Bridgerton fans may still be reeling following the departure of a breakout star, but Netflix is already ramping up our excitement for season two, with brand new casting announcements.
While Bridgerton fans were previously thrilled to hear that the steamy period drama will return for a second season, the news now feels a little more bittersweet…
Regé-Jean Page, who played heartthrob the Duke of Hastings in the first batch of episodes, will not be returning for the follow-up, as the focus will shift towards the character of Lord Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and his new love interest.
Predictably, the news sparked an outcry from fans, many of whom were gutted that they wouldn’t be reunited with the Duke following his acclaimed introduction in season one – but there’s still plenty to look forward to.
Netflix has announced that Sex Education star Simone Ashley has been cast as the female lead in season two, a newcomer to the marriage market named Kate Sharma.
And in April we learnt that newcomer Charithra Chandran (Alex Rider) had been cast as Kate’s perfect and endearing younger half-sister, Edwina Sharma, who also plays a central role in the second season.
Co-star Nicola Coughlan (Penelope Featherington) recently clarified on Twitter that the next instalment isn’t filming just yet, but will go into production later this year with Netflix currently padding out its supporting cast.
Here is everything we know about Bridgerton season two so far.
Will there be a second season of Bridgerton?
CONFIRMED: Bridgerton will return for season two.
In announcement in January 2021, the story’s narrator (and famed gossip sheet writer) Lady Whistledown said: “The ton are abuzz with the latest gossip, and so it is my honour 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.”
The show has received rave reviews from critics, including our five-star Bridgerton review, and has been a major hit with fans – consistently hovering around the top of Netflix’s top-ten most watched rankings.
When is Bridgerton season 2’s release date?
According to Lady Whistledown, “the incomparable cast of Bridgerton will return to production in the spring of 2021”.
So, if all goes well with filming (pandemic permitting), we could reasonably hope for a Bridgerton season two release date in 2022.
As a point of interest, it seems the show is already going into production later than originally intended. Back in February 2020, long before season one had even made its debut on Netflix, production on the second season was already being organised (as spotted in the listings on Production Weekly); it was meant to begin filming in summer 2020.
Of course, then the pandemic struck and producers had to put a pin in their plans… and none of the actors seemed to even know if season two would happen. That’s all changed now the show has the green light!
What will Bridgerton season 2 be about?
Lady Whistledown tells us: “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.
“However, gentle reader, before you set the comments section alight with requests for more sordid details, know that I am disinclined to report on the particulars at this time. Patience, after all, is a virtue.”
There are multiple books in Julia Quinn’s series of Bridgerton novels, and season one only really covers the first novel: The Duke and I. Now we’ll be moving on to the second novel, The Viscount Who Loved Me, which focuses on Anthony Bridgerton and a new heroine called Kate Sheffield (renamed Kate Sharma in the TV show).
The shift in focus towards Anthony and Kate is far from unexpected.
Showrunner Chris Van Dusen previously told Collider: “The first season was primarily about Daphne and her love story with Simon. But, this being a family of eight children and there being eight books, I would love to be able to focus and really tell stories and love stories for all the Bridgerton siblings. For each character, for sure.”
In addition, season two will hopefully pick up where things left off with several plots and sub-plots. The Bridgerton season one finale certainly leaves plenty of unanswered questions, and hints at more to come – with the voiceover from “Lady Whistledown” (voiced by Julie Andrews) telling viewers at the end of the episode: “Of course, there are other endings that will offer new beginnings.”
We should soon find out more about the heir to the Featherington estate, after the untimely death of Lord Featherington (Ben Miller). And fans will be wondering how this affects the fortunes of Penelope and her two sisters.
As for Penelope, will she ever make her feelings known to Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton)? And will Eloise (Claudia Jessie) enter the marriage market despite her reluctance? And will Benedict (Luke Thompson) continue to explore his sexuality and his passion for art?
And could we see more scenes between Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) and Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel)? That’s what Andoh told Digital Spy she’d like to see in season two, explaining: “They’re kind of naughty. Respectable, but naughty.”
Who is Bridgerton’s new heroine Kate Sharma?
In the novel The Viscount Who Loved Me, Kate Sheffield is almost 21 and only just making her debut on the marriage market, alongside her younger half-sister Edwina (17 years old) – because the Sheffields, who come from out of town, can only afford to properly do the “season” once.
After the death of her mother when Kate was only three-years-old, Kate’s father remarried. Thankfully, his new wife (Mary Sheffield) raised her stepdaughter with just as much love as if she were her own. But Kate and Edwina’s father died, leaving Mary without a great deal of money – and with two daughters to find suitable husbands for.
As Julia Quinn writes, Kate had “known from the outset that she wasn’t the sort who would capture the attention of the ton. She wasn’t pretty enough to overcome her lack of dowry, and she’d never learned to simper and mince and walk delicately, and do all those things other girls seemed to know how to do in the cradle.”
In the book, she is described as having “plain brown hair and eyes”, and being on the tall side. Edwina, by contrast, is much more petite, with “buttery-coloured hair” and “startlingly pale blue eyes”, and she’s considered incredibly attractive. But the sisters, while very different in appearance and personality, are extremely close.
Bridgerton season 2 cast: who is returning?
Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page) will no longer be the show’s main characters, now that their conflict is resolved and they’re happily making babies at Clyvedon Castle.
Nevertheless, Dynevor will return to the role of Daphne as a supporting player in her older brother’s love story, although Page is officially out as the Duke, with his departure from the show confirmed in April 2021.
Jonathan Bailey (Anthony Bridgerton) will be the main star of the second season, alongside Simone Ashley as his potential bride (Kate Sharma).
The role of Edwina Sharma, Kate’s sister who also plays a key role in Anthony’s love story, will be played by newcomer Charithra Chandran.
Shelley Conn will play the girls’ mother, Lady Mary Sharma, who was previously embroiled in a scandal; while Calam Lynch will play rebellious printer’s assistant Theo Sharpe.
Meanwhile, Deadline confirmed in April 2021 that Merlin star Rupert Young will also be joining the series in season two. Young will play ‘Jack’, the latest member of the ton.
We also expect the Bridgerton cast for season two to include Julie Andrews as the voice of Lady Whistledown, as well as the return of Golda Rosheuvel (Queen Charlotte), Nicola Coughlan (Penelope Featherington), and the rest of the core cast including Claudia Jessie, Adjoa Andoh, Ruth Gemmell, and Polly Walker.
It remains to be seen whether Marina Thompson (Ruby Barker) reemerges in the story, having married her dead lover’s brother so that her unborn child could be born in wedlock. The two were last seen driving away from Featherington House. (Fans of the book will know that Marina Thompson is an important figure in Eloise’s story, even if we don’t ever actually meet her in the novels…)
But one person who won’t be back is Ben Miller, who played Lord Featherington. Or should we say, the late Lord Featherington.
Will Daphne and Simon be in Bridgerton season 2?
With their love story wrapped up, it appears we will be seeing less of Daphne (Dynevor) and her husband Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) from now on.
In April 2021, a letter from Lady Whistledown herself confirmed that we will “bid adieu” to Regé-Jean Page, who will not be reprising his role in the second season.
However, it’s not all bad news as Dynevor will be returning to the role of Daphne and the character will be “helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season” in the episodes to come.
Dynevor had previously said: “There’s no such thing as a happy ending, is there? I think love’s always shifting and changing. So who knows? 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.”
What happens in the second Bridgerton book?
In the second book, Lady Whistledown assumes that “London’s most elusive bachelor” and “consummate rake” Anthony Bridgerton has no plans to marry – but she’s wrong. And she changes her tune somewhat quickly.
As the blurb for Julia Quinn’s second Bridgerton novel tells us, “Anthony Bridgerton hasn’t just decided to marry – he’s even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield – the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate is the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams.
“Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands – and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate is determined to protect her sister – but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony’s lips touch hers, she’s suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself…”
The Bridgerton books in order
The books in Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series are:
Book 1 – The Duke & I. Covered by season one of the Netflix drama.
Book 2 – The Viscount Who Loved Me. The tale of the eldest Bridgerton sibling, Anthony, and his romance with a woman called Kate Sheffield (elder sister of the woman he’s actually hoping to marry).
Book 3 – An Offer from a Gentleman. This book is about Benedict Bridgerton, and it’s a bit of a Cinderella story with the bewitching Sophie Beckett, an earl’s daughter relegated to the role of a servant by her stepmother.
Book 4 – Romancing Mister Bridgerton. The fourth book in the series is all about Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton.
Book 5 – To Sir Phillip, With Love. It’s Eloise’s turn to be the main character. At this point she’s described as a “spinster” (rude!), and marriage is on the cards with a man called Sir Phillip Crane. But are they right for each other after all?
Book 6 – When He Was Wicked. We’re getting to the younger Bridgerton siblings now, and book six covers the story of Michael Stirling and Francesca Bridgerton.
Book 7 – It’s In His Kiss. This book covers Hyacinth Bridgerton, Gareth St Clair, and a mysterious diary written in Italian.
Book 8 – On the Way to the Wedding. Finally, it’s the turn of second youngest child, Gregory Bridgerton, to find love.
And after that… there are a few Bridgerton spin-offs, too! Julia Quinn wrote a collection of eight “2nd Epilogues” and a novella about the family’s matriarch Violet Bridgerton, published under the title The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After.
The author also wrote a couple more novellas featuring the character Lady Whistledown: ’36 Valentines’ and ‘The First Kiss’ were published in the anthology collections The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown and Lady Whistledown Strikes Back.
How many seasons of Bridgerton will there be?
Showrunner Chris Van Dusen has already suggested that there could be eight seasons of Bridgerton (just like there are eight novels in the series), each focused on a different Bridgerton sibling: Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth.
But nothing is set in stone! The TV series has already deviated somewhat from the novels by introducing later romance storylines – such as “Polin” (Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton) – into season one. Let’s see what happens…