As for who will return in Season 2, fans assume the full Bridgerton family will be back, including Francesca, who spent nearly all of Season 1 offscreen. The Featheringtons (minus their late father) are also poised to come back; after all, Portia still has two more daughters to marry off. With Rupert Young (Merlin) cast in a "major new role" on the series, could the Featheringtons have a new man in their lives?
But the big update is Anthony's new love interest now that Siena seems to have shown him the door. On Feb. 15, 2021, Netflix revealed Season 2's leading love interest for the eldest Bridgerton sibling, Kate, will be played by Simone Ashley. Ashley is best known on this side of the pond for Netflix's Sex Education, on which she plays Olivia, one of the school's "Untouchables." According to Deadline, her character, Kate Sharma, will be "newly arrived" in London starting in Season 2. In April, Deadline reported her younger sister, Edwina, will be played by newcomer Charithra Chandran. Their mother, Lady Mary, will be played by Shelley Conn (Liar).
Along with these additions also comes Calam Lynch, who fans will know from Derry Girls. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he's playing Theo Sharpe, a hardworking printer's assistant who turns out to be another unlikely love interest for one of the characters.
Another newcomer on the show will be Charmed star Rupert Evans, who will play the late father of the Bridgerton children, Edmund Bridgerton. Deadline announced Evans would be joining the cast on May 28. For a refresher, in the books, Edmund passed away at 38 from an allergic reaction to a bee sting, which forced Anthony to become viscount at 18. It’s clear that Evans will appear as Edmund in flashbacks (probably in Anthony’s memories). If that’s the case, fans will likely get a glimpse at young Violet as well. (Violet’s younger self will also appear in the young Queen Charlotte limited series.)
Evans tweeted on May 28, joking, “If it’s in @deadline then it’s happening.” It appears Evans’ Edmund Bridgerton is currently only slated for one episode of Season 2.
But with additions come subtractions. The biggest is Regé-Jean Page, who will not be back to play Simon in Season 2. As devastating as this departure is, it kinda makes sense if you look at the source material. The books tend to focus directly on the Bridgerton siblings, with their love interests only appearing in the novels in which they marry into the family. The Netflix series has changed that up in a few places, but Page's exit suggests that, overall, it plans to stick to that format.
As for other departures, the queen's nephew, Prince Friedrich, will probably stay in Prussia, since he didn't marry Daphne. And then there's Colin, who declared he would be going overseas. Could he be next season's Francesca, spending almost the whole season abroad?