Everything We Know About Bridgerton Season 2

At the bitter end of an abysmal year, Netflix’s frothy, flirtatious Bridgerton arrived on Christmas Day like manna from heaven, sliding into our queues right when we needed it most. The Shondaland series skyrocketed to instant popularity, trending on Twitter and vaulting into Netflix’s coveted most-watched spot within just two days of its debut. The show has since been honored with 12 Emmy nominations, proving that critics and fans alike have fallen hard for Bridgerton.

Based on a series of globally bestselling historical romance novels by Julia Quinn, Bridgerton centers on Daphne Bridgerton, the sheltered but spirited eldest daughter of a powerful Regency-era family, whose tumultuous journey through the cutthroat London marriage market sends her into the arms of an improbable love match. Less than a month after the show’s debut, Netflix gave fans what they had been clamoring for and officially renewed Bridgerton for a Season Two. Emerging casting news and key details in the season one finale suggest what romance could be in store for the people of the ton, but not every fan favorite character will return.

Has Bridgerton Been Renewed For a Season Two?

Breaking news from Lady Whistledown: the Bridgertons will return for a second season. Less than a month after the smash hit’s streaming debut, Netflix announced plans for Season Two in the form of one of “Lady Whistledown’s society papers,” wherein Lady Whistledown writes: “The ton are abuzz with the latest gossip, and so it is my honor to impart to you: Bridgerton shall officially return for a second season. I do hope you have stored a bottle of ratafia for this most delightful occasion.”

bridgerton

Netflix

Betting big on the mega-hit, Netflix execs have also signed on for seasons three and four, with Bela Bajaria, Vice President of Global TV at Netflix, saying, “”Bridgerton swept us off our feet. The creative team, led by Shonda [Rhimes], knew the material and delivered a beautiful, emotional, romantic drama for our members. They have some exciting plans for the future, and we think audiences will continue to swoon for this show. We’re planning to be in the Bridgerton business for a long time to come.”

We know what you’ll ask next: when will Season Two start filming? Luckily, Lady Whistledown has dropped hints about when production will resume. In the letter announcing Season Two, she continues: “The incomparable cast of Bridgerton will return to production in the Spring of 2021. This author has been reliably informed that Lord Anthony Bridgerton intends to dominate the social season. I will have my pen ready to report on any and all of his romantic activities.”

Lady Whistledown didn’t steer us wrong. On May 25, returning cast member Jessica Madsen, who plays Cressida Cowper, was spotted filming a scene in at the historic Old Royal Naval College at the University of Greenwich in London. But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing—the show has been repeatedly beset by production delays when team members tested positive for COVID-19, forcing Bridgerton to suspend production throughout the summer.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, creator and showrunner Chris Van Dusen spoke about these challenges, saying, “The second season is written, and we’re in the middle of production right now. We had to pause for COVID concerns, but we’re getting back to it, and it’s going well.” Van Dusen went on to confirm that the season’s first few episodes were being edited in post-production while filming was on hold.

The pressure of following up one of Netflix’s biggest hits of all time is real, Van Dusen revealed. “It is a little different going [into it than] that first season now that it’s kind of a worldwide phenomenon,” Van Dusen said. “There are a lot more eyes and a lot more scrutiny, but I’ve always said this show comes with a healthy kind of pressure. Being inspired by these eight delicious romance novels, which already have a passionate fan following, the pressure is really baked in.”

In an interview with Esquire, Van Dusen spoke about how eager he is to continue exploring the Bridgerton story. “Obviously we’re focused on Daphne and Simon’s story in Season One,” he said, “but we do know there are eight Bridgerton books and eight Bridgerton siblings. In success, I would love to be able to explore stories and romances for all of them.”

What Will Season Two Be About?

Lucky for fans of the television series, Quinn’s novels offer an insightful blueprint for where Netflix’s Bridgerton might head next. The first season loosely follows the events of The Duke and I, the first novel in the Bridgerton series, suggesting that a second season would likely adapt the second novel, The Viscount Who Loved Me. Each of the eight novels focuses on the life and romance of a different Bridgerton child, all eight of whom are helpfully named in alphabetical order. With a cast of characters this large and a canon of source material so expansive, Netflix could continue adapting Bridgerton for decades.

The Viscount Who Loved Me shifts the focus to Anthony, the eldest of the eight Bridgerton children. When last we see Anthony in the season one finale, fresh off the heartbreaking conclusion of his on-again, off-again romance with opera singer Siena, he declares his intentions to find a viscountess, informing Simon and Daphne of his commitment to marrying for duty rather than love. “I’ve finally determined the difficulty: love itself,” Anthony says. “Removing it from all romantic relations shall make me all the better for it. No more distractions from responsibility or being waylaid from the sensible path.”

It will come as no surprise to lovers of the romance genre that life has other plans for Anthony. In The Viscount Who Loved Me, elusive bachelor Anthony becomes affianced to a sensible match, but soon falls for his intended’s protective elder sister. The rest is history, but for eagle-eyed viewers, Anthony’s long and winding path to true love is foreshadowed in the final frame of the season one finale. And Lady Whistledown’s letter, in which she mentions that “Lord Anthony Bridgerton intends to dominate the social season,” all but confirms that Season Two will depict the events of The Viscount Who Loved Me.

Is Anyone New Joining the Cast?

Yes! Joining the cast for Season Two is Simone Ashley, best known for playing Olivia Hanan on Netflix’s Sex Education. Ashley will play Kate Sharma, Anthony’s love interest, who is described as “a smart, headstrong young woman who suffers no fools—Anthony Bridgerton very much included.” Fans of Quinn’s novels will remember the name of Anthony’s love interest as Kate Sheffield. Reimagining the character as Kate Sharma, a woman of Indian descent in the show’s reimagined Regency London setting, is part and parcel of the TV series’ convention-breaking efforts to depict a multiracial world.

Teasing the casting news on The Today Show, Van Dusen said, “Anthony is going to have a love interest next season, and I think it’s going to be as sweeping and moving and as beautiful as viewers of the first season have come to expect from the show. We left him at the end of the first season at a bit of a crossroads, so I’m looking forward to jumping in and discovering how he fares on the marriage market.”

Also joining the cast is Charitha Chandran, who will play Kate’s younger sister, Edwina. Per Netflix, 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.” Shelley Conn will play Lady Mary Sharma, Kate and Edwina’s mother; in her character summary, Netflix writes, “An Earl’s daughter whose marriage to a tradesman once embroiled her family in scandal, Lady Mary has now returned to London with her own daughters and is forced to endure the scrutiny of the ton yet again.”

According to Van Dusen, the Sharma family is bound to make waves on the show. “We have a new family that we’re going to get to know, the Sharma family, and just really fill out our world in such an amazing way,” Van Dusen said. “Kate Sharma, who’s played by Simone Ashley, she is really a force to be reckoned with. And paired up with Anthony Bridgerton, played by Jonathan Bailey—the two of them together are just magnetic. You can’t take your eyes off of them when they’re together on screen.”

New cast member Calam Lynch will play Theo Sharpe, “a hardworking printer’s assistant” and “an intellectual who fights for the rights for all.”

But the most mysterious casting announcement concerns Rupert Young, who will play an unnamed character described as “the newest member of the ton with a connection to one of its most notable families.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Van Dusen revealed that Season Two is well underway, describing a grueling schedule of commuting between Los Angeles and London. “I just got to the editing bay and just saw our first couple episodes of the new season, and I don’t think people are going to be ready [laughs],” Van Dusen said. “[It has] everything I think people loved so much about the first season, but more. I think we’re going to be back with an even greater escape to 19th century regency London.”

One character is so beloved as to be taking on a life of her own: Queen Charlotte, who will be the subject of a spin-off prequel penned by Shonda Rhimes herself.

“Many viewers had never known the story of Queen Charlotte before Bridgerton brought her to the world, and I’m thrilled this new series will further expand her story and the world of Bridgerton,” said Bajaria. “Shonda and her team are thoughtfully building out the Bridgerton universe so they can keep delivering for the fans with the same quality and style they love. And by planning and prepping all the upcoming seasons now, we also hope to keep up a pace that will keep even the most insatiable viewers totally fulfilled.”

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Will Simon and Daphne Return?

With the focus shifted to Anthony, fans have been wondering if the first season’s lovebirds, Simon and Daphne, will return for Season Two. The Bridgerton community was shocked when news broke that Regé-Jean Page, the breakout heartthrob who brought Simon to life and captured hearts around the globe, will not return for Season Two. As has become typical of the show, the news was announced by Lady Whistledown herself.

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Deadline reports that Page was only contracted to appear in one season, and that the plan was always for the Duke to recede from the show in future seasons. As a Bridgerton, Daphne (played by Phoebe Dynevor) will continue to appear in the series, Lady Whistledown confirmed. Dynevor teased that the Duke may be gone, but not forgotten, saying, “I think he’ll definitely be referred to a lot. I think we’ll see the baby, and we’ll just focus more on [Daphne’s] relationship with the Bridgerton family.”

For fans pouting about the Duke’s exit, Dynevor promises that the series will still captivate their hearts.

“It’s definitely different,” Dynevor said. “I’ve said it before, but I think the fans who have read the books and know the books are aware that every season will focus on a different sibling’s journey. And it might be a little bit more of a—not shock, but a surprise for the fans that love Daphne and Simon’s story so much. But I think that’s honestly the joy of the show in the long-term, getting to see these different love stories play out. No two seasons will be the same and they’ll have a different excitement. I think every season is just going to be really different and magical in its own way.”

Page told Variety that his Bridgerton role was always destined to be a one season gig, saying, “It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end. [I thought] ‘That’s interesting,’ because then it felt like a limited series. I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit and then the Bridgerton family rolls on.”

He went on to describe Bridgerton as an anthology series, with each book (and subsequently, each season) devoted to a different Bridgerton sibling’s love story. “One of the things that is different about this [romance] genre is that the audience knows the arc completes,” Page explained. “They come in knowing that, so you can tie people in emotional knots because they have that reassurance that we’re going to come out and we’re going to have the marriage and the baby.”

Calling the series “the ride of a lifetime,” Page wished his Bridgerton cast and crew well, saying, “I have nothing but excitement for Bridgerton continuing to steam train off and conquer the globe. But there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing.”

As for Bridgerton‘s creative team, there are no hard feelings. “It was such a privilege to work with Regé,” Van Dusen said. “He’s our duke and I think he’ll always be our duke. And I know that he’s about to continue charming the world in some really amazing ways. So I couldn’t be happier for him.”

But Page hasn’t closed the door entirely on returning to Bridgerton, even if he won’t come back as a series regular. In a new interview, when pressed about a possible Season Two cameo, Page at first demurred, saying, “I couldn’t possibly tell you!” He then teased, “Isn’t there something wonderful about being surprised by what you weren’t suspecting?” Netflix declined to comment on the matter, but fans were thrilled by the hint of a return. It’s difficult to determine if that door is truly closed, with all the mixed signals flying around—Page may be dropping hints, but he’s also exited the Bridgerton WhatsApp group. “I respectfully exited,” he said. “I didn’t want to put them in an awkward situation where they had to kick me out.” Whatever happens, we’ll keep you updated.

What’s the Deal With That Bee?

The Viscount Who Loved Me

In the final seconds of the season one finale, the camera panned to a single bee buzzing on the windowsill of Daphne and Simon’s bedroom. Fans of Quinn’s novels surely recognized the bee as a powerful motif, particularly in The Viscount Who Loved Me, where the prologue reveals that the patriarch of the Bridgerton family, Edmund Bridgerton, was killed at age 38 by a fatal bee sting. Anthony, who was eighteen at the time of his father’s death, developed a powerful phobia of bees as a result, and remains convinced that he too will die young. We won’t spoil the twists and turns of The Viscount Who Loved Me for you, but rest assured that bees are instrumental in bringing Anthony together with his one true love. While the shot may seem innocuous, the masterminds behind Bridgerton couldn’t have sent a more powerful easter egg when it comes to a second season. News that Rupert Evans will join the cast as the late Edmund Bridgerton all but confirms the winky significance of the bee.

Watch this space for updates as we continue to learn more—if Lady Whistledown delivers any more scoop, we’ll make sure you’re among the first to hear about it.


Assistant Editor
Adrienne Westenfeld is a writer and editor at Esquire, where she covers books and culture.

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