At the bitter end of an abysmal year, Netflix’s frothy, flirtatious Bridgerton arrived on Christmas Day 2020 like manna from heaven, sliding into our queues right when we needed it most. The Shondaland series skyrocketed to the top of the national consciousness, trending on Twitter and vaulting into Netflix’s coveted most-watched spot within just two days of its debut.
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: The Duke of Hastings.
Less than a month after the show's debut, Netflix gave fans what they had been clamoring for and officially renewed Bridgerton for a second season. We've since been rewarded with an official debut date: Bridgerton Season Two will arrive on Netflix March 25, 2022. In February—Valentine's Day, no less—a new trailer for the upcoming episodes released. (You'll find it streaming below.)
Below, everything you need to know.
Has Bridgerton Been Renewed For a Season Two?
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 wrote: "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."
Then, in a video released on Christmas Day 2021, Bridgerton castmembers received a new letter, written out on a single sheet of paper. "Is that Whistledown?" asks Jonathan Bailey, who plays Anthony Bridgerton. "What's she got to say, the cheeky little mistress." The letter begins with an acknowledgement of the special date. "Happy Anniversary to our buzzy ton. It is customary for a first anniversary to gift papers, dear readers. I do hope you find this one informative. Bridgerton returns March 25th."
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."
But why stop there? In an interview with Variety, Rhimes revealed that she's gunning to make eight seasons of the show. "There are eight Bridgerton siblings, and as far as I’m concerned, there are eight Bridgerton seasons," Rhimes said. "And maybe more.”
To keep the masses at bay until March 25th, Lady Whistledown has dropped multiple plot details about the second season. In the letter announcing Season Two, she wrote: "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."
The pressure of following up one of Netflix's biggest hits of all time is real, creator and showrunner Chris 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 was to continue exploring the Bridgerton story, echoing Rhimes' aims about making eight seasons. "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."
Is There a Trailer?
Leave it to Bridgerton to drop its first teaser trailer on Valentine's Day. Our first peek at Season Two has landed, and it's throwing us right back into that Bridgerton atmosphere we know and love: newsboys running around London to deliver the latest Lady Whistledown, while some of our favorite characters (like Eloise, Lady Danbury, and Lady Featherington) read the gossip with bated breath. The teaser tees up the love triangle in which Anthony will find himself (more on that below), while also offering a peek at other returning Bridgertons, like Daphne, Benedict, and Colin. We also get a look at the mastermind behind it all, with Penelope grinning knowingly as she writes the latest Whistledown, saying, "I've been sharpening my knives for all of you." Seems like we'll have plenty of scandalous gossip to feast on in Season Two.
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 will likely head next. The first season loosely followed the events of The Duke and I, the first novel in the 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. (That they are named in alphabetical order is incredibly helpful.) 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. 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.
New first look pictures from Netflix tease where the season will go, as well as the return of some familiar faces. The photos confirm the return of Daphne Bridgerton (more on that below), who we see ensconced in conversation with Anthony, as well as the ignominious Featheringtons, seen entering a ballroom in decidedly muted gowns. Could the ladies Featherington be turning over a new, less-yellow leaf? We also get a glimpse at Anthony's new leading lady, pictured in stylish hunting gear on an outing with the Bridgerton brothers. In another picture, the brothers are fencing on the lawn. Ah, to be young, handsome, and rich!
Jonathan Bailey, who plays Anthony, spoke fondly of his character ahead of Season Two. "With Anthony, there's just so much conflict with everything he's doing," Bailey said. "He means so well and he's got such a good heart and he loves his family. Once I fell in love with him and realized that he meant well, that means that you can really push the boundaries as to how unfair and toxic he can be to his lovers and to his sisters and to his mother."
Fans of Bridgerton's first season will remember that Simon and Daphne brought a unique dynamic to the show's much talked-about bedroom scenes: one an experienced rake, the other a sheltered young woman with no understanding of sex. In a new interview with EW, Van Dusen promises just as many "thirsty moments," as Season One, though Season Two's lovebirds are more sexually savvy. "There's always been a familiarity deep down with what Kate wants," said Simone Ashley, who joins the cast as Kate, Anthony's love interest. "That's what I love about shows like Bridgerton and Sex Education: they might be touching on slightly taboo topics, but these characters know what they want."
While Quinn isn't part of the writers' room, she too predicts a new season every bit as romantic as the first. "All I know is that, having written the source material, I think we're all going to be happy, because they really set it up beautifully for all of us to really want Anthony to both win in life and get his comeuppance," Quinn said. "I think it's gonna happen. His love interest just really is his match and it's going to be great."
But what of the other characters? Nicola Coughlan teased that although Penelope Featherington, a.k.a. Lady Whistledown, will still be "causing a lot of trouble," we can expect the character to move in new directions. "You definitely see her mature more," Coughlan told E! News. "I think of it in the Britney Spears thing; 'she's not a girl, not yet a woman' in this season. So she's more aware of the power she wields—that doesn't mean she's any better at using it. She definitely gets herself into some sticky situations."
Those "sticky situations" might involve the exposure of Penelope's alter-ego. As Eloise Bridgerton makes her debut in society amid her renewed search for Lady Whistledown's true identity, it could threaten the fierce bond between the two young women, known in the Bridgerton fandom as Peneloise. "It would be so frustrating for Eloise to know Penelope's doing all the things she wants to do, and has a voice and power and can change things," Coughlan told EW. "But Penelope thinks Eloise is the funniest, smartest, best person in the world—and a lot of Whistledown is to impress her. Maybe I'm putting rose-tinted glasses on, but it all comes from a place of love."
Speaking of Claudia Jessie, who plays Eloise Bridgerton, an exclusive new photo from Season Two sees Eloise in evening attire, along with her mother and two eldest brothers, Anthony and Benedict. Could Eloise at last be fully out in society, as Season One teased, and her brothers have come to his ball as her male escorts?
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."
If you won't take Van Dusen's word for it, check out an exclusive clip from Season Two to watch the sparks fly. In a first look at the upcoming season, we see Anthony encounter Kate outside a society party, where she razzes him for "proclaiming his many requirements for a wife loud enough for the entire party to hear." Their biting repartée ends with Kate declaring, "Your character is as deficient as your horsemanship." Ouch!
A new photo from Season Two reveals the Sharma family, accompanied by Lady Danbury, in full evening attire. We're going to guess that Lady Danbury is squiring the Sharmas around the ton at society parties.
The Sharmas aren't the only new characters appearing in Season Two. 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.”
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.”
Get ready to fall in love with Simone Ashley, who will play Kate in Season 2 of Bridgerton.
Kate is a smart, headstrong young woman who suffers no fools — Anthony Bridgerton very much included. ` pic.twitter.com/xdVilOjL4Y
— Netflix (@netflix) February 15, 2021
In an interview with AdWeek, Rhimes revealed that the spin-off comes at the "request" of Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos. “I was obsessed with Queen Charlotte from the beginning, and the way that character has been created is so beautifully done," Rhimes said. "And the real history of who she is is super interesting, the story of her marriage, the entire thing. We were getting this fascinating Meghan Markle/Harry period that felt like it was part of the conversation again.”
Rhimes pointed out that many people only know King George from Hamilton, “so he’s just a ‘mad king’ as far as they’re concerned,” she said. “But he was a really complex, interesting, man. And so that was an interesting relationship to me.”
Will Simon and Daphne Return?
With the focus shifted to Anthony, fans wondered 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.
Your Grace, it has been a pleasure. 💜🐝 pic.twitter.com/kX1nIG8pz7
— Bridgerton (@bridgerton) April 2, 2021
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.”
Rhimes, for her part, was astonished by the uproar Page's exit caused, but understood the "despair" fans felt. "Everybody lost their minds," she told Variety. "Rightfully, he said, 'I signed up to do this one lovely story, this closed-ended storyline. I'm good!' And I don't blame him for that. I think that he was really smart to leave the perfection as the perfection."
But Page hasn't closed the door entirely on returning to Bridgerton, even if he won't come back as a series regular. 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.”
As for how Daphne will figure into the season without the Duke by her side, Dynevor promises that the new Duchess of Hastings isn't going anywhere. "Daphne has become the adult of the family," she said. "She's found what she's looking for—she's had a baby, she's a wife and mother. There's a real confidence and womanhood about her this season. She's running the family because she's the one who's settled now."
It'll also be up to Daphne to keep Anthony in line as he pursues a wife. "She's the rock of the siblings in this season, which is quite nice to play," Dynevor said. "Daphne's leading the way in terms of knowing what love is, what it means, and what marriage means, and she's trying to pass on that knowledge to Anthony. Daphne has a really good knack of not only empathizing with people around her, but also seeing their blind spots. She did it with Simon, and now she's doing it with Anthony."
What’s the Deal With That Bee?
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.
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