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6 Big Clues Bridgerton Season 3 Won't Be About Benedict After All

Here for Colin's moment, TBH.

Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

Bridgerton Seasons 1 and 2 were loyal to the Julia Quinn novels on which the Netflix series is based — except when they weren’t. Season 1 radically changed some surrounding details, but the central romance stuck faithfully to the first book in the novel series. Season 2 focused on Anthony’s predicament the same way Book 2 does, but it drastically altered the pacing of the central romance. Now, fans are starting to suspect Bridgerton Seasons 3 and 4 may upend all expectations, possibly skip[ing Book 3 altogether. And while fans of the books may feel some type of way about this, it’s hard to deny all the clues that Bridgerton Season 3 will be about Colin and Penelope instead of Book 3’s protagonist.

Warning: Spoilers for the Bridgerton book series follow, along with Seasons 1 and 2. Before getting into the clues, here’s a bit of background: Season 1 covered Book 1, The Duke and I. The Netflix adaptation added secondary stories for Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Eloise, and Penelope to make the show more of an ensemble — and Queen Charlotte was a wholly added character. But Daphne and Simon’s romance stuck closely to the book. Season 2 covered Book 2, The Viscount Who Loved Me. Not only were the stories for Benedict, Colin, Eloise, and Penelope added in (and largely pulled from future books), but also, the show turned Anthony’s straightforward marriage to Kate into a love triangle with Edwina.

For the most part, fans assumed Seasons 3 and 4, would adapt Books 3 and 4, An Offer From a Gentleman (Benedict’s story) and Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Colin’s story), respectively. In Book 3, Benedict falls in love with an earl’s bastard daughter who works as a lady’s maid, while Book 4 is when Colin finally realizes he loves Penelope, years after she gave up on him. Moreover, Book 4, Book 5 (Eloise’s To Sir Phillip With Love), and Book 6 (Francesca’s When He Was Wicked) form a trilogy and happen concurrently, with plots that intertwine.

Bascially, there’s a lot of mess that Bridgerton has to sort through in its upcoming seasons, and for that reason, fans think Season 3 will simplify it a bit by going straight to Colin’s story. Here are some more clues to back this theory up.

01

The Cast Has Hinted Colin & Penelope Are Next

Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

The first significant clue changes are coming came from Simone Ashley, who played Kate in Season 2. Since Regé-Jean Page left after Season 1 covered his romance with Daphne, fans have been wondering if Ashley would share the same fate since her romance with Anthony is complete, or if she’ll be back for Season 3. In an interview with E!, Ashley said she hopes to return... because she’s “super excited for the world to see Nicola and Luke rock it,” seemingly referencing the actors who play Colin and Penelope, not Luke Thompson, who plays Benedict.

02

The Showrunner Hinted It Too

Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

The second clue came from Chris Van Dusen, the showrunner for Seasons 1 and 2. When asked about the future of the show, he too focused on Book 4. “We did a lot of work in these first two seasons as far as setting up Penelope and Colin's love story,” he told E!, notably skipping over Benedict’s backstory. Now, fans should note he is not the showrunner to Seasons 3 and 4; his duties are moving to another Shondaland show, while Scandal writer Jess Brownell is taking over Bridgerton. Still, he’s probs pretty in the know about what’s to come.

03

The First Two Seasons Set The Stage For Colin & Penelope’s Story

Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

Another major reason fans are starting to suspect Colin’s romance is coming sooner rather than later: the show’s focus on Colin and Penelope. Although Benedict has ex-girlfriends and a stint at an art academy, his story has nothing on what the show has already set up for #Polin. Her unrequited love for him had been a significant subplot since the first season’s premiere and a throughline in both seasons. Season 2 ended with her overhearing Colin thoughtlessly bashing her to his friends, so it seems like the show is ready for Colin to realize the perfect woman has been there waiting for him the whole time.

04

Benedict’s Story Happens Away From His Family

Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

One big clue about the potential Season 3 switch-up is how Benedict’s story is structured in the books. The first half is set in London in 1815, when he meets Sophie, a lady’s maid in disguise, at a ball. But then the story jumps forward three years to 1818, which is when the majority of the love story happens. Moreover, the second half of Benedict’s story doesn’t even take place in London. It occurs in the English countryside, away from his family, on the estate where Sophie works. That simply won’t do for the series, which has made the goings-on in London a significant focus. By pairing Benedict with Colin and Penelope, the show would have a reason to keep part of the focus on London and the other Bridgertons.

However! That doesn’t necessarily mean Benedict will get the short end of the stick. It’s possible Season 3 will tell Colin and Benedict’s stories simultaneously, allowing them to share a season.

05

Queen Charlotte Is Too Important To Lose

Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

The other major clue that the show will change up the book’s timeline is how much Seasons 1 and 2 have emphasized Queen Charlotte as the grand dame of the ton. The books do not include Queen Charlotte at all — her presence and influences on Bridgerton’s love stories are totally made up. Since the books don’t include her, the end of her reign (and the Regency Period in 1820) have no bearing on the stories told in the books. For example, the books skip from 1815 to 1818 in Book 3, to 1825/1826 in Books 4 through 6, to 1829/1830 for the final love stories of Hyacinth and Gregory — without ever addressing the political and social changes that came with George IV’s reign.

But Queen Charlotte is a huge character in the series. The show is practically unimaginable without her, which means skipping ahead to 1825 is basically unthinkable. In order to keep her around to tell the younger Bridgertons’ stories, the show basically needs to collapse the timeline and bring the Colin-Eloise-Francesca stories — maybe even Gregory and Hyacinth too — within the bounds of the decade at hand. The easiest way to do that is to move up Colin’s love story to coincide with Benedict’s in Season 3 and focus on Eloise and Francesca in Season 4.

06

Lady Whistledown Was Revealed Way Earlier In The Show Than In The Books

Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

And finally, there’s the Lady Whistledown conundrum. Since there’s no Queen Charlotte in the novels, there’s no one hunting for Lady Whistledown the way there is in the show until Book 4, when Lady Danbury offers a reward for information on her. When Penelope is revealed to the reader as the gossip scribe in Book 4, it’s not a dramatic cliffhanger or emotional unmasking by Eloise. Instead, Colin finds out, and his response is mainly to be jealous she has a purpose in life while he does not. In fact, Eloise barely mentions it, and it all gets pushed to the side when Colin asks Penelope to marry him anyway.

The show has already fundamentally changed all that. For the series to suddenly skip five years to a post-Queen Charlotte world makes no sense, since unmasking Whistledown/Penelope to her family and the Queen is presumably part of the show’s endgame. The most practical solution is moving up her romance with Colin and their marriage to Season 3, leaving Season 4 for the denouement.

Bridgerton Seasons 1 and 2 are now streaming on Netflix. Seasons 3 and 4 are coming.