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‘Bridgerton’ Season 3 Introduces John Stirling’s Cousin Michaela Ahead of Francesca’s Season

Bridgerton Season 3 Introduces John Stirling Cousin Michaela Ahead of Francesca Season

Bridgerton explored another major departure from the book series while potentially hinting at the show’s season 4 lead.

The conclusion to the third season, which started streaming on Thursday, June 13, featured a cameo from John Stirling’s (Victor Alli) cousin Michaela (Masali Baduza). After Francesca (Hannah Dodd) and John got married, they made plans to move to his home in Scotland. They were joined on their travels by Francesca’s sister Eloise (Claudia Jessie) and John’s cousin, whose gender was swapped from the original character named Michael.

“Dearest Gentle Reader, I find myself suddenly at a loss for words,” Lady Whistledown (Julie Andrews) said in a voiceover as Francesca appeared visibly tongue-tied the minute she met Michaela. This interaction quickly intrigued fans who questioned whether it was a setup for a potential romance down the line.

Fans have been eagerly searching for clues about which Bridgerton sibling is at the center of season 4. Based on a book series by Julia Quinn, Bridgerton has a different main character in each book as it follows the members of the wealthy Bridgerton family in their respective searches for love in 19th century London.

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Bridgerton, which debuted in 2020, focused its first season on Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon (Regé-Jean Page). Meanwhile, season 2 turned the tables on Daphne’s brother Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) as he found love with Kate (Simone Ashley).

Bridgerton Season 3 Introduces John Stirling Cousin Michaela Ahead of Francesca Season 2

Season 3 was Colin’s (Luke Newton) time to shine as he realized his feelings for family friend Penelope (Nicola Coughlan), which took inspiration from Quinn’s novel Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. The season was different in that it was the first time the show didn’t follow book order since Benedict — and his love interest Sophie — were the focus of the third novel, An Offer From a Gentleman.

Thompson, however, wasn’t bothered by the fact that Benedict’s story was delayed.

“It’d be nice to give the character a full exploration, that’d be really fun, but the way the show runs — it’s a big ensemble show,” he told Country and Town House in May. “As long as I’m given interesting things to do, I don’t really mind.”

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Even though Benedict was presumed to be next in line, season 3 also introduced Francesca as a potential contender. Francesca’s debut into society meant she met John (Victor Alli) and book fans were well aware that he would be her first husband. After (spoiler alert!) John’s shocking death, Francesca found love again with John’s cousin, according to Quinn’s novel When He Was Wicked. Going by how quickly Francesca and John found themselves married in season 3 — and how soon Michaela was introduced to the audience — it seems even more likely that Francesca is next.

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Eloise was also potentially in the running except she didn’t have any interactions with her love interest — Phillip Crane (Chris Fulton) — during season 3. Showrunner Jess Brownell teased the next season for fans before the third installment came to an end.

“I am really not trying to shake things up too much. I really believe in the vision of the show,” Brownell told Refinery29 in April. “I really want to serve the stories and the books the best way possible. It just naturally felt like, for Penelope and Colin, it made sense to lean into a romantic comedy tropes. So this season does have a bit more humor in it and it has the awkward banter. So that’s something that will feel slightly elevated in terms of being different from last season.”

Brownell said season 3 would hint at who the next lead would be, telling TV Insider that same month, “I won’t give you anything, but I do think that there are some clues at the end of Season 3 of where we’re headed. So yeah, I leave that to fans to pick apart, but I think we’re tipping our hand just a little bit.”

Bridgerton is currently streaming on Netflix.

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