‘Bridgerton’ Season 3 Showrunner Unpacks Polin Part 1, Teases Part 2

[This story contains major spoilers from Bridgerton season three, Part 1.]

Bridgerton‘s third season has hit the ton, and the ultimate moments of the Half 1 launch may have followers of the ebook and present alike on the sting of their seats, awaiting what comes next in Half 2.

4 episodes (and two seasons) of romantic buildup on the Netflix interval drama between Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) culminates within the well-known carriage scene from Julia Quinn’s novel Romancing Mr. Bridgerton‘s (of which this season relies), the place the 2 interact in a steamy makeout scene and make it to second base.

Earlier than they comprehend it, the carriage arrives on the Bridgerton household home, they usually want a second to determine what to do. Colin steps out of the carriage and extends his hand towards Penelope. “Are you coming with me?” he asks. “What? Your loved ones will see me,” she responds. “For God’s sake, Penelope Featherington. Are you going to marry me or not?” he says, because the episode cuts to black.

Whereas the ultimate moments make it appear that these two are headed for his or her fortunately ever after, it seemingly received’t be simple for them to get there, contemplating Penelope’s huge secret that she is Woman Whistledown (the nameless city gossip who’s voiced by Julie Andrews). On the finish of the second season, Pen’s longtime finest good friend, Eloise (Claudia Jessie), learned that she is the infamous gossip columnist, resulting in the 2 associates having a large falling out. Their fractured friendship, and Eloise and Colin’s shut sibling relationship, will play a component in Polin’s endgame.

“It actually will get tougher to maintain a secret as quickly as one individual is aware of, and now Eloise is aware of,” Bridgerton season three showrunner Jess Brownell tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I believe there’s additionally part of Penelope, who in her journey towards moving into the sunshine, needs Colin to know her full self. And I believe she is aware of that till he is aware of she’s Whistledown, she will be able to by no means be absolutely seen by him.”

Under, Brownell opens up about how Eloise will play a component in Colin and Penelope’s relationship, what floor she determined to cowl within the break up season, if she’s going to proceed to take the collection in a different order than the books and extra.

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington with Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in season three of Bridgerton.

Liam Daniel/Netflix


Wow, I used to be not anticipating Penelope and Colin to get to that time within the first half! However, I’m right here for it. What are you able to tease about what’s to return for them partially two?

So, the primary half is pure rom-com vibes. We construct to the carriage second, and what we’re heading into is a very completely different world. Mainly, what you continue to have hanging over this couple is Penelope’s Whistledown secret and the truth that Eloise has no concept that these two have emotions for one another. So there’s going to be an actual heightened quantity of rigidity within the again half.

One thing that lots of people have been questioning is what was behind the choice to do Polin’s story in season three as a substitute of Benedict (Luke Thompson), because it was within the ebook order?

Speaking concerning the ebook order was one of many first conversations Shonda [Rhimes, creator] and I had after I stepped into the showrunner function, and we each mutually agreed that we’ve now watched Penelope and Colin for 2 seasons. We’re invested in them, and we had been each additionally rising weary of the dynamic the place Colin has no concept that Pen has emotions for him. So, it felt prefer it was the suitable time to lean into what’s occurring between them and spin it in a brand new path.

In that very same vein, how a lot artistic license did you absorb adapting the present from a novel that already exists?

So after we began the writers room, we spent the primary week speaking concerning the ebook and what moments from the ebook we actually wish to see within the present. And the reality is, many of the key parts from the ebook are on this season, they only aren’t essentially in the identical order or involving the identical folks.

In these conversations, have you ever all determined if Benedict’s story can be in season 4 or should you’re going to exit of order transferring ahead?

It’s potential that we’ll proceed to exit of order. I’m actually enthusiastic about Benedict’s journey in season three. It felt prefer it was too early to have him settled down. He’s such a passionate character, and we needed him to go on a number of extra adventures earlier than we get to his season.

That was one thing I assumed was tremendous attention-grabbing about Half One. We see him begin this situationship with Woman Arnold. What went into that call?

Benedict is somebody who exists between two worlds. He doesn’t fairly really feel at house in society, however he additionally by no means fairly slot in within the demi-monde or within the artwork world. He doesn’t actually know what his place on this planet is. And when he meets Tilley, she’s a fantastic instance of somebody who’s found out find out how to straddle a number of worlds. She could be very a lot of society, however she’s additionally utilizing the liberty she has from being a widow to interrupt the principles somewhat bit. So he’s studying quite a bit from her about find out how to break the principles, what guidelines you’ll be able to break, which guidelines you shouldn’t break. And I believe by the tip of the season, he’s going to know much more about what he needs out of life and the place he belongs.

Hannah New as Woman Tilley Arnold with Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

One other widow who could also be partaking in some form of relationship was Woman Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell). We see her interact in some flirtations with Marcus Anderson (Daniel Francis). What are you able to say about that? I simply noticed a loopy Reddit concept that they’re really half-siblings.

That’s a enjoyable one. (Laughs.) I hope not, based mostly on a number of the issues we’ve deliberate for them. It was necessary to us to honor the truth that whereas Violet’s [Ruth Gemmell] kids are immensely necessary to her, she has her personal internal world, and he or she doesn’t exist solely to nurture her kids. Shonda arrange a fantastic thread within the Queen Charlotte spinoff about Violet wanting her backyard watered, and we needed to select up on that on this season and see Violet begin flirting with flirting. However she’s somebody who’s going to maneuver extraordinarily slowly. She has waited all this time after her husband died to even dip her toe within the waters of being interested in another person. So it’s going to be a gradual burn.

Now that you simply talked about Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, what different threads from the spinoff are you hoping to observe by on on this season and future seasons?

I’m actually grateful to Shonda for offering this further depth within the backstories that she created for Violet, Woman Danbury and Queen Charlotte. We’re selecting up on all of these threads in season three. Probably the most useful thread was actually about Woman Danbury’s connection to the Bridgertons. Within the first two seasons, Woman Danbury has comprehensible causes for tying herself to the Bridgertons. She’s very concerned with Simon after which she’s very concerned with the Sharmas, however as we bought to season three, we began questioning, “Is she simply at all times going to be concerned with the Bridgertons, and like why?” So the spinoff, I believe, gives a believable emotional motive why this household means a lot to her.

Completely. You talked about earlier that the large secret between Colin and Penelope is that she is Woman Whistledown. Within the first episode of this season, Colin says he’s going to damage Whistledown’s life if he ever finds out who she is. What are you able to inform us about what’s going to occur between these two when he finds out? Or, if he finds out.

He could discover out. I imply, it actually will get tougher to maintain a secret as quickly as one individual is aware of, and now Eloise is aware of. I believe there’s additionally part of Penelope, who in her journey towards moving into the sunshine, needs Colin to know her full self. And I believe she is aware of that till he is aware of she’s Whistledown, she will be able to by no means be absolutely seen by him.

I additionally suppose what can be coming to play within the again half is the truth that Colin additionally fancies himself a author in sure methods. He and Penelope for a few years have been writing one another letters each time he travels. And this final summer time when he went away, Penelope wasn’t responding to his letters. So, I believe in that absence, Colin turned to writing a journey diary, and that’s a thread that we’ll decide up on once more within the again half. And naturally, there’s implicit battle in the truth that right here you will have Colin who is actually struggling to ascertain himself as a author. Little does he know his spouse is that this extremely prolific and gifted author. In order that’s one thing that maybe he should grapple with.

I used to be stunned to see the sexual rigidity between them rising so early on within the season. How did you determine what to save lots of for the second half?

Once we sketched out the season early on, we knew that getting them to the purpose the place they’re about to get collectively on the midpoint actually made sense. I consider the primary half of the season as being about Penelope moving into her personal, and Colin having to earn her. The again half turns into way more, as we talked about, concerning the Whistledown secret and about Eloise. So, as soon as we made that distinction, it was fairly clear what wanted to go the place.

Talking of Eloise, between the tip of season two and the start of season three, she builds this friendship with Cressida (Jessica Madsen). Discuss to me somewhat bit about that. How did that come to be? What made you wish to go in that path?

Eloise, after final season, has misplaced a little bit of her struggle. She had this big breakup with Penelope, and he or she additionally was actually disenchanted by the state of affairs with Theo and practically bought herself and her household in huge hassle. So I believe her perspective on the prime of the season is: should you can’t beat them, be part of them. And Cressida is the epitome of that. It’s an unlikely friendship, however I really suppose each of them are rebellious in sure methods, and we’re seeing a brand new aspect from Cressida. She’s somebody who’s been on the wedding mart now for 2, three seasons, and so she’s beginning to query her personal place in society and is opening up and changing into a bit extra weak this yr.

Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper with Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Over the course of those first 4 episodes, Penelope and Eloise nonetheless aren’t in a great place. However issues appear to be getting mildly higher. Why did you determine to go away extra of the concentrate on them for the second half?

I believe within the first half, Eloise felt very strongly about making a distance from Penelope, and that was actually fertile floor for us creatively, as a result of each of those characters have actually relied on one another for 2 seasons, and we needed to see what development might come from every of them individually with out the security blanket of getting their finest good friend round on a regular basis. By the point we get to the again half although, they’re on way more of a collision course, as a result of there’s the state of affairs with Colin and Penelope. So, issues turn out to be a bit extra head-on at that time.

Eloise and Colin have at all times had a particular relationship, the place they’re nearer than a few of their siblings. I do know you’ll be able to’t spoil what comes subsequent for them and Penelope, however do you see a world by which Penelope and Eloise don’t remedy their points?

Something might occur. I believe their friendship could be very a lot the secondary love story of the season. And whereas it was necessary for us to see what development might occur from every of them whereas they had been separate, we’re very invested in pleased endings. So, what precisely that appears like, I’ll go away to be seen.

Lord Debling (Sam Phillips) was a giant a part of these episodes. There was by no means a world the place Penelope and Colin wouldn’t find yourself collectively, however how a lot did you wish to put into the Penelope and Lord Debling storyline?

It was necessary to me to create a viable romantic various, or else it might really feel like we had been simply going by the motions. In actual fact, in a unique world, Debling is a good choice for Penelope. He’s somebody who is kind of eccentric however somebody who owns the truth that he’s completely different, and Penelope might actually be taught from that when it comes to proudly owning who you might be, loving who you might be. So I believe his energy and his confidence are very interesting qualities however in the end having years of friendship with somebody and years of emotions with somebody is actually onerous to trump.

Coughlan as Penelope with Sam Phillips as Lord Debling.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Each season has had an ensemble forged, however these first 4 episodes felt much more so. What made you wish to go in that path and present these completely different romances probably occurring on the identical time?

Shonda and I discuss quite a bit about how the world of the present is the wedding market. It’s type of just like the office of the present. And the debutantes are going to work on the balls. And so I believe centering as a lot of the motion across the marriage mart made plenty of sense, and helps the aspect tales really feel like they’ve significance and have weight.

So many individuals cherished Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate (Simone Ashley) final season, they usually’re again briefly partially one. How did you go about giving followers what they need by bringing Anthony and Kate again, but additionally specializing in this different story that followers are actually enthusiastic about between Colin and Penelope?

So, clearly, we convey Anthony and Kate again on the prime of half one after which ship them off once more. We undoubtedly needed to examine in with them once more, as a result of I really feel like their pleased ending was so hard-fought in season two. So, we felt like they deserved a while to only exist inside their love bubble. Sending them away additionally felt proper as a result of if we had stored them within the present too usually, it felt like we must create some battle between them, and we didn’t actually wish to do this once more. However they’re again for extra within the again half they usually have some key roles to play with the ace story. In order that’ll be a enjoyable one for folks to see.

Did which have something to do with Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey’s busy schedules, or was it extra so a artistic choice?

A little bit little bit of each. I believe that mutually it made sense to have them in a extra restricted function within the season in order that we might foreground Penelope and Colin, and likewise we needed to offer them each the prospect to make good on the unimaginable platform that they’ve earned for themselves popping out of season two.

Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma in episode considered one of Bridgerton season three.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

One of many issues I like about Bridgerton — and I’m positive loads of folks do — is the acoustic variations of all these common songs. There’s “Happier Than Ever” and “Snow on the Seashore.” There have been plenty of songs I acknowledged, but additionally didn’t absolutely acknowledge. How do you determine which songs to make use of, and the way do you get the rights to make use of them?

I’ll say, this season as a result of it’s leaning extra into the rom-com sensibility and has at its coronary heart a really robust lady, it felt proper to incorporate some pop anthems from some actually robust ladies. So that you’ll see Taylor Swift. You’ll see Demi Lovato. You’ll see Billie Eilish, and so forth. However after we’re selecting songs, we expect quite a bit about what’s gonna make folks lean in and go, “What’s that tune?” Versus what’s immediately going to be recognizable and take folks too rapidly out of the present. We wish to tiptoe that line as a lot as we are able to.

The present has been renewed for season four. What are your plans for it and past you could share?

Effectively, ought to we run so long as I hope, I do have a map in my head of the place I’d wish to go over the subsequent few seasons, which is necessary for us to pay attention to in order that we don’t burn by an excessive amount of story and in order that we are able to adequately beat out characters journeys. The place we’re going I can’t say precisely but, however we’re in the course of season 4, and I’m so thrilled to finally have the ability to share what we’re engaged on.

We see Queen Charlotte battle to call a diamond after she did in season two, and it didn’t pan out. Now Francesca (Hannah Dodd) has two potential suitors. It’s clear the queen needs her to go in a single path, however she could also be all in favour of one other, which her mom helps. Discuss to me somewhat bit about Francesca’s journey.

Francesca was a very enjoyable character to flesh out this season, as a result of she’s so completely different from her siblings. She’s extremely introverted and never practically as snug in social conditions or within the marriage mart as her siblings. So the truth that she is so reticent actually throws Violet for a loop. Violet isn’t fairly positive find out how to father or mother this youngster, and also you’re proper that Violet very a lot needs Francesca to pursue love greater than standing. So when she sees a little bit of a spark in Francesca in direction of John [Stirling, played by Victor Alli], I believe she’s inspired however, as a result of Francesca has led with a lot practicality, she’s nonetheless undecided precisely what Francesca feels. Fairly frankly, I’m undecided Francesca is kind of positive precisely what she feels. She’s not somebody who I believe even has had many associates. I believe she spent a lot time on her personal in Tub, taking part in the piano at her aunt’s home. So she’s actually determining find out how to navigate her feelings and what they imply.

Ruth Gemmell as Woman Violet Bridgerton with Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton.


On this season, there are three Bridgertons on the wedding mart — Francesca, Eloise and, unexpectedly, Colin. Balancing all of that should have been attention-grabbing.

We had been usually feeling like Violet had too many locations to be in, as a result of she’s additionally bought her personal love pursuits clearly this season. So, we actually needed to be considered about the place we used her. I imply, I might be pleased to make use of Ruth Gemmell in each scene if I might. She’s so gifted. However I believe, on the Colin story, we pulled again on her just a bit bit, which ended up feeling right. I believe she as a mom is sensible to understand that Colin doesn’t need to be guided so instantly. He simply wants delicate nudges in the suitable path.

Nicola Coughlan not too long ago made headlines for saying that she has a rider in her contract that requires a PG-version of this season to be made for her mother and father. What was your response to that request?

I completely get it. I might need the identical factor. Completely. I imply, I believe the fast-forward button can be shut at hand. I imagined when and if she watches it together with her mother and father.

[Editor’s note: Nicola Coughlan revealed to THR at the Bridgerton premiere that Netfix actually told her she didn’t have that clause in her contract, so she joked she must have made it up.]

There have been rumblings that Penelope and Colin’s intimacy scenes are even steamier than a number of the ones in earlier seasons.

They’ve been eager for one another for years. It’s so pent-up, so I believe it’s well-deserved.

Luke Newton’s look on the first Bridgerton season three screening in February led to numerous memes about how the lads on this present endure some type of boot camp earlier than their main seasons. Is there something like that or trend you all take into accounts earlier than a brand new Bridgerton sibling takes middle stage?

When characters are extra within the background earlier than we get to their main season, we’re considerate about leaving room for them to glow up each bodily and emotionally. So, Colin’s been carrying all these pastel colours in seasons one and two, and it was fairly simple… You place him in darker garments, it does quite a bit for him wanting way more grown and mature. However there’s no boot camp. I believe we actually attempt to simply concentrate on character, and there’s some magical sprinkle that occurs, undoubtedly, however I believe it’s plenty of simply what the actors are naturally bringing frankly.

Followers are excited for these new romantic characters, in order that they maybe see them in a extra romantic means than they did beforehand.

Completely. I’ll say that Erika Ökvist, who’s our hair and make-up head, she’s actually intelligent about the way in which you’ll be able to form eyebrows and sideburns to utterly change the dynamics of a face. So I believe in earlier seasons, we’ve emphasised a extra cherubic look in Colin’s face to make him look youthful. Whereas this season, the sideburns and the eyebrows create like a way more naturally chiseled look, so there perhaps is sort of a tiny boot camp.

Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton.

Courtesy of Liam Daniel/Netflix

He feels extra grown and grownup, and perhaps that helps too.

Completely. He’s bought a complete new perspective. That’s a key, I believe, to understanding Colin this season as a result of whereas he comes again with real confidence, I believe it’s necessary to keep in mind that anytime somebody reveals up with a complete new character, they’re in all probability denying one other a part of themselves. And so his arc in plenty of methods is about merging the 2 cells, the delicate, weak man with the naturally assured man and moving into his authenticity.

You’ve labored on reveals like Scandal and Gray’s Anatomy, which have had their very own justifiable share of romance. What have you ever realized from these reveals that you simply’ve dropped at being a showrunner?

The factor that Shondaland reveals excel at is discovering explanation why a predominant couple can’t be collectively. I believe that battle is actually central to creating longing and creating rigidity in a romantic story. So usually, within the modern-day, there are much less and fewer explanation why folks can’t get collectively, and that’s a great factor, clearly, in actual life. However dramatically, it doesn’t work as properly. I’ve seen plenty of rom-coms the place they contrive that the primary characters simply actually don’t like one another, and oftentimes, the explanations appear type of slim, and also you’re like, “Yeah, proper. Like they’re clearly attracted to one another.” The truth that they’re performing like they don’t wish to be collectively, you don’t purchase in.

On Scandal, it was the truth that she was in love with the president, who’s married. That’s a fantastic battle. On Gray’s Anatomy, it’s the truth that Meredith has a one-night stand with somebody who seems to be her boss, who additionally seems to be form of married. So one other nice battle. And that’s one thing that on this season, we’ve actually tried to channel. Penelope listening to what she heard Colin say is a good motive for her to disclaim being with him, and for Colin’s half, it was about actually diving into the truth that he has this sense of the way in which he’s perceived publicly. And so he has to type of recover from that and notice that, in actual fact, Penelope is an superior individual to be with.

Half 1 of Bridgerton season three is now streaming on Netflix. Half 2 launches with 4 episodes on June 13.

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