The “exciting news” about Bridgerton that Netflix teased on Tuesday became a reality this morning with the long-expected second-season renewal. In the style of Shondaland’s Regency-era period drama series, created by Chris Van Dusen, the pickup was announced by none other than the series’ powerful, plugged-in narrator Lady Whistledown, voiced on the show by Julie Andrews.
The special edition of Lady Whistledown’s Society Paper (you can read it below) confirmed what has been speculated for weeks, that Season 2 will chronicle the pursuit of a suitable marriage for the eldest Bridgerton sibling, Anthony, played by Jonathan Bailey, as chronicled in the second book of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, The Viscount Who Loved Me.
The gossip sheet also confirmed that Season 2 will start filming this spring in the UK for what is believed to be a six-month shoot.
“The incomparable cast of Bridgerton will return to production in Spring 2021,” the pamphlet said, hinting that the entire Season 1 cast will be back though the involvement of some will likely be scaled down.
Casting is currently underway for several new roles, most notably the female romantic lead opposite Anthony Bridgerton in The Viscount Who Loved Me, Kate Sheffield, who I hear will likely be an actress of color, likely of South Asian/Indian descent.
“We have a bunch of new characters we are going to be introducing,” Van Dusen said this morning in announcing the renewal on Today with Hoda & Jenna. “Anthony is going to have a love interest next season, and I think it’s going to be as sweeping and moving and as beautiful as viewers of the first season have come to expect from the show.”
Season 1, based on the first book in Quinn’s series, The Duke and I, centered on the complicated romance between the eldest Bridgerton daughter, Daphne, played by Phoebe Dynevor, and the Duke of Hastings Simon Bassett — like Anthony also a “reformed rake” — portrayed by Regé-Jean Page. (The Bridgerton book series consists of eight novels, each revolving around the love life of one of the Bridgerton siblings, and Van Dusen has indicated that he would like to follow the format with a season dedicated to each of the brothers and sisters.
“I hope so,” Van Dusen said when asked whether Page and Dynevor’s characters will be back next season.
“They are now of course the Duke and Duchess of Hastings but in my mind they will always be Bridgertons and I think they will always be part of the show.”
The focal point of Season 2 was teased in the final minutes of the Season 1 finale when Anthony revealed to Daphne and Simon his plans of “finding and promptly declaring my intentions to my new viscountess” after the heartbreaking end of his relationship with opera singer Siena.
“We left him 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,” Van Dusen said.
To signify his Season 2 prominence, Bailey’s Anthony closed out the Bringerton renewal video announcement, which you can watch below.
And while the Daphne-Simon arc had a satisfying ending, Season 1 finished with a couple of cliffhangers which will be resolved in Season 2.
Season 1 of Bridgerton wrapped production in February 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic hit with a vengeance. Shooting a new season of a show that employs hundreds of extras for its opulent balls and features quite a few sex scenes, would be a challenge.
With its mix of Jane Austen meets Gossip Girl with 35 Shades of Grey, as described by Page, Bridgerton has taken pop culture by storm since its Dec. 25 debut. Redefining the period drama and romance genres and breaking conventions on race while making global stars out of Page and Dynevor, the adaptation of Julia Quinn’s novel captivated viewers to was projected to become one of Netflix’s most watched series premieres with 63 million households to have seen at least a portion of it in the first four weeks. That projection will likely be adjusted up in light of the series’ extraordinary popularity.
Bridgerton‘s timing likely played a role in its breakout success. It arrived amid the latest deadly Covid surge with everyone exhausted after months in quarantine.
“I think the show really provides an incredible escape for audiences at a time where that’s exactly what’s needed,” Van Dusen said.”Bridgerton is this lavish, vibrant, steamy Regency love story; it is about romance, love and joy; I think all of those things are really universal themes people are responding to.”
The series stars Jonathan Bailey (“Anthony Bridgerton”), Nicola Coughlan (“Penelope Featherington”), Claudia Jessie (“Eloise Bridgerton”), Ruby Barker (“Marina Thompson”),Adjoa Andoh (“Lady Danbury”), Golda Rosheuvel (“Queen Charlotte”), Luke Thompson (“Benedict Bridgerton”), Luke Newton (“Colin Bridgerton”), Ruby Stokes (“Francesca Bridgerton”), Will Tilston (“Gregory Bridgerton”), Florence Hunt (“Hyacinth Bridgerton”), Ruth Gemmell (“Lady Violet Bridgerton”), Bessie Carter (“Prudence Featherington”), Harriet Cains (“Philipa Featherington”), Polly Walker (“Lady Portia Featherington”), Ben Miller (“Lord Featherington”), Sabrina Bartlett (“Siena Rosso”), Martins Imhangbe (“Will Mondrich”), Kathryn Drysdale (“Madame Genevieve Delacroix”) and Lorraine Ashbourne (“Mrs. Varley”).
Van Dusen executive produces with Shondaland’s Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers.