Name a more interesting hook for a TV series than "a very feminist, very steamy take on the strict social mores of early 19th century London, all narrated by an unseen gossip hound voiced by Julie Andrews"—I dare you. That's Bridgerton, Shonda Rhimes' first project under her massive Netflix deal, which dropped Dec. 25, 2020 and basically combines all the best parts of Pride & Prejudice and Gossip Girl.
Some people (certainly not me, but surely someone with less obsessive tendencies and more varied taste in TV) might think that eight and a half hours of longing glances, illicit affairs, empire-waist dresses, and queenly proclamations would be more than enough to satisfy any lover of period dramas. To those people, I say: I've got a Regency-era-dramedy-induced fever, and the only prescription is more Bridgerton. Fortunately for us all, a second season of the Shondaland masterpiece will soon be on the way. Here's everything we know about it.
Has Bridgerton been renewed for a second season?
Yes! On January 21, Netflix announced that it had renewed Bridgerton for a second season. The news was announced via an image of Lady Whistledown's Society Papers, and confirmed that season 2 will start shooting in the spring of 2021:
What will Bridgerton season two be about?
Fortunately for the masterminds at Shondaland and viewers at home, there's plenty more intel about the Bridgerton family to be mined from Julia Quinn's series of romance novels on which the show is based. At the core of the book series are eight novels, each focusing on one of the Bridgerton offspring—who, by the way, were very helpfully named in alphabetical order, from A to H. Beyond those eight stories, Quinn has also published two extra collections of gossip columnist Lady Whistledown's writings and a series of short novellas that serve as "second epilogues" for each of the books; on top of all of that, Quinn recently revealed that she's currently working on a prequel for the series that would follow the Bridgertons as children, because she clearly understands that there's no such thing as too much Bridgerton.
The first season loosely follows the events of the first book in Quinn's series, The Duke & I, which centers on the eldest Bridgerton daughter Daphne's entrance into society and search for a husband who offers both passion and high status; she does so by way of a scheme involving a fake betrothal that quickly becomes all too real. Logically, then, a second season would take its inspiration from the second book, The Viscount Who Loved Me. That story follows the eldest Bridgerton, Anthony, on his own quest for love. The classic rom-com trope this time around sees Anthony's fiancée's disapproving and very protective older sister reluctantly warming up to the "consummate rake"—perhaps a little too much so.
Who will play Anthony Bridgerton's love interest in Bridgerton season 2?
Netflix revealed that Simone Ashley will be joining the Bridgerton cast as Kate Sharma. "Get ready to fall in love with Simone Ashley..." the Netflix announcement reads. "Kate is a smart, headstrong young woman who suffers no fools—Anthony Bridgerton very much included." (Fans of the book series will remember the character as "Kate Sheffield.") Ashley is known best for her part as Olivia in Netflix's Sex Education.
Speaking with the Today Show in January, show creator Chris Van Dusen gave more details about Kate and Anthony's relationship calling it, per Deadline, "sweeping and moving and as beautiful as viewers of the first season have come to expect from the show.” He continued: “We left [Anthony] 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.”
The official description of Julia Quinn's The Viscount Who Loved Me introduces Kate as "the most meddlesome woman to ever grace a London ballroom" and as a "spirited schemer." And according to OprahMag.com, Kate is also a proud dog mom to Winston, a loveable Corgi. Fingers crossed Winston makes the Netflix crossover.
Did season one include any hints about future episodes?
Several moments of Bridgerton's first season all but confirm that the next installment will revolve around Anthony. Those familiar with Quinn's series know that bees play a significant role throughout the books: In the second, The Viscount Who Loved Me, we learn that patriarch Edmund Bridgerton, whose death was only rarely mentioned in the show's first season, died of a bee sting at the age of 38. As a result, his two eldest sons are understandably very wary of bees, with Anthony especially terrified of the insects, a fear that continually arises throughout his search for a bride.
Nods to Anthony's greatest fear were hidden throughout season one of Bridgerton. Barely a minute into the first episode, a bumblebee is shown crawling on the Bridgerton estate's door knocker; as a sort of bookend, the final episode closes on a close-up shot of a bee buzzing along the windowsill of Daphne's room. Plus, in the seventh episode, as Insider discovered, Benedict wears a bee-shaped pin on his collar, which feels like a strange power move to direct at the cause of a major family tragedy.
Will Daphne and Simon's love story continue in season two?
Unfortunately not. Though they got a happy ending at the end of season one, it was confirmed in April 2021 that Regé-Jean Page would not be returning as Simon Bassett. The announcement was made through a "note" from Lady Whistledown, which read:
“Dear Readers, while all eyes turn to Lord Anthony Bridgerton’s quest to find a Viscountess, we bid adieu to Regé-Jean Page, who so triumphantly played the Duke of Hastings. We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family,” it continued. “Daphne will remain a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer—more intrigue and romance than my readers may be able to bear.”
On April 12, a report in Page Six claimed that Page had left the show because he didn't like what it had in mind for his character in season two: "He wasn’t happy with what was planned for his character for Season 2, which would have kept him a player but not the focal point of the show...Regé has been inundated with offers for other interesting and challenging leading roles."
How do the cast and crew feel about a second season?
It's safe to assume they're thrilled to return to their beloved London "ton." Nicola Coughlan, who plays the delightfully refreshing Penelope Featherington in the series, recently said as much. "I feel like we've established this big world, so I'd love to explore more of it," she told Radio Times, adding that she'd be particularly excited to explore more of Penelope's world. "I'd love to go on that journey with her, to see how she's changed," Coughlan said. "I'd really love to come back, because I feel like we've just scratched the surface. And because there's such a huge cast in this show, there's so much more of all the characters."
The Duchess of Hastings, too, declared that she would willingly pass the baton to her brother Anthony and assist him in his search for the perfect partner in a second season. "I love that [Daphne's] story ends really nicely; it's all tied up at the end. Now, I have a feeling that she's going to have to get involved with Anthony's love life, since it's his turn next," Phoebe Dynevor told T&C. "I'm a hopeless romantic, so I'm all for the happily-ever-after ending."
And finally, if showrunner Chris Van Dusen has anything to say about it, we'll get not just a second season of Bridgerton, but seven more installments: one to cover each of the Bridgerton children's stories. When asked by Collider whether he'd like to adapt all eight of Quinn's novels for the screen, Van Dusen said, "I would love that. In success, I would love that."
He explained, "I feel like 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."
From his lips to Netflix's ears.
What new characters should we expect for season two?
In addition to Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, the Hollywood Reporter announced April 5 that four new characters have been cast. Charithra Chandran (Alex Rider) will play Edwina Sharma, Kate's younger sister who's a debutante looking for a true love match. Shelley Conn (Liar) will play Kate and Edwina's mother, Lady Mary Sharma. Calam Lynch (Benediction) will play Theo Sharpe, a hardworking printer's assistant, and Rupert Young (Dear Evan Hansen) plays Jack, a new character who isn't from the books who has a connection to one of Bridgerton's most notable families.
When will season two begin filming?
Netflix initially announced that filming would begin March 2021, but after possible pandemic-caused delays, the Hollywood Reporter said that production would begin in April 2021 in London.
Returning cast members have already been expressing their excitement to return to the world of Bridgerton on social media. On April 2, Adjoa Andoh, who plays Lady Danbury, posted a picture of herself, Golda Rosheuvel (Queen Charlotte), and Ruth Gemmell (Lady Bridgerton) in costume with the caption "Gearing Up for Season 2..." With their Charlie's Angels-style poses and grins, it looks like they're as ready to return to Bridgerton as we are.
On April 30, Simone Ashley was spotted on the Bridgerton set for the first time. In the scene, Ashley's character, Kate Sharma, joins Sir Anthony (played by Jonathan Bailey) in the stands at a horse race (pictures are available here, if you're interested).
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