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Bridgerton Season 3 Changed Francesca's Book Storyline In One Massive Way

With "Bridgerton" Season 3 now in the history books, fans have an eye on what Season 4 might bring. It looks like our next heroine might be Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd) — despite the fact that the season includes her wedding to the handsome Lord Kilmartin, John Stirling (Victor Alli). While John and Francesca are clearly happy together, Francesca is introduced to a woman who she has chemistry with, the roguish Michaela Stirling (Masali Baduza), who is John's cousin. Fans of the book series know that Francesca's happily ever after lies in Michaela's hands — and that this is a major change from the source material, where Michaela is a man named Michael. 

Otherwise, one can presumably expect Michaela and Francesca's lives to reflect what happens in the Julia Quinn-penned book, "When He was Wicked." That will sadly include John's unexpected death two years into the marriage, Francesca's miscarriage, a four-year time jump, and Michaela coping with taking on John's earldom. Michaela is also dealing with her passionate and seemingly unrequited crush on Francesca, which can't progress due to Francesca's memory of John and the fact that Francesca doesn't love her. Or does she? Everything changes when Francesca decides to marry again so she can become a mother, and she encounters Michaela/Michael again in London.

While Francesca's queer awakening may be waiting for her in the distant future, at least one Bridgerton sibling ends up fully exploring his desire for a member of the same sex during Season 3.

Benedict Bridgerton also experienced a queer awakening

While Francesca has yet to fall in love with anyone but John, her brother Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson) explores his bisexuality with free-living widow Lady Tilley Arnold (Hannah New) and her good friend Paul Suarez (Lucas Aurelio) during the last two episodes of Season 3. This confirms a long-held theory among "Bridgerton" fans — Benedict isn't straight. Because those hints went frustratingly unexplored, they proved to be one of the five worst things about "Bridgerton" Season 2.

Fans of the novels know that Benedict will meet Sophie Beckett, the daughter of an earl forced to act as a housemaid on her stepmother's behest. Their first encounter happens at his mother's masquerade ball, which Sophie sneaks off to. That masquerade is spoken of at the foot of Season 3, indicating that Season 4 might belong to Benedict narratively — which would make sense, papering in enough time to build tension in the Francesca plot. 

Benedict's bisexuality adds a fresh twist to the proceedings. Will his Sophie be a man? Will he and Sophie take on a marriage that includes space for exploring beyond the constraints of heteronormative love? Fans will have a while to wait to find out — Season 4 may not hit the streamer until 2026. At least Shonda Rhimes is hoping for eight seasons of "Bridgerton," so fans can rest assured that the tangled web of the siblings' love lives are fully explored.

Want to learn more about "Bridgerton"?  Brush up on your facts with the untold truth of "Bridgerton."