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Bridgerton Spin-Off - What We Know So Far

After smashing viewership records and becoming the platform's most-watched original series, there was no way that Netflix was going to allow breakout hit "Bridgerton" to be ton and done.  

Season 2 is already in production, and Seasons 3 and 4 are confirmed to be happening. Reportedly, if all goes well, then the plan is to do eight seasons overall of the show, meaning one for each of the eight novels in author Julia Quinn's series. Now fans of the high-society romance have another reason to celebrate after it was announced May 14 that a new limited series prequel set in the show's universe was on the way, one that would feature scripts written by "Bridgerton" producer and TV mastermind Shonda Rhimes herself. 

The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the as-yet-untitled new series would follow "the rise and love life of a young Queen Charlotte," played by Golda Rosheuvel on "Bridgerton." It will also incorporate the stories of two others from the show's older generation, Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell) and Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh).

When will the Bridgerton spin-off be released?

There's no word on a release date yet, but there are some clues that can be read into within the announcement. "Shonda and her team are thoughtfully building out the Bridgerton universe so they can keep delivering for the fans with the same quality and style they love," the Hollywood Reporter article quoted Netflix's Bela Bajaria as saying. "And by planning and prepping all the upcoming seasons now, we also hope to keep up a pace that will keep even the most insatiable viewers totally fulfilled."

If that's the goal, then it makes sense to use the spin-off to bridge the gap between proper "Bridgerton" seasons. Season 2 began production in the spring of 2021 on what Deadline noted at the time was expected to be a six-month shoot. This seems to make a release in 2022 more likely than one at the end of the year, when the first season dropped. If pre-production on the sequel is already up and running, or its number of episodes proves to be quite limited, then it's possible it could debut between Seasons 2 and 3. However, it's more likely that it might arrive between Seasons 3 and 4.

Who will be in the cast of the Bridgerton spin-off?

Given the prequel will take place decades before the first season of "Bridgerton," the cast of familiar characters will almost certainly be played by a new group of actors. (That means no Regé-Jean Page in this one either.) The show was a massive hit, but de-aging Rosheuvel, Andoh, and Gemmell for the duration of a miniseries is probably not what the streaming service wants to be spending its budget on.

If new blood is going to be joining the "Bridgerton" universe, then it's easy to guess where it might come from. Rosheuvel, Andoh, and Gemmell were best known for their work in the theater and on British television, with limited work in Hollywood, so it's plausible that the showrunners will look for the younger versions of their characters there. However, given the popularity of the first season of "Bridgerton" and the fact that the commitment is just a miniseries, it might be easier to land bigger names who would otherwise be wary about the possibility of an eight-season commitment.

What will the plot of the Bridgerton prequel spin-off?

Historically speaking, there's not much to tell about the courtship of Queen Charlotte. The future queen apparently met her husband on the day of their wedding, with the ceremony taking place mere hours after she arrived in London, according to the royal family's own records.

But "Bridgerton" is not exactly the sort of show to let history get in the way of telling a good story. That short window would provide precious little time for the sorts of gossip-mongering and subtle manipulations that were Charlotte's forte in "Bridgerton," so it seems safe to guess that her romance will be expanded upon in that sense. 

Perhaps the real question for the prequel will be how it treats race. Flagship series showrunner Chris Van Dusen told The New York Times in December 2020 that the show is not meant to be colorblind, but rather an alternate reality where Queen Charlotte –– who some historians believe had African ancestry –– was able to use her position and power to make high society more inclusive. "It made me wonder what that could have looked like," Van Dusen said. "Could she have used her power to elevate other people of color in society? Could she have given them titles and lands and dukedoms?"

If the prequel proceeds with this assumption, then that means its world –– before Charlotte's rise to power –– could look very different than that of "Bridgerton." What would that mean for Charlotte as she plots her rise? How different might the fortunes of Lady Danbury and Lady Violet be when we meet them as young women?