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Bridgerton’s Burning Questions Answered Before Season 4: From LGBTQIA+ Representation to Future Story Lines

Bridgerton Burning Questions Answered After Surprising Story Line Changes
Liam Daniel/Netflix

Bridgerton season 3 just came to an end — and Us has already compiled answers to the biggest questions about the show.

The third installment pulled inspiration from Julia Quinn’s book Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, which focused on Colin (Luke Newton) and Penelope’s (Nicola Coughlan) love story. After getting engaged, the fictional couple faced some ups and downs before starting their life together.

Other couples highlighted in the new episodes included Kate (Simone Ashley) and Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) as they enjoyed their marital bliss. Meanwhile, Francesca (Hannah Dodd) appeared to find love with John Stirling (Victor Alli). The pair got married before the season came to an end but in a last minute twist, Francesca met John’s cousin, whom she will marry in the future, according to Quinn’s When He Was Wicked.

Fans were expecting John’s cousin to be Michael, so imagine their surprise when Michaela (Masali Baduza) introduced herself to Francesca, who immediately appeared smitten. Francesca’s brother Benedict (Luke Thompson) also had a personal awakening when he explored his potential sexual interest in men by engaging in a threesome.

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Showrunner Jess Brownell teased where Benedict’s arc goes from here, telling The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday, June 13, “Benedict’s sexual identity is not a fixed belief for him. In modern terms, he might be described as pansexual, someone for whom gender doesn’t really matter. We’ve talked a lot about Benedict’s fluidity since season 1, and I know that it’s something that people picked up on, and it’s something that we wanted to make a stance on and make clear about the character. Because I do think that he’s a character who would naturally be more about connection than he would be about gender.”

Brownell also weighed in on fans who wanted to see Eloise (Claudia Jessie) end up with a woman instead of Francesca. (Eloise’s love interest based on To Sir Phillip, With Love is meant to be Phillip.)

“I absolutely understand why people have thought that about Eloise. When we talked about it in the room, we felt like it was powerful actually that Eloise’s resistance to romance isn’t about her not having discovered the right gender so much as it is an authentic representation of the fact that she’s more interested in cerebral pursuits at this stage of her life,” she continued. “I wanted to hold space for that because not every young woman is solely interested in romance. That’s not to say that Eloise won’t open up to love in the future, but for now, that’s I think, where she’s at.”

Keep scrolling for answers to some of our biggest Bridgerton season 3 questions:

Where Do Eloise and Benedict Go From Here — and Is Either of Them the Next Lead?

Bridgerton Season 3 Ending Explained Did Penelope and Colin Get Married Where Do Other Couples Stand
Liam Daniel/Netflix

Season 3 ended with Eloise going with Francesca to John’s home in Scotland. Brownell wouldn’t reveal whether that would lead to her getting in contact with Phillip since they are meant to start off as pen pals.

“I can neither confirm nor deny,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “I can say that I think Eloise is hopeful to learn more about the great big world, but she might not realize just how isolated they’re going to be at Kilmartin Castle. So there’s a chance her only friends will be sheep.”

Brownell elaborated on her vision for Eloise, telling THR, “Eloise is in a tough position because she’s so different from all of the other young ladies in the ton, and I think it’s difficult for her to figure out her path in life. And so we’re continuing that. Going into season four, she’s going to be on that journey, and there’s more to come.”

The screenwriter has similar plans for Benedict’s growth.

“I think we’re going to continue on the storyline of Benedict learning exactly how he wants to exist in the world,” she continued during the interview with THR. “I think Benedict is someone who experiences a lot of breadths in his life in terms of a million different experiences, but he’s never really committed to anything. I think what he’s starting to realize is that he also craves depth, and so Benedict reconciling breadth with depth is something we’re going to dive into pretty deeply in future seasons.”

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Which Couples Are Coming Back for Season 4?

Bridgerton Burning Questions Answered After Surprising Story Line Changes
Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma in ‘Bridgerton.’ Liam Daniel/Netflix

Both Colin and Penelope and Kate and Anthony expanded their respective families by the end of the third season. Even though Anthony and Kate traveled back to India to see her loved ones, that isn’t the end of their time on the show.

“I very much intend and hope to see more of Johnny and Simone,” Brownell told EW. “We love them so much, and they’re both so incredibly talented and we want to support their ability to do other projects, while still leaving the door open for them to return when and if they’re able. So the India send-off is a plot device in certain ways that allows us to leave the door open.”

Brownell promised that Colin and Penelope would come back as well after finding their happily ever after.

“Colin and Penelope will absolutely follow suit with past couples in terms of being more in the ensemble, so that our main couple next season can come to the foreground. But I do think that there is a bit more to tell story-wise with Whistledown,” she teased about Penelope’s not-so-secret identity as gossip writer Lady Whistledown. “Whistledown has been the narrative glue of every season. Now that Penelope’s out publicly as Whistledown, I want to see more of what that’s like. So, we will continue with them next season for sure.”

Will Julie Andrews Still Be Part of the Show After Lady Whistledown Was Unmasked?

Bridgerton Burning Questions Answered After Surprising Story Line Changes
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in ‘Bridgerton.’ Liam Daniel/Netflix

When Penelope’s identity as Whistledown was a secret, iconic film actress Julie Andrews did the voiceover for the character. Season 3 shook things up by having Penelope take that over after revealing she was behind the Whistledown columns.

“Thematically and creatively, that would be the right thing to do. Penelope is owning her voice, so it really should be Nicola’s voice. But it’s Julie Andrews and I don’t know how you say no thank you anymore to Julie Andrews,” Brownell shared with EW. “I couldn’t possibly, so to me that’s just the voice that Penelope uses in her head when she writes the thing. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that she’s owning her true self now.”

Brownell used the opportunity to hint at whether Whistledown will continue to play a role, adding, “It means that she’s now a public scandal writer, which is going to be a tricky balance. … She has everyone knowing who she is. After her arc this season, she’s going to be wrestling with accountability and with righteousness and trying to figure out what the right path is to use her pen responsibly.”

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Will Benedict’s Sexuality Continue to Be Explored?

Bridgerton Burning Questions Answered After Surprising Story Line Changes
Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton in ‘Bridgerton.’ Liam Daniel/Netflix

According to Thompson, Benedict will keep finding his purpose after ending season 3 on a search for freedom.

“He seems to approach his feelings in a spirit of curiosity. There’s very little angst about it. It’s refreshing to see someone tackle that side of themselves without anxiety about who they are and what it means,” the actor told Bustle. “Male sexuality, particularly, can feel boxy in the way that it’s explored. Let’s be clear, it was an extremely repressive period.”

He continued: “By our modern terms, the closest [descriptor] would be something along the lines of pansexuality — being attracted to the way that someone thinks and feels, regardless of gender. That’s a word that could be used. But what’s refreshing about it, certainly in the way that it’s being discovered at the moment, is that there is a sense of label lessness about it.”

Thompson also showed support for Francesca’s future love interest, adding, “To welcome positive, happy queer love storylines [that aren’t] all about angst or tragedy or things going wrong, it’s a really lovely thing.”

Is Cressida’s Arc Over — and Why Didn’t She End Up With Lord Debling?

Bridgerton Burning Questions Answered After Surprising Story Line Changes
Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper in ‘Bridgerton.’ Liam Daniel/Netflix

“We saw new depths from Cressida this season, but she’s still an imperfect character in many ways. But more importantly, she’s a character who’s under a significant amount of pressure and in a difficult situation,” Brownell told THR about Jessica Madsen‘s future on the show. “And so, my hope is that even though she does some things in the back half that people might not agree with, now that we understand what her circumstances are, we can sympathize with her and empathize with her and understand why she does the thing she does. I’m hopeful that this is not the end of Cressida’s story. And, if I have my say in it, we’ll be seeing more of Cressida.”

Some viewers wanted to see Cressida end up with Debling (Sam Phillips) after he ultimately didn’t propose to Penelope.

“We did talk about getting them together in the end, but if they got together then that’s sort of the end of Cressida as a character, because she would have gotten her happy ending,” the showrunner noted. “There’s more we could do with her, but her and Debling would be not as connected to the main story and frankly, we want to see more from Cressida. We want to see more from Jessica Madsen. So we wanted to leave her story a little bit more open-ended so that we can craft an ending for her in future seasons.”

It was also revealed that Cressida originally had a different ending to her story, with Madsen telling EW, “We did shoot a different ending. I don’t know whether she is going to her aunt’s because we actually don’t see her aunt in the carriage. So, it could be that she’s off somewhere by herself.”

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What Can Fans Expect From Francesca and Michaela’s Love Story?

Bridgerton Burning Questions Answered After Surprising Story Line Changes
Masali Baduza as Michaela Stirling in ‘Bridgerton.’ Netflix

Brownell confirmed that Michaela was introduced as a way to bring a same-sex relationship onto the show.

“The first time I read Francesca’s book, I really related to it as a queer woman. Her book is a lot about how she feels different from her family and from people in society. For some of us, that is a part of the queer experience, not for everyone but for a lot of queer people. It was important to me in creating a queer character not to just drop in a queer character to check a box but to actually tell a story about the queer experience and what it feels like to be queer,” she recalled. “So, it felt like Francesca’s book was actually a really clean one to adapt, and we do plan on following the book pretty closely. There will have to be some changes but not major.”

Brownell said the plan is to “honor a lot of” what is in the book.

“Also, we have examples from history of women like Francesca, who have been able to sort out a kind of happy ending, and it was really important to me to be able to tell a story that ends in queer joy,” she continued. “So that’s something that we plan to lead with when we do end up telling Francesca and Michaela’s story.”

Bridgerton fans should also expect a time jump at some point on the show. (Season 4 is expected to be released in 2026.)

“I can’t say if it’s in season 4 or not, but yes, there will be a time jump. I mean, we also really want to honor John and Francesca’s relationship, which although we are telling a queer story with Francesca, I don’t think that that negates her genuine connection with John. I know a lot of people have really fallen for that relationship, and we in the room really cared deeply about that relationship and about their connection,” Brownell detailed. “I think hopefully, it’s a lovely statement on the fact that relationships based in companionship, respect, friendship, trust and shared interests are just as valid as relationships that are super passionate. Both have value, and neither negates the other.”

She concluded: “So we’re absolutely not denying the connection that Fran and John have, and when we tell the Francesca and Michaela story, we would definitely want there to be a time jump to give Francesca some time to earnestly mourn what she had with John.”

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