While the first season of “Bridgerton” was only eight episodes long, it packed in a lot of drama, scandal, love and plenty of gossip. The Shondaland Netflix series took full advantage of Julia Quinn’s best-selling novels about 1800s London society and brought the Regency era back to life in a captivating and fantastic way, as it told the story of Daphne and the Duke’s first encounter and eventual affair, the Bridgerton boys’ inability to find love in the right places, the Featherington family’s desperate attempts to maintain their status in society, and the truth behind the most scandalous of them all, Lady Whistledown.
With Season 1 behind them, creator Chris Van Dusen and the cast opened up to ET’s Leanne Aguilera about what they’re most excited to see happen when the steamy series returns to Netflix for a second season. Warning: Spoilers abound.
“I think there is a deep well of story for us to explore on ‘Bridgerton’,” Van Dusen says. “We have an amazing sprawling cast of characters and amazing cast and that provides us opportunities to explore all kinds of stories for all these characters. And I think for Lady Whistledown specifically, it’s going to be really interesting for us to be able to play in that world now that we know who Lady Whistledown is.”
He adds, “It’s going to be interesting to see how Penelope comes into her power.” (For more on the truth behind the mysterious gossip writer and why they revealed it in season 1, check out this deeper dive with Van Dusen and actress Nicola Coughlan.)
While audiences know who Lady Whistledown is, no one else knows, especially Penelope’s best friend, Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie). What happens with them remains to be seen. But both actresses are excited for Eloise to finally make her debut in society.
“I keep selfishly getting really excited for Eloise’s debut into society because both, in real life and in fiction, I would have a friend at the balls,” Coughlan says, wanting to spend more time on set with her co-star. “Because sometimes shooting those scenes, the balls, can take three or four days to film because they’re so epic. But no one speaks to [Penelope], so I could just be stuck on my own really lonely like, ‘This sucks; this is terrible.’ So, having your bestie there — that’s the dream. That’s the thing for me.”
After Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) made a successful debut and was eventually paired off with the Duke of Hastings (Rege-Jean Page), Eloise is next in line.
Meanwhile, Jessie jokes that she and her character share a similar stance on balls and choreographed dancing. “So, I mean that might work in my favour because Eloise wouldn’t be massively into it and that’s a great thing because I don’t think I’m highly skilled in that area,” she says. “But I’m excited for Eloise to have her debut in a way that Eloise would have it, which I think is going to shake things up and not play by the rules.”
While Eloise has more events in her future, Daphne and the Duke have far more pressing things to worry about. After getting married — and overcoming some major obstacles early on — the two are passionately in love and welcomed a baby at the end of season 1.
“One of the things that I love [is that] they get married so young to begin with and I think that’s one of the most important things about the idea of the happy ending is that it doesn’t end there,” Page says, adding that even though they seem like they’re in a happy place, there still may be challenges that lie ahead.
“Love is a continuous process. It needs tending, it needs work, it needs, it gets tested and I think that if we carry that story forward it would be about, it should be about showing the true strength of this is in how it continues to work and grow and evolve,” he continues. “It’s a living thing that you’ve got to feed and move and grow with. So I think that could be very exciting seeing how you can strain that and still come out with something even stronger.”
For Dynevor, “I think you start to see what Daphne’s like at the end of the season as a married woman and what her interests are and her sort of come into her own.” She adds “that’ll be interesting to see how she evolves from that space,” especially as she goes from debutante to young bride to new mother.
And while season 1 mostly focused on Daphne, especially as the eldest daughter making her debut into society, Van Dusen reminds us “that there are eight Bridgerton books. We know that there are eight Bridgerton siblings. And in success, I would love to be able to explore stories and romances for all the Bridgerton children. Anthony, of course, included.”
Speaking of Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), after spending all season getting together and breaking up with Siena Rosso (Sabrina Bartlett), things are officially done between them. Was it Anthony’s one chance at true love?
Well, readers of the books know that there’s another woman, Kate Sheffield, who may shake things up for this determined bachelor. “There’s a Kate out there for everyone. Let’s just put it that way and have to trust that love exists for all of us,” Bailey says, unwilling to confirm if Season 2 will indeed mark the introduction of the potential love interest now that Siena is done for good.
As for what Anthony faces in Season 2, Bailey hopes to see the character grow into himself, gain some self-esteem and be kinder to himself. “I sort of feel really sorry for him,” the actor says. “I think he means really well. No doubt that he’ll still be there to try to protect people in the way that he does and probably fail miserably. But yeah, we need to see him smiling.”
Bailey also has a few style suggestions as well: “I think bigger hair, longer mutton chops and hopefully get him on the dance floor.”
While there are plenty more cliffhangers, loose ends, and potential for new and unexpected twists in Season 2, Van Dusen says, “I love the ending of the first season.”
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