes before theirs in the books.

Fans were surprised when Benedict's tale was skipped over in favor of Penelope and Colin's love story for Season 3. However, fans have been assured that we will get plenty of Benedict in the upcoming season, and even more so in the future.

But, right now, it's time to focus on Colin and Pen, and the book that informed their on-screen love story.

Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton as Penelope and Colin in Bridgerton
Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton as Penelope and Colin in Bridgerton

Friends To Lovers Gives Way To A Lot More Comedy This Season

Obviously, Colin and Penelope are already close friends in Bridgerton, which paves the way for a cute friends-to-lovers series, one that feels almost reminiscent of the best romantic comedies of all time.

Jess Brownell actually spoke about that and how the nature of their already established friendship gives way to a lot more "rom-com tropes" and that the comedy is "upped:"

Friends to lovers I think naturally lends itself to a little bit more familiarity, a little bit more lightheartedness and playfulness because there's that depth there with the characters, and so we felt like we could lean even more into rom-com tropes – which is something I was really excited about. I love writing banter. I love writing awkward humor. So we've upped the comedy a little bit this season.

As someone who is always down for a cute little rom-com, this sounds like a great way to tell the story of Bridgerton Season 3 in a way that we haven't really gotten from Seasons 1 and 2.

Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton in Bridgerton, Season 3.
Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton in Bridgerton, Season 3.

Nicola Coughlan And Luke Newton Were On Board From The Start

As expected, Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton have been at the forefront of the third season. While they have both been part of the Bridgerton cast since day one, it's still great to see them step into the role of lead stars for the third installment.

Jess Brownell said that the pair were excited from the start and that their "reactions were so pure" at the fact that they were going to be the next story told. This helped the showrunner feel confident that they had "something special:"

I can't remember the exact moment. I told them that they would be stepping in this season. It was such a blur, but I do remember the moment I sat them down over Zoom and pitched to them what we had come up with for the season. This was a couple months before production and their reactions were so pure; they were gasping and laughing and awing, and it was a moment where I really knew we had something special and that we had a really positive collaborative working relationship. And that proved to be true. They've thrown themselves wholeheartedly into playing these characters this season and have been really receptive to what we've brought them.

Bridgerton's Season 3 trailer featured plenty of Colin and Penelope to hold fans over until the premiere on May 16 per the 2024 TV schedule, but hearing this makes the need to see Coughlin and Newton as these two once again that much more prominent.

The Bridgerton family tree is only continuing to grow, as is my love for Penelope and Colin, because I'm dying to see what happens—after hearing so much about how they adapted this romantic tale, it's time to break out the wine, tea, and biscuits and sit down for a good gossip.