Netflix boss explains Francesca Bridgerton replacement as fans torn over move

Ruby Stokes (left) has been replaced by Hannah Dodd (right) on Bridgerton
Francesca Bridgerton actress Ruby Stoke has been replaced by Hannah Dodd -Credit:No credit

Francesca Bridgerton is set to shine in the Regency drama's third series.

The first half of Bridgerton season three dropped on Netflix on Thursday May 16. And fans will have to wait another month for the final four episodes which air on June 13.

Francecsa is finding herself unwillingly pushed to make her debut in society as she begins her journey to find a husband - which she hopes will happen as swiftly as possible. In fact, she just wants to get it over and done with so she can get back to playing her piano.

But viewers might notice Francesca's looking a little different. That's because actress Ruby Stokes, who starred as Francesca in seasons one and two, has been replaced with actress Hannah Dodd, reports the Mirror.

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Ruby had left the series to film the since-cancelled supernatural drama Lockwood and Co, which led Hannah to take her spot. And Hannah admitted that filming her first scenes as Francesca was "absolutely terrifying". However fans seem torn over the change.

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, it didn't take fans long to catch on. @KylieMidyette asked: "Did they get a new actress for Francesca or do I just not remember what she looks like bc she’s had 2 seconds of screentime before now??" as @cIaremontdiaz_ reckoned: "THE RECAST OF FRANCESCA IS SUCH A GOOD SHOUT the actress looks so much like daphne #bridgerton".

However some weren't so enthusiastic. @nox_katie10121 tweeted: "I’m watching the new Bridgerton season and just thinking about how great Ruby Stokes would have been as Francesca... the new actress is lovely too, I just would have loved to see Ruby in the role this season" as @hyunecatcher said: "ruby stokes as francesca bridgerton i miss u so bad".

Hannah said: "Francesca has been preparing for [her debut] ... Filming it was absolutely terrifying, because it was quite early on in production. There was a little bit of life imitating art there. She was nervous and I was nervous. She was watching people, and I was watching people to learn. We were kind of going through it together."

Opening up about recasting, showrunner Shonda Rhimes explained: "It's really wonderful to truly welcome Hannah - and Francesca. We've only ever seen tiny bits of Francesca in seasons past, and in this season she's back from having travelled and she's ready to get married, and you really get to know who Fran is. Fran's always been the invisible sister, and now she becomes front and centre in a lot of ways for us to get to know."

While director Tom Verica hailed Hannah as "outstanding" and "an amazing human being". "She's ridiculously smart and talented. She was seamless. She hit the ground running," he said. "It's got to be pretty intimidating to step into this world, especially with all these actors knowing one another."

"She revealed later in the season that she was just absolutely terrified, which we didn't see at the time, but we kind of assumed that stepping into this environment could be very tough. We were very clear about welcoming her and making her feel at home, but she was just absolutely seamless, stepping right into this role and really giving us a fresh take on Francesca."

"We really haven't seen her world that much; just little pieces here and there. For Hannah to embody this character, with all of her idiosyncrasies and her quirks, was amazing. I just couldn't be more pleased with this actress playing this role, and with seeing Francesca emerge and find her own love in a very different way than everyone else's. She forges her own path. I just loved her relationship with Violet, and how close they become - acceptance is a big part of that. Ultimately, what will you do as a parent when your child starts looking for love? What do you want to do to help make your child happy? Hannah and Ruth just navigated that world and that dynamic together so beautifully."