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. It quickly became Netflix's biggest hit ever, with 82 million households watching the show in its first month. For context, that's not far off the Super Bowl (around 100 million households per year).
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 is coming—it's already started filming in England (more on that in a moment)—with seasons three and four already confirmed and being planned out by the geniuses over at Shondaland, in addition to a Queen Charlotte limited prequel series.
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 would start shooting in the spring of 2021. The show was also renewed for seasons 3 and 4, though neither have begun filming yet.
When will Bridgerton season two come out?
Don't expect the second season to come out until the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022, at the very earliest. Filming for the first season took nine months, and that was in a pre-pandemic world.
The second season started filming in the spring of 2021, but had to pause in mid-July following a COVID-19 outbreak on set. It resumed filming in mid-August, with showrunner Chris Van Dusen confirming that at least the first couple of episodes were in post-production in the meantime. While fans are hoping for a Christmas 2021 date, a year after the release of season one, that's unlikely (sorry to be the bearer of bad news!)—a more likely premiere date would be late 2022.
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.
“We’re very much passing on the baton to the lovely [Jonathan Bailey], who plays Anthony, and that will be the main story line of season 2 and the story arc of season 2,” said Phoebe Dynevor, who plays Daphne Bridgerton. Of stepping back in season two, she added: "The show centers around the Bridgertons, and there are eight books. And I think maybe the fans of the books were more aware of that happening than the fans of the show.”
Said showrunner Van Dusen in an interview with Variety: “We pick up Anthony after we’ve seen what he’s been through with his mistress. He’s thinking, ‘Was that love?’ Some would call it that, others would not. We’re exploring those concepts of duty and honor once again."
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."
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.
Phoebe Dynevor will be returning as Daphne, however—at least for one more season. Of Simon, she told The Wrap: “I think he’ll definitely be referred to a lot. I think we’ll see the baby. And we’ll just focus more on her relationship with the Bridgerton family...She’s a grown woman now so she can call more shots and be more in control."
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Nicola Coughlan, who plays Penelope Featherington, explained that Daphne will play a major role in season two."Daphne and Anthony have such a good relationship and he involved himself so much in her and the Duke that now Daphne's going to be like, 'I want to do what you're doing. I'm going to figure it out,' and there's a lot going on. It's extremely dramatic," she said. "It's very epic this year, I feel like is how I would describe it. But yeah, the Duke is just busy. The Duke is playing James Bond in 1814, so that's what he's doing."
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.
Rupert Evans, who you'll remember from Charmed, has been cast as Edmund, the late Bridgerton patriarch and father of the siblings. He'll likely be featured in Anthony's flashbacks, since Edmund's death had a profound effect on Anthony. The first season ended with a shot of a bee, which is a callback to how Edmund died (an allergic reaction to a bee sting) and an indication that Edmund will feature heavily in the Anthony-centric season two.
One character from season one was so popular, she's getting her own spin-off show rather than play a smaller role in future seasons: Queen Charlotte, who played a major role in season one in spite of not being in the original Bridgerton books. The as-yet-untitled limited series, written by Shonda Rhimes herself, will trace the journey of a young Charlotte; it will also feature young Violet Bridgerton and young Lady Danbury.
What else do we know?
During filming for the second season, showrunner Chris Van Dusen shared an image of the script to Twitter that revealed the first episode would be called, "Capital R Rake."
Coughlan also told ET: "Claudia Jessie, who plays Eloise, literally sat in my trailer yesterday and said, 'People are going to die when this happens and they're going to die when this happens and they're not going to believe that it's amped up!"