News from the ‘ton’: Season 3 of Bridgerton set to focus on Colin and Penelope’s love story

The wildly popular period drama Bridgerton will be stepping away from its source material. During Netflix’s FYSEE panel on Sunday (May 15), Nicola Coughlan, who plays Penelope Featherington in the Shondaland-produced Netflix series, revealed that Season 3 will focus on her character’s love story with Colin, the third Bridgerton son, played by Luke Newton. 

This marks a departure from Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons book series, which the show is based on. Season 1 and Season 2 were adaptations of the first two books, The Duke And I and The Viscount Who Loved Me, respectively. Meanwhile, Season 3 will tap on the fourth book, Romancing Mister Bridgerton. The third book, An Offer From A Gentleman, focuses on Colin’s older brother Benedict – who will have to wait till a later season for his story to be brought to the screen. 

The reveal was followed up by a post on the Bridgerton series’ Instagram page featuring a letter from ‘Lady Whistledown’ – Penelope’s pseudonym, which she uses in the books and series to write salacious gossip about the wealthy folks at Mayfair’s marriage market. Besides confirming Coughlan’s revelation, the letter says: “With Penelope’s days as a wallflower wearing thin, will she finally take bloom? Time will tell, and as always, so will this author.” 

In an interview with Variety magazine, Bridgerton’s new showrunner Jess Brownell – who will be taking over the reins from Chris Van Dusen – explained the reason for deviating from the source material’s order. She said: “I really feel like it’s Colin and Penelope’s time. Because we’ve been watching both of these actors on our screens since Season 1, we’ve already invested in them a little bit. We know who they are as people.”  

Brownell added that the show had already stepped away from its source a fair amount, given that “it is an ensemble show”. Besides giving all the Bridgerton siblings airtime, a significant change in both seasons is colourblind casting, a common feature in Shondaland’s shows. For Season 2, which was released in March this year, love interest Kate (Simone Ashley) and her sister Edwina (Charithra Chandran) were cast with Indian actors, and their characters given added cultural context.

Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton and Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma in season two of Bridgerton. (Photo: Netflix)

Regardless of the deviations from the source material, viewers can remain absolutely certain that the series will continue to entertain with another season of exquisite gowns and ballrooms, sizzling romances and, of course, high society drama. 

The first two seasons of Bridgerton are available for streaming on Netflix. 

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