Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) takes center stage in season two as he attempts to settle down and finally takes his place at the head of the family. That involves getting married, and if the show is following the plot of the book The Viscount Who Loved Me, he finds the perfect wife but becomes distracted by her meddlesome older sister, Kate.
And yes, he will play Pall Mall. Pall Mall is basically croquet, and the book features a beloved scene in which Anthony and Kate play. It's the only specific scene author Julia Quinn requested the show include.
It's quite the shock that Lord Anthony Bridgerton is even considering marriage or owning up to his responsibilities. In fact, Bailey said he sees him as an example of why the oldest male shouldn't just automatically get all the power.
"We've come quite far with the idea of equality between sexes, but there's still a lot of conversations that need to be had about men in power," he explained. "Hopefully, Anthony is someone who's gonna make people realize that some men just don't have what it takes."
However, Bailey thinks he means well.
"With Anthony there's just so much conflict with everything he's doing," he says. "He means so well and he's got such a good heart and he loves his family and once I fell in love with him and realized that he meant well, that means that you can really push the boundaries as to how unfair and toxic he can be to his lovers and to his sisters and to his mother."
While season one's Simon (Rege-Jean Page) and Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) won't be in the spotlight quite as much as they were in season one, they'll likely still be around. It also sounds like we might not miss them quite as much as we fear we might. Quinn doesn't know exactly what's happening in season two, but she could at least promise a heck of a romance.
"All I know is that, you know, having written the source material. I think we're all going to be happy because they really set it up beautifully for all of us to really want Anthony to both win in life and get his comeuppance," she tells E! News. "At the same time, and I think it's gonna happen. His love interest just really is his match and it's going to be great."
Sex Education star Simone Ashley has been cast as Kate Sharma, the leading lady opposite Anthony. According to Netflix, Kate is a "smart, headstrong young woman who suffers no fools—Anthony Bridgerton very much included." The book describes her as "the most meddlesome woman to ever grace a London ballroom."
Kate isn't the only new character we can likely expect. If the show follows The Viscount Who Loved Me, we'll also meet Edwina, who is Kate's sister, and Mary, their mother.
In the book, Anthony originally decides that Edwina will be his wife, but he gets distracted by the disapproving Kate while trying to win her over. Their last name in the books is Sheffield, but has been changed to Sharma for the screen.
(Those are the Featherington sisters above, and we can only assume they will return along with Penelope and Lady Featherington.)
Lady Whistledown's identity is not revealed quite so early in the books, but on the show, we now know we have Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) to thank for all the best gossip in London. We do not, however, know what this means for Penelope's future.
All we have is a promise from Coughlan and Claudia Jessie, who plays Pen's BFF Eloise, that Eloise is going to be "pissed."
"She loves her best mate so much, and also she's properly in awe of Lady Whistledown," Jessie said. "She's like in love with Lady Whistledown. She wants to find her. I feel like the reason her quest seems so strong is because she's always looking for a way out and Lady Whistledown is an example of that autonomy, earning her own money, being a badass, outing people. That's Eloise's cup of tea. And then she's gonna find out it's her best mate... carnage."
Coughlan revealed on Twitter that she had a costume fitting on Feb. 12, but gave no details beyond that.
While Quinn's books are "tightly focused," she says, on her protagonists, the show has already given us hints of things to come way down the line—like, for instance, the slow burn of Penelope and Colin (Luke Newton), whose story gets told in book four. Quinn says she never would have thought of it.
"From a writer's point of view, it was fascinating and brilliant because, as I'm reading [the scripts], it was incredibly flattering because it was so clear to me that the writers had all read all the books and they were thinking so holistically about the whole thing," she says. "They were bringing in things and hinting at things and potentially setting things up in a way that was so incredibly respectful of and honored the source material, but at the same time, you know, the changes that they made... it was so clear to me that that was the best thing to do for a television series."
There's one book for each Bridgerton sibling, and while eight seasons of Bridgerton might be a stretch, that doesn't mean we have to miss out on any of the romance.