Bridgerton season 3: Release date speculation, cast and latest news
Prepare yourselves for plenty more Regency romance!
Bridgerton will soon return to our screens in all its feather-strewn glory, with plenty of familiar faces reprising their roles.
One member of the clan won’t be returning, however, with Phoebe Dynevor recently confirming she’s won’t be back for the hotly-anticipated third season of the show, production on which is well under way.
Asked if she makes an appearance in the Netflix hit's third season, Dynevor explained to Screen Rant during January’s Sundance Film Festival: "Sadly not in season 3. Potentially in the future."
She continued: "But season 3, I'm just excited to watch as a viewer."
Dynevor’s character Daphne was the focus of season 1 as she embarked on a romance with Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings (played by Regé-Jean Page), but her role became smaller in season 2 as the focus shifted onto a new Bridgerton sibling: eldest brother and dashing bachelor Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), and his new love interest, Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley).
The next couple to step into the limelight in the upcoming season are Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton), two members of the Ton who have yet to take their long-standing friendship up a notch.
The focus on Penelope and Colin marks a departure from Julia Quinn's book series, upon which the show is based.
While the first two seasons' storylines mirrored the first two books in Quinn's series - The Duke and I and The Viscount Who Loved Me – the third season uses the fourth book, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, as its source material.
"I really feel like it’s Colin and Penelope’s time," she said. "Because we’ve been watching both of these actors on our screens since season 1, we’ve already invested in them a little bit."
She continued: "We know who they are as people... there are these moments of tension between them where it’s like, Colin walks up to the line of almost realising that Penelope has feelings for him but doesn’t quite get there. Instead of treading water on that dynamic, we wanted to push it into their season. It really felt like the perfect moment to tee it up."
Read on for everything we know so far about Bridgerton season 3.
**Spoiler warning for Bridgerton season 2**
Bridgerton season 3 release date speculation
Unfortunately, Netflix hasn't announced Bridgerton season 3's release date yet – but this author will, of course, update this page as soon as news arrives.
As season 2 took just over a year to arrive on our screens after the show first debuted on Netflix, hopefully, season 3 will arrive in early 2023 – especially since COVID restrictions have almost completely lifted.
While Netflix hasn't given us an official release date, the streamer has offered something for fans in the shape of a peek behind the scenes, with Luke Newton (Colin Bridgerton) and Claudia Jesse (Eloise Bridgerton) attempting to paint a portrait of their characters while answering questions about them.
Nicola Coughlan – whose character Penelope Featherington will be taking the lead in season 3 alongside Newton's Colin – also makes an appearance. Coughlan, whose character is also narrator Lady Whistledown, didn't turn up empty-handed. She revealed season 3's first episode was called 'Out of the Shadows', and proceeded to read the first page, which foreshadows plenty of change for Penelope.
"The crop this year appears to be rather dazzling, indeed. Unfortunately, not every young lady can attract the light," she teased. You can watch it in full below:
The other good news is that Bridgerton isn't just coming back for season 3, but for season 4 as well.
Netflix shared the good news back in April 2021 in a tweet, writing: "BREAKING NEWS FROM THE TON. Bridgerton is returning for seasons three *AND* four!"
The show's creator Chris Van Dusen won't be returning to Bridgerton as showrunner for the upcoming seasons, with the screenwriter handing over the reins to Jess Brownell for season 3.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press about him stepping down as showrunner, Van Dusen said: "Bridgerton will always have a special place in my heart and I think I did what I set out to do.
"But at the end of the day, you know, it was time for me to move on, and hopefully create that magic again in the near future."
Lady Danbury actress Adjoa Andoh heaped praise on both writers when talking with RadioTimes.com, saying: "So Jess, who's taking over for Chris, is amazing. She, like Chris, has been with Shondaland for a good amount of her writing career, so she absolutely knows how to put a story together, she knows how to make a fabulous structure work in the Shondaland style, so I have no worries about that."
Bridgerton season 3 cast speculation
The following fan-favourite cast members have been confirmed for Bridgerton season 3:
- Jonathan Bailey as Anthony, Viscount Bridgerton
- Simone Ashley as Kathani "Kate" (née Sharma), Viscountess Bridgerton
- Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington
- Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton
- Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton
Speaking to Deadline, Ashley confirmed the exciting news.
“We’re going to be back! Kate and Anthony are just getting started,” she said. “We have the amazing Jess Brownell who is taking the lead as showrunner in season 3.
"I think everything is just starting. I’d like to see Kate just let go a bit more and play more in season 3 and kind of swim in that circle of love together. I think they both deserve it.”
Promising audiences a “more headstrong” Kate in season 3, Ashley added: “She’s in charge of the household now and she’s got big boots to put on. I think she can do it.
“I want to keep that softness and vulnerability to Kate, for sure, and she can share that with Anthony. I’m just excited for her to have a home and to have a family. I’m excited to see her grow."
Coughlan and Newton's returns were confirmed alongside the exciting news that season 3 is going to focus on their love story.
Coughlan announced on her Instagram: "Like Lady Whistledown I’ve been keeping quite a big secret for quite a long time… but I can finally tell you that @bridgertonnetflix Season Three is Colin and Penelope’s Story."
Meanwhile, Hannah Dodd (Enola Holmes, Anatomy of a Scadnal) will be taking over Ruby Stokes’ role as Francesca Bridgerton.
Dodd told TVLine in an interview that she was "so excited" to be taking on the role, and that in preparation she read six of Quinn's novels, starting with Francesca’s story.
She said: "I didn’t know what I’d got myself in for, but I needed to read that as soon as possible. It’s such a beautiful book and she’s such a beautiful character. I can’t really believe that I get to play her."
Unless confirmed otherwise, we expect these other cast members to return for Bridgerton season 3.
- Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury
- Lorraine Ashbourne as Mrs Varley
- Harriet Cains as Philippa Featherington
- Bessie Carter as Prudence Featherington
- Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne Basset (née Bridgerton), Duchess of Hastings
- Ruth Gemmell as Violet, Dowager Viscountess Bridgerton
- Florence Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton
- Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton
- Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte
- Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton
- Will Tilston as Gregory Bridgerton
- Polly Walker as Portia, Baroness Featherington
- Martins Imhangbe as Will Mondrich
- Calam Lynch as Theo Sharpe
- Julie Andrews as the voice of Lady Whistledown
If the following season adapts the third book in Julia Quinn's series, we should expect Luke Thompson to take centre stage as Benedict Bridgerton in season 4, rather than the upcoming third season.
We could still see an actress cast as his love interest from the novel An Offer from a Gentleman – Sophie Beckett. After all, the pair first meet at a ball and don't reconnect again until two years after.
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However, the series may make adaptational changes to his story so perhaps we will meet this character but with a twist.
Despite presumably taking more of a backseat season 3 – much like that of Phoebe Dynevor, who played season 1 lead star Daphne – Jonathan Bailey will be returning as Anthony Bridgerton for the third instalment alongside Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley), according to Deadline.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press ahead of season 2, Bailey and Simone Ashley spoke about whether they would return for a third season, with Bailey saying: "We'll have to wait and see if we're invited."
Ashley added: "If I were to return for season 3, I would love to continue Kate and Anthony's love story and see them play post-marriage and enjoy that honeymoon romance that they deserve. And a lot more horse-riding."
Meanwhile, Charithra Chandran, who plays Kate's sister Edwina, said that she's not sure if her character will feature in season 3, adding: "For Edwina, I'd say she's not a Bridgerton and at the end of the day, the show is about the Bridgerton family that we know exists in the Bridgerverse, as we like to say. But I've been so happy to have such a great part this season and I'm just grateful for that."
She recently revealed her hopes for Edwina’s future on the show, telling The Hollywood Reporter: “I obviously do want Edwina to find love, but I think there is a far more important story to be told first — and then love can happen — which is one of self-discovery."
She continued: "I hope, at least in the short term, there’s a lot of excitement and adventure for Edwina.”
Who will Bridgerton season 3 be about?
After months of speculation about who will take centre stage in the third season, we finally have an answer.
As fans will know, if the series was to follow the order of Julia Quinn's novels, that would mean season 3 focusing on Benedict as its lead.
However, as detailed above, the upcoming third season will put Penelope and Colin firmly in the limelight, it has been confirmed.
Shonda Rhimes previously hinted season 3 may stray from its source material.
"We're not necessarily going in order—but we are going to be seeing each one of the siblings and their stories," she told Entertainment Tonight.
What's more, Kate Sharma actress Simone Ashley previously appeared to suggest 'Polin' (Penelope and Colin) would be the primary relationship in the next season.
"There will be a post-marriage Kanthony story for sure," she told E! News. "And I'm super excited for the world to see Nicola [Coughlan] and Luke [Newton] rock it, but also to just play with the Anthony and Kate story now that they're loved up and they've kind of sorted themselves out."
In addition, creator Chris Van Dusen previously told RadioTimes.com and other press that the show isn't strictly sticking to the events of the book.
"It's not a given that we're following the order of the books and I think whatever we do in season 3 and whatever sibling we're focused on still remains to be seen," he said.
Bridgerton season 3 plot
**Spoilers ahead for Bridgerton season 2**
Netflix has confirmed that Bridgerton season 3 will not be based on the third book of Quinn’s Bridgerton series, An Offer from a Gentleman.
Instead, the hit Regency romance will skip to the fourth book, Romancing Mr Bridgerton, which explores Colin and Penelope’s love story.
However, one storyline from Romancing Mr Bridgerton won’t feature in the next season.
The 2002 novel sees Penelope lose weight and undergo a makeover, but when asked about the plot line, showrunner Chris Van Dusen said: “We think that Penelope is beautiful, and I don’t think it’s really a part of her story.”
He added: “Her being a wallflower in our show I think is about her level of confidence more than it is about her outward appearance.”
Netflix released the first official synopsis for season 3 back in 2022, explaining that Penelope had "finally given up on her long-held crush on Colin Bridgerton’, after she overheard ‘his disparaging words about her last season".
It continued: "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."
Sadly however, Penelope is "lacking in confidence" and so when a confident Colin returns from his travels, he’s given the "cold shoulder" by Penelope.
"Eager to win back her friendship, Colin offers to mentor Penelope in the ways of confidence to help her find a husband this season," the synopsis continued.
Another synopsis was revealed via a Bridgerton gift box shared by Meghan O'Keefe on Twitter. Read the full Bridgerton season 3 synopsis below:
"From Shondaland and new showrunner, Jess Brownell, Bridgerton is back for its third season and finds Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) has finally given up on her long-held crush on Colin Bridgerton (Luke 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."
It continued: "But he's disheartened to realise 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 (Claudia 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."
Talking about what fans can expect in season 3, Coughlan recently told Netflix Tudum: "I feel like if you see Penelope fawning over this boy for another season, you’ll be like, 'Get it together! Come on, move on and get over it'. Jess has talked to Luke and I through the season, and I think people are going to be really obsessed. I think book fans are going to be happy."
In addition, the next season is also likely to explore the repercussions of Eloise discovering Penelope is Lady Whistledown in season 2, as well as telling us whether the Featheringtons recover their financial position after cousin Jack turned out to be a fraudster.
What's more, as detailed above, Anthony and Kate are set to return for the third instalment, with Simone Ashley promising a more "heart strong” Kate, but what exactly is going to unfold between the pair remains to be seen.
Bridgerton seasons 1 and 2 are streaming now on Netflix.