The Regency romance continues, this time putting the spotlight on Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington.
Attention, Dearest Reader! Bridgerton is coming back. Following Queen Charlotte's landslide success after its May premiere, the beloved Regency romance is now in post-production on its anticipated third season. Fans of the high-society drama are now eagerly awaiting updates -- potentially from Lady Whistledown herself -- on the next installment's release.
Bridgerton takes its name and inspiration from Julia Quinn's romance book series, of which there are eight novels. Each installment tells the story of one Bridgerton sibling: Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), Benedict (Luke Thompson), Colin (Luke Newton), Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), Eloise (Claudia Jessie), Francesca (Ruby Stokes/Hannah Dodd), Gregory (Will Tilston) and Hyacinth (Florence Hunt).
Season 1 featured the love story between Daphne and her husband Simon, the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), as told in Quinn's first novel, The Duke and I. Season 2 followed Quinn's second novel, The Viscount Who Loved Me, chronicling the enemies-to-lovers saga of Anthony and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley).
Here's everything we know (so far) about Bridgerton season 3.
Which book will be the focus of season 3?
Netflix's first two seasons followed the books' order. Season 3, however, will loosely be based on Quinn's fourth book, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, which focuses on the love story between Colin and Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan).
Coughlan announced the news herself at the Bridgerton FYSEE panel in May 2022, and Rhimes later confirmed it via Instagram.
According to Netflix's official synopsis, season 3 finds Penelope (Coughlan) giving up on her long-held crush on Colin (Newton) 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.
Rhimes hinted in March 2022 that show would not be following book order, but reiterated her intent to tell everyone's story. "There's eight Bridgerton siblings, so we're planning on following each one of the siblings' romantic stories," she said. "We're not necessarily going in order but we are going to be seeing each of the siblings and their stories."
So far, Bridgerton has been renewed through season 4. Perhaps Benedict, whose love story was the focus of Quinn's third book, will take center stage then.
Was Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story part of Julia Quinn's original book series?
Queen Charlotte tells the semi-true story of young Queen Charlotte (India Amarteifio) and King George's (Corey Mylchreest) romance, which took place several decades before Bridgerton begins. Billed as a limited series, the six-part tale tells the story in two timelines -- one during young Charlotte's reign and the other as a bridge between seasons 2 and 3 of Bridgerton.
Queen Charlotte was not part of Quinn's original book series, though the author collaborated with Rhimes to develop her story. The duo teamed to co-write Queen Charlotte: Before the Bridgertons came the love story that changed the ton..., which was released May 9, coinciding with the time of the show's launch.
Will Queen Charlotte affect Bridgerton season 3?
The flash-forwards in Queen Charlotte followed the elder titular protagonist as she implored her 13 grown children to find a suitable partner and bear an heir. By the end of the season, she received news that she and King George's fourth-eldest son, Prince Edward, and his wife, Princess Victoria, were expecting a child -- a girl. Per the history books, this child will later assume the throne as Britain's legendary Queen Victoria.
"I don't know that we're going to see her children or any of that," Rhimes said when asked if these plotlines would be worked into the larger fabric of Bridgerton. "For me and Golda, who plays Queen Charlotte, on Bridgerton [it] is sort of her front-of-the-house persona, who she is in front of the people. And Queen Charlotte really is the back of the house. You see the kids, you see her being a mom and I thought that was interesting for me to play with."
Rosheuvel filmed Queen Charlotte and Bridgerton at the same time. "It was very informative," she told ET in a separate interview. "It was really weird. It was discombobulating." The actress added, "A lot of the stuff [established in Queen Charlotte], I will take forward [in Bridgerton]. You can use it as another layer."
Has season 3 finished filming?
Yes. Netflix announced in March 2023 that production had ended on Bridgerton season 3. When the cast began filming in July 2022, the show released a promotional video featuring the cast holding three fingers to commemorate the beginning of their new chapter.
Coughlan and Newton ended the cute clip, with Newton opening the carriage door to reveal his co-star.
"Bridgerton season 3 filming has officially begun," she said. "You coming in?"
"Let's go," Newton answered, before hopping into the carriage with her.
Does Bridgerton season 3 have a release date?
No, Netflix has not announced a release date for Bridgerton season 3.
Who will return for Bridgerton?
Beyond Coughlan and Newton taking the spotlight in season 3, Bridgerton stars Simone Ashley (Kate) and Jonathan Bailey (Anthony) will also return. Phoebe Dynevor, who appeared off and on in season 2 as Daphne, and Regé-Jean Page, who did not return following his breakout first season, will not reprise their characters.
Netflix also announced that the Bridgertons' second-youngest daughter, Francesca, was recast for season 3. The role had been played by Ruby Stokes, but the character had only two brief appearances in season 1 and was featured in just a few episodes of season 2. Anatomy of a Scandal star Hannah Dodd took over the role for season 3. The recasting was largely due to Stokes' starring role in Netflix's Lockwood & Co, which ended up getting canceled after one season.
Julie Andrews will also continue to voice Lady Whistledown, despite the fact that it's revealed at the end of season 1 that Penelope is the true author.
"Oh, it's coming back. Oh definitely, yeah," Andrews confirmed to ET in April of her return to narrating duties.
What storylines will appear in the new season?
Season 2 ended with wedding bells for Anthony and Kate, but there was plenty of drama for the ton to contend with in the upcoming season.
After keeping her Lady Whistledown identity a secret for much of season 2, Eloise discovers her best friend, Penelope, has been the one behind the quill this whole time -- leaving the friends estranged by the end of the finale. With their friendship broken, Jessie offered her take on how the revelation will impact Eloise moving forward.
"I think she'll be a good friend. That's what I think [she] always will be. I think she'll be a loyal friend [who] didn't tell anyone," Jessie hypothesized in March 2022. "I don't know what's going to happen. I mean, they might match scars but I don't think she will. I think she'll be furious, but then be really respectful and not say anything. I don't think she'll want to ruin Penelope."
"I hope that they are able to sort out their friendship as soon as possible, because I'll find that me and Nicola, we're never going to be able to be together again. And so I think that I'd like her to continue to explore that. What we see in season 2 really explores different ways of thinking and different groups of people, different parts of society," the actress added. "I'd love to see that expand for her, to get more political. She's young, she's really intelligent and she's very quick, so I think she's the perfect person to do that with. I'd really like to continue to explore intellectual writings, things like that."
Coughlan, meanwhile, had a different desire for Penelope as she embraces her role as the all-knowing gossip maven while also navigating love with Colin: "I do want her to find love and I don’t want her to stop writing Whistledown. I want her to have everything... I want her to have everything."
As for season 2 lovebirds Anthony and Kate, while they'll be taking a bit of a backseat in the new season, Ashley voiced her desires for the couple in a June 2022 interview. "I'm excited to see Kate become viscountess and head of the household," the actress told IMDb. "I think she has much to learn from Anthony. They'll be two little partners. I'd love to see them have a baby, to put it simply. Maybe that will happen, maybe it won't."
Add to that the lingering threads introduced in Queen Charlotte, including Bridgerton matriarch Violet's sexual awakening, her tense friendship with Lady Danbury and the future of Queen Charlotte and King George, and there's plenty to get excited about.
What has been revealed about the episodes themselves?
In September 2022, as part of Netflix's virtual Tudum event, the first episode title of season 3 was revealed. Written by new showrunner Jess Brownell, who takes the reins from Chris Van Dusen, and directed by Tricia Brock, the premiere episode is titled "Out of the Shadows."
Bridgerton fans were also treated to the opening scene from the episode, with Coughlan -- in character as Lady Whistledown -- narrating from the script.
"Dearest Gentle Reader, we have been apart for far too long," Coughlan read. "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 minds is: Of course, which newly minted debutante will shine the brightest? The crop this year appears to be rather dazzling indeed. Unfortunately, not every young lady can attract the light."
The first two seasons of Bridgerton are streaming now on Netflix, along with Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.