Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan Confirms Season 3 Is All About Penelope and Colin

Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton discussed Bridgerton season three after Netflix confirmed Penelope and Colin's love story will be the focus of the upcoming episodes.

By Cydney Contreras May 16, 2022 3:04 PMTags

Now this is set to be the talk of the ton.

At long last, Bridgerton's Nicola Coughlan revealed which love story will take center stage in season three. "Like Lady Whistledown, I have been keeping a secret for quite some time and I can confirm to you all that season three is Colin and Penelope's love story," the actress, who plays Penelope Featherington shared at Netflix's FYSEE panel on May 15. "I have kept that secret since two weeks into season two." (As for Colin, she's talking about the third oldest Bridgerton kid, played by Luke Newton.)

So, saddle up and get ready to watch as their "friendship potentially blooms into something more all while balancing her double life as Lady Whistledown," Netflix explained in a statement after the announcement.

As for Luke, he's ready to further explore the fan-favorite connection. "There's so much love for that relationship," he told Netflix's Tudum. "Which brings its pressures because there are people that are really excited about this story to come to the forefront. But also it really warms me."

Bridgerton Secrets and Easter Eggs

And while the season breaks from the order of Julia Quinn's books—the third in the series focuses on Benedict Bridgerton, while book four is about Penelope and Colin—the decision, simply put, just makes sense.

I feel like if you see Penelope fawning over this boy for another season," Nicola explained, noting showrunner Chris Van Dusen said it would be more satisfying to fans this way, "you'll be like, ‘Get it together! Come on, move on and get over it.'"

Liam Daniel/Netflix

That couldn't be more true considering season two saw Colin unintentionally hurt Penelope's feelings when he told a group of men that he'd "never dream of courting" her—a comment that Penelope overheard. And while the actor told Tudum that it was nothing more than a "throwaway comment" he hopes his character "has sort of a more sensitive side to him."

Fans will also enjoy a more relatable season in comparison to the first two, in which the show was focused on the enemies to lovers trope. "I love that we are exploring a relationship that so many people have had, where you form a friendship and you get to know each other down to the core," Luke shared. "Then it sparks something from there." 

Season two lead Jonathan Bailey recently confirmed that the cast will return to the Ton for filming this June. They will be joined by newcomer Hannah Dodd, who is replacing Ruby Stokes in the role of Francesca Bridgerton. Keep reading for more season three updates!

Bridgerton is streaming now on Netflix.

Bridgerton Season Three Release Date

Bridgerton season three will make its grand entrance in two parts—each consisting of four episodes. The first half will drop on Netflix May 16, 2024, while the second will premiere June 13, 2024. And Netflix is teasing season three as "ultra-sexy" and quite "lavish."

Who Is in the Cast of Bridgerton Season Three?

Series regulars will be Nicola Coughlan (Penelope Featherington), Luke Newton (Colin Bridgerton), Claudia Jessie (Eloise Bridgerton), Luke Thompson (Benedict Bridgerton), Golda Rosheuvel (Queen Charlotte), Adjoa Andoh (Lady Danbury), Ruth Gemmell (Violet Bridgerton), Lorraine Ashbourne (Mrs. Varley), Hannah Dodd (Francesca Bridgerton), Simone Ashley (Kate Sharma), Jonathan Bailey (Anthony Bridgerton), Harriet Cains (Philipa Featherington), Bessie Carter (Prudence Featherington), Jessica Madsen (Cressida Cowper), Florence Hunt (Hyacinth Bridgerton), Martins Imhangbe (Will Mondrich), Will Tilston (Gregory Bridgerton), Polly Walker (Portia Featherington) and Julie Andrews (Lady Whistledown).

Netflix also announced additional key cast members: Hugh Sachs (Brimsley), Emma Naomi (Alice Mondrich), Kathryn Drysdale (Genevieve Delacroix) and Sam Phillips (Lord Debling).

New Leading Man

Like seasons one and two, which featured Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Anthony Bridgerton as leads, season three thrusts a different Bridgerton sibling into the spotlight: Colin Bridgerton.

His Leading Lady

Colin's other half for season three? Longtime friend Penelope Featherington. Season three will follow the events of Julia Quinn's novel, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, which follows Colin as he finally realizes that Penelope is worth courting and falling in love with.

Nicola confirmed this to be true in May, telling the crowd at Netflix's ATAS panel, "Like Lady Whistledown, I have been keeping a secret for quite some time and I can confirm to you all that season three is Colin and Penelope's love story. I have kept that secret since two weeks into season two. This is the first time I am saying it here." 

What Is Bridgerton Season Three About?

So, what can fans expect between Penelope and Colin? Netflix's synopsis reveals that Penelope has decided it's time for her to find a husband, one who can give her some freedom to continue publishing as Lady Whistledown.

"But lacking in confidence, Penelope’s attempts on the marriage mart fail spectacularly," the synopsis reads. "Meanwhile, Colin has returned from his summer travels with a new look and a serious sense of swagger. But he’s disheartened to realize that Penelope, the one person who always appreciated him as he was, is giving him the cold shoulder."

Colin tries to win back her friendship by acting as her wing man, giving her tips on how to land a husband. "But when his lessons start working a little too well," Netflix teases, "Colin must grapple with whether his feelings for Penelope are truly just friendly."

What About Eloise?

Penelope's friendship with Eloise Bridgerton is on the rocks this season due to her identity as the town gossip.

"Complicating matters for Penelope is her rift with Eloise," the synopsis notes, "who has found a new friend in a very unlikely place, while Penelope’s growing presence in the ton makes it all the more difficult to keep her Lady Whistledown alter ego a secret."

Penelope Steps Into the Spotlight

Nicola knew season three would be her big moment moment for years, long before Netflix announced she would officially star. But that didn't make it less intimidating.

"I had a lot of time to adjust to it," the Derry Girls alum told E! News in May 2022. "But then, you know, last night when they were like, ‘The news is coming out. You can talk about it,' I was like, ‘I don't want to. I'm too scared.' When I say it out, it makes it real." 

Getting Flirty

Another very real part of the third installment? Finding chemistry with her longtime costar Luke.

"We can talk about scenes that we're nervous about or whatnot," Nicola explained at Tudum's Brazil event in June 2023, per Shondaland. "Obviously, we've had scenes together since the beginning but it's definitely different this time around."

More Kanthony

No, Simone Ashley will not be pulling a Regé-Jean Page, as she confirmed to E! News that her character Kate Bridgerton (née Sharma) will be in season three.

"Yes, there will be a post-marriage Kanthony story for sure," she said in March 2022. "And I'm super excited for the world to see Nicola and Luke rock it, but also to just play with the Anthony and Kate story now that they're loved up and they've kind of sorted themselves out."

Edwina's Fate

After leaving Anthony Bridgerton at the altar and giving her sister Kate her blessing to marry the Viscount, many wondered about what would be next for Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran). So, E! News asked Charithra for an update on her character, to which she replied:

"Well, what we always say is the Bridgerton world is ever expanding. And I think one of the brilliant things about the series is that the focus changes every season. And so you know, Edwina exists in the Bridgerverse, and she'll always be sort of associated with the Ton but I'm really just excited to see Colin and Penelope story."

Perhaps an Edwina-centric spin-off is in the works? Only time Lady Whistledown will tell.

A New Francesca

Netflix has re-cast the character of Francesca Bridgerton following the departure of Ruby Stokes. Actress Hannah Dodd will replace Stokes, who left the series to star in Netflix's upcoming show Lockwood & Co.

The official Bridgerton Twitter account confirmed the news in May, writing, "The only thing the Ton loves more than a scandal is a celebration. Do joyously welcome the newest member to the Bridgerton family."

A Possible Suitor

In May, Nicola teased that a new suitor would be joining the season three cast. "I've heard there's a new man entering into the Ton, as we call it," she told E! News. "Into London society."

Welcome to the Ton

In addition to Sam Phillips arriving as Lord Debling, James Phoon and Daniel Francis are also joining the cast of Bridgerton season three, The Hollywood Reporter shared in 2022. The actors will play three new eligible bachelors, who come onto the scene just as Penelope Featherington gets over her long held crush on Colin Bridgerton.

A New Addition

Hannah New, who starred on Starz series Black Sails, will play Lady Tilley Arnold, a young widow who "enjoys the privileges and power that come with being at the helm of her former husband's estate, living life on her own terms with financial independence and sexual freedom," per Deadline

Daphne Departs (For Now)

In January 2023, Phoebe revealed that she would not appear as Daphne Bridgerton in season three of Bridgerton. She told Screen Rant, "Sadly not in season three. Potentially in the future. But season three, I'm just excited to watch as a viewer."

Netflix did not list her nor Regé-Jean as series regulars or additional key cast for season three.

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