Dearest Reader, we're breaking down all of the buzz about season 2 of Bridgerton (including that shocking pre-season exit)

By Andrea Wurzburger
April 02, 2021 05:25 PM
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The ton is abuzz!

The Shonda Rhimes series Bridgerton premiered on Netflix in December 2020, and soon thereafter became a gigantic hit.

Watched by a record 82 million households globally (and counting) since it began streaming, the period drama swiftly became Netflix's "biggest show ever," the streaming service announced, and we don't doubt it for a second. Bridgerton is everywhere: from Saturday Night Live to Kim Kardashian's girls night in.

Much like London society, we've all been hungry for any gossip about season 2! Below, we've compiled everything we know.

Shall we promenade? Let's get to it:

BRIDGERTON (L to R) REGÉ-JEAN PAGE as SIMON BASSET and PHOEBE DYNEVOR as DAPHNE BRIDGERTON
Daphne Bridgerton (L; Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page)
| Credit: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

Has Bridgerton been renewed for a second season?

Yes! When Bridgerton arrived on Netflix on Christmas Day, it promptly set the ton abuzz with speculation about a second season, and boy, did Netflix deliver. The streaming giant announced on Jan. 21 that there would, indeed, be a season two.

In the announcement — which came in the form of one of Lady Whistledown's infamous society papers — we learned that "Lord Anthony Bridgerton (played by Jonathan Bailey) intends to dominate the social season" and that Whistledown would have her "pen ready to report on any and all of his romantic activities."

When will season 2 of Bridgerton premiere?

We don't have an exact date yet, but the cast is poised to begin production on season 2. On March 15, 2021, Luke Newton — who plays the youngest Bridgerton brother, Colin, in the series — set the Internet abuzz when he posted some behind-the-scenes photos to his Instagram featuring him and his costars in costume.

"The boys are back in town," Newton captioned the post, later adding the hashtags "#throwback" and "#season1" after many mistook the images to be from the filming of the show's second season.

His castmate, Nicola Coughlan was vocal in her support of continuing the series, telling Radio Times, "I feel like we've established this big world, so I'd love to explore more of it." She added, "I'd love to go on that journey with her, to see how she's changed. 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."

What will Bridgerton season 2 be about?

Bridgerton
Jonathan Bailey and Regé-Jean Page in Bridgerton
| Credit: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

The series is based on the popular books by Julia Quinn, which follow the eight Bridgerton children — they're named alphabetically, if that helps you to keep track — on their quests for love, with the ever-watchful Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews in the series) keeping on eye on it all and reporting it in her society papers.

Season 1 followed the first book in Quinn's series, The Duke and I, which tracked the romance between Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page). Season 2 will follow Quinn's second book, The Viscount Who Loved Me, and the quest of the eldest Bridgerton, Anthony, to find his viscountess. 

If the plot of the book and the series remain the same, it looks like we will follow Anthony as he looks to find a suitable wife to settle down with, but not to love. Love is off the table for the eldest Bridgerton because, as Bailey put it when he spoke with British Vogue, "he's reached a point where he genuinely believes that love will never happen for him."

In the books, Anthony sets out to marry the newest belle of the ton, Edwina, only to be faced with her disapproving sister, Kate, who refuses to let him anywhere near her because of his reputation. It's a classic tale of enemies to lovers, and if the book is any indication, things are going to get steamy.

Bailey told British Vogue of the next season, "I feel like the campy, plush spectacle of the Bridgerton world is only going to get more pronounced in the best way possible." He added, "It's mad, and it's brilliant. There are also going to be a lot of brilliant characters introduced in this series — and it's not just Anthony that we're going to delve into."

"The robust universe that's been set up by Shonda [Rhimes] and [showrunner Chris Van Dusen] will just expand and keep pushing boundaries in a way that's quietly subversive," he continued. "There's just going to be more of what everyone loves, I think."

Bridgerton / Kathryn Drysdale / Jonathan Bailey
Jonathan Bailey and Kathryn Drysdale
| Credit: Courtesy of Kathryn Drysdale

Kathryn Drysdale, whose character Genevieve Delacroix has a dalliance with Lord Anthony's younger brother, Benedict, told PEOPLE about her cast mate, "Over here [in the U.K.], Jonathan Bailey is an award-winning actor. He's won the Olivier award. He's just extraordinary and will bring so much to his story." She added, "He's going to be mega, and I can't wait."

Who's joining the cast?

Simone Ashley
Credit: shutterstock/netflix

PEOPLE confirmed in February 2021 that actress Simone Ashley would be joining the cast. The Sex Education star will play Bailey's love interest, Kate Sharma, the "smart, headstrong young woman who suffers no fools — Anthony Bridgerton very much included."

In the novel, Ashley's character is named Kate Sheffield. However, the show's creative team previously decided her family would be of Indian descent and changed her surname, Deadline reported.

Charithra Chandran has been cast as Kate's younger sister (and the latest diamond of the first water) Edwina, Deadline reports. According to an announcement made on the Shondaland Instagram, "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."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, also joining the case as Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma, Calam Lynch as Theo Sharpe, and Rupert Young as Jack.

Shondland said of Lady Mary Sharma, "Lady Mary's marriage once embroiled her and her family in scandal. Now newly returned to London with her daughters, she's forced to endure the scrutiny of the ton yet again." Meanwhile, Theo Sharpe is "a hardworking printer's assistant," as well as "an intellectual who fights for the rights for all," and Jack is "the newest member of the ton with a connection to one of its most notable families."

Who's leaving Bridgerton?

In April 2021, it was confirmed that Regé-Jean Page would not be returning to play Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings. The announcement — again made through one of Lady Whistledown's society papers — 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."

Page wrote on Instagram of his departure, "The ride of a life time. It's been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be your Duke. Joining this family - not just on screen, but off screen too. Our incredibly creative and generous cast, crew, outstanding fans - it's all been beyond anything I could have imagined. The love is real and will just keep growing."

Shonda Rhimes shared on Instagram: "Remember: the Duke is never gone. He's just waiting to be binge watched all over again. #ShondalandMenOnNetflixAreForever"

What will happen to Daphne Bridgerton and the Duke of Hastings?

Bridgerton
Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton
| Credit: Netflix

Fear not, gentle reader, just because Regé-Jean Page is not returning does not mean that Phoebe Dynevor will not make an appearance in season 2. In the announcement, it was revealed that "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."

Dynevor told Town & Country in January 2021, "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. I'm a hopeless romantic, so I'm all for the happily-ever-after ending."

Will there be more seasons of Bridgerton?

Julia Quinn's series includes eight books — one for each Bridgerton, so it's possible that we see the Netflix series follow each of those plotlines to fruition. Showrunner Chris Van Dusen told Collider of the prospect, "I would love that. In success, I would love that."

He added, "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."

Dearest reader, we will keep you posted.