Minor spoilers for Bridgerton ahead.
Bridgerton made an explosive debut on Netflix, arriving in the middle of a quieter holiday season spent indoors and at home. With the masses in quarantine, Shonda Rhimes's adaptation of Julia Quinn's popular book series became an instant hit, stirring discussions on timelines and sparking devoted crushes (hello, Duke of Hastings). With a colorful setting in 1813 Regency London, steamy romances, glitzy wardrobes, and provocative scandals, how could viewers resist? For those of us who flew through our binges over holiday break, we investigate what may come next for Bridgerton.
Season 2 has been confirmed.
Nearly a month after the show's premiere, Netflix confirmed that it would renew Bridgerton for a second season. There are no details about the release date yet, but a teaser video ends with a shot of Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), hinting that the next installment will focus on him.
Fans already suspected that the news was coming after multiple sites reported a listing in Production Weekly for a project titled "Bridgerton 02," which would commence in Uxbridge, England in March 2021. But now, it's official.
Season 2 will focus on Anthony Bridgerton.
While Bridgerton Season 1 loosely focuses on the first book in Julia Quinn's series, The Duke and I, the second season will focus on the sequel, The Viscount Who Loved Me, which dives deeper into the life of Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey).
"I think, obviously, if we're sticking to the books, it's sort of Anthony's turn now," Phoebe Dynevor (Daphne Bridgerton) told BAZAAR.com last month, pointing to her character's older brother. "I'd like to see what happens next. And also, I'd like to see Daphne get involved in Anthony's love life, since he was so involved in hers," she added.
She also revealed to Deadline, "I genuinely have no idea what they're going to do with the second season, but I imagine if they're following the books, then it would be Anthony's journey."
The bee at the end of the Season 1 finale was a hint: When Daphne and her husband, Simon, the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), welcome a child at the end of Episode 8, a bee appears in their window. Quinn's readers know it's a nod to the late Bridgerton patriarch, Edmund, who died of an allergic reaction to a bee sting, leaving behind his wife, Violet, and their children. The story of his demise is revealed in the prologue of the second Bridgerton novel, Esquire pointed out. Anthony develops a fear of bees as a result of his father's untimely death.
Regé-Jean Page is not coming back.
Page, who stole hearts as Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings, will not return for Season 2, Netflix confirmed.
"Dear Readers, while all eyes turn to Lord Anthony Bridgerton’s quest to find a Viscountess, we bid adieu to Regé-Jean Page, who so triumphantly played the Duke of Hastings," part of the statement read. Dynevor, however, will continue to appear as Daphne.
Page also addressed his exit from the show, tweeting, "Pleasure and a privilege! An honour to be a member of the family - on and off screen, cast, crew and incredible fans - the love is real and will just keep growing."
His exit comes as a shock, after it was assumed that Page would continue to perform in the role as the show progressed. He previously mused about the future of Daphne and Simon's relationship, telling TV Land, "They get married very young. They still have a lot of growing to do. They have a lot to do, and I think it'll always be fun to watch them do that together."
Adjoa Andoh, who plays Lady Danbury, also thought there would be parallels between Simon and Daphne and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the next season.
"It's a new married life and they have the baby, so there are all the vagaries of what that is like for young people with a new baby," she told Entertainment Tonight. "I mean Harry and Meghan, what's it like when you have a new baby? How does it affect you when [you are] a young couple with a new baby?"
Simone Ashley will star as the female lead.
Simone Ashley, who plays Olivia in Netflix's Sex Education, will star opposite Bailey as Kate Sharma, Anthony's love interest. "Newly arrived in London, Kate is a smart, headstrong young woman who suffers no fools—Anthony Bridgerton very much included," according to Deadline.
The character was originally named Kate Sheffield in Julia Quinn's novel, but in Netflix's multicultural adaptation, she and her family are of Indian descent, the outlet reported.
Four new actors have been cast.
Days after Page's exit, Netflix announced four new members of the Bridgerton cast.
Charithra Chandran (Alex Rider) will play Edwina Sharma, Kate's younger sister. "Edwina has been taught by her older sister Kate to be the perfect debutante. She’s kind-natured and endlessly endearing. But while she may be young and naive, she also knows what she wants: a true love match," Shondaland announced on Instagram.
Shelley Conn (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Nina's Heavenly Delights) will play Mary Sharma, Kate's mother. "Lady Mary's marriage once embroiled her and her family in scandal. Now newly returned to London with her daughters, she's forced to endure the scrutiny of the ton yet again," Shondaland also revealed.
Calam Lynch (Dunkirk, Derry Girls) will play Theo Sharpe. He's "a hardworking printer's assistant. But he's not just a working class man, he's also an intellectual who fights for the rights for all," per Shondaland.
Rupert Young (Doc Martin, Doctor Who) will play Jack, "the newest member of the ton with a connection to one of its most notable families."
Phoebe Dynevor worries that the pandemic might delay filming.
In an interview with Deadline, Phoebe Dynevor, who plays Daphne Bridgerton, opened up about the possibility of making a second season of the show. "I can’t imagine how it would be possible to film under these circumstances," Dynevor said, referencing the COVID-19 pandemic, and the United Kingdom's strict lockdown measures. "There are so many extras and so many crew members, and it’s a very intimate show. It just baffles me how we would film it under COVID rules unless there was a vaccine beforehand."
Showrunner Chris Van Dusen has a plan to continue the series.
When asked about continuing Bridgerton past the first season, Van Dusen told The Wrap, "It might be too early to talk about at this point. I do have a plan and a vision in my head to success."
He added, "The first season was about Daphne and it followed her relationship, her love story with Simon. And the Bridgerton books [written by Julia Quinn] — there are eight books, they are about eight siblings. And in success, I would love to be able to explore stories and romances for every Bridgerton sibling. Of course, I would love to be able to do that."
Lady Whistledown has ideas for Season 2.
The finale episode revealed the big secret behind the mysterious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown: that her infamous scandal sheets are actually penned by the young Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan). Now that her identity has been revealed, how could she play into another season?
"One of the big things that I am really looking forward to is that, logically, Eloise [Bridgerton, Penelope's best friend] would be entering into society," Coughlan told BAZAAR. "And I'm really excited, both in real life and in the story, to have a friend at the balls. Just to let Penelope have a bit more fun, because I feel like she doesn't get to."
Coughlan wants to see Penelope "be a young girl and have fun, and hopefully get a little bit more confident." She added that the audience's knowledge of Whistledown's identity is "going to be amazing, because it's like they're in on the secret." Remember, the Londoners of Bridgerton still don't know who Whistledown really is.