As part of Netflix's virtual Tudum event on Saturday, the beloved Regency drama revealed intriguing details for the first episode of the new season, which will chart the love story between Lady Whistledown herself, Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan), and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton). The season 3 premiere episode, written by new Bridgerton showrunner Jess Brownell and directed by Tricia Brock, will be titled "Out of the Shadows."
That wasn't all that was unmasked about the upcoming season. Bridgerton fans were treated to the opening lines of the premiere, with Coughlan -- in character as Whistledown -- narrating from the script.
"Dearest Gentle Reader, we have been apart for far too long," Coughlan opens in the new video. "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 coy opening to the season will certainly leave many fans wondering who Whistledown may be talking about, as Bridgerton prepares to celebrate another debutante season.
"That's all you're getting!" Coughlan cheekily teased as she closed the script, causing co-stars Claudia Jessie and Newton -- who were looking on following their hilarious "paint your co-star" challenge -- to have a laugh. "It's happening!"
The new season, according to Netflix's official synopsis, 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 (Jessie), 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.
Following the explosive sophomore finale, Coughlan and Jessie forecasted what it will take for Penelope and Eloise's broken friendship to be mended, after Eloise discovered that her best friend has been the one behind the quill as Whistledown all this time.
"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 back in March. "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 had a different desire for Penelope as she embraces her role as the all-knowing town gossip: "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."