Why Did Netflix Skip Benedict Bridgerton As The Lead For Season 3?

Why Did Netflix Skip Benedict Bridgerton As The Lead For Season 3?

In the month of May 2022, Netflix first confirmed that the 3rd season of Bridgerton will not be following Julia Quinn’s third book, An Offer From a Gentleman, from the Bridgerton series. 

Instead, the popular Regency romance series will be skipping to the fourth book from the book series, Romancing Mister Bridgerton. This basically meant that Bridgerton Season 3 will focus on Penelope and Colin’s love story. 

However, in the book series, the third book, An Offer From a Gentleman, the spotlight is on Benedict and his love interest, Sophie Beckett. In a Cinderella-like backdrop, Benedict comes across Sophie at a ball where everyone is wearing masks. Sophie is an Earl’s daughter – but an illegitimate one. As a result, after the Earl’s death, she ends up becoming a servant for her stepsisters and stepmother. 

After the ball, two years pass before Benedict and Sophie meet again. This time, they connect and get married. 

(our apologies for the spoilers since we won’t get to see Benedict’s story unfold before season 4.)

So, why did Netflix drop Benedict Bridgerton for Colin Bridgerton? 

The Showrunner’s Stance:

Here’s what the showrunner of Bridgerton Season 3, Jess Brownell, had to say about not following Julia Quinn’s order of books. 

I really feel like it’s Colin and Penelope’s time. Because we’ve been watching both of these actors on our screens since Season 1, we’ve already invested in them a little bit. We know who they are as people. I feel like, especially in the last season, there are moments of tension between them where it’s like Colin walks up to the line of almost realizing that Penelope has feelings for him but doesn’t quite get there. Instead of treading water on that dynamic, we wanted to push it into their season. It really felt like the perfect moment to tee it up1.

And we quite agree with Brownell – it does feel like Colin and Penelope’s time. Moreover, the showrunner also emphasized that Benedict does play a vital role in this season. 

In this context, she said, “We already differ from the books a little bit because we’re an ensemble show. The books really focus on one-on-one romantic pairs at a time, and maybe the siblings have a little cameo here and there, but they don’t have full stories. In that way, even though we’re reversing the order of the books, I think all the people you would expect to see—Benedict, who is book three, will be a vital part of Season 3.

Considering we have seen Benedict Bridgerton having fun in Season 3, Part I, we can only agree with Brownell and anticipate what’s about to happen in Part II. 

The Queer Angle:

Also, Brownell was somewhat vague about Benedict’s storyline – is it going to have a queer angle? In this context, she said, “Right now, I really am so focused on Pen and Colin and how we’re rolling them out that my head’s really in that in the day-to-day, but maybe at a later date that’s something we can talk about.

Interestingly, Chris Van Dusen, the previous showrunner, did say that the flirtation and intimacy between Sir Henry Granville and Benedict Bridgerton in the first season wasn’t supposed to imply that Beendict’s character was bisexual or gay. Van Dusen called the connection between Henry and Benedict platonic – um? 

In this context, he said at the time, “I’ve seen a lot of discussion about Benedict’s sexuality in Season 1. But the storyline [of him befriending] Henry was really about tolerance in a really intolerant time.

But this hasn’t stopped fans from hoping that Benedict Bridgerton will be the show’s first queer lead. While the show has received lots of love, queer fans have expressed harsh criticism for the show’s failure to represent the LGBTQIA+ community.

However, Luke Thompson, the actor who plays Benedict Bridgerton, doesn’t entirely rule out the possibility of his character being queer. In this context, Thompson had said in 2022, “Benedict has such a lovely openness and fluidity about him generally, and that’s really, really fun to play because it could go anywhere2.

Since then, fans have continued hoping that Benedict will come out as bisexual or gay! 

After Netflix released the first four episodes of the 3rd season on 16th May, speculation about Benedict’s sexuality started again, with fans posting about how they hoped Benedict was queer on X.  

The Confusion About Benedict Bridgerton: Is He Queer Or Not?

To cut a long story short, we read all the eight Bridgerton novels recently, and TBH, we loved them. It was so difficult to put those down. But after reading 3,000 pages, things began to get very repetitive – the biggest problem? The sheer absence of variety amidst the different couples. 

Of course, some of the limitations have a lot to do with the genre and the time period. Moreover, the Bridgerton show focuses on the wealthy aristocracy – and instead of making it all-white, the show did add diversity. 

However, racial and ethnic diversity isn’t the only place where representation is lacking. The show fails to show diversity in terms of sexual orientation, focussing on straight, heterosexual romances. 

Before reading the books, we had already watched the first two seasons of the show. And the first season did a great job of convincing us that Benedict is queer – come on, the chemistry between Henry Granville and Benedict Bridgerton? Electrifying! 

(we are thinking about the Bohemian fever dream in season 1 – artistic expression, nude models, and hedonistic celebrations of our deepest desires.)

We were pretty sure that Benedict was going to sleep with Henry Granville – three years and seasons later, we are convinced they should have just ended up in the sack!

While we absolutely loved reading Benedict and Sophie’s love story and understand there is no reason for sacrifice, we are merely asking for some sexual diversity!

To Be Queer Or Not To Be Queer…

It is imperative to acknowledge that the show has created solid backstories for multiple characters – from taking implicit stuff from the books (hello, carriage scene!) to adding new things to the mix. 

So when a show like Bridgerton, known for championing diversity, fails to show the same diversity in the sexual orientation of its characters, it looks like a missed opportunity. We think it’s disappointing that the show has failed to portray any queer relationship on screen. 

Moreover, it’s not Benedict alone. The show had the perfect opportunity to make another Bridgerton sibling queer – we are talking about Eloise.

Think about it. We have not seen much of Eloise’s love life yet. But her genuine lack of interest in getting married and the horror of bearing children makes one curious. 

Of course, it doesn’t necessarily indicate much about her sexual orientation, considering there are many heterosexual women who oppose both marriage and reproduction. But it does keep Eloise’s sexuality open-ended. In fact, there’s also scope for an asexual character, maybe. 

In fact, having an asexual character could have been a bold move for the show. Again, this doesn’t mean we hate Eloise’s story with Sir Philips. It just means we are craving for some sexual diversity in the show (Sex Education, we miss you!).

We only hope that the show doesn’t miss out on talking about marginalized groups in different forms. We were so impressed with the fact that, as a Regency romance, the show was able to bring racial and ethnic diversity on screen. As a result, we only hope to see diversity getting the momentum it needs. 

So, Who Does Benedict Bridgerton Marry? (As Per The Books)

Now that we are coming out of the whole Polin frenzy, we are itching to find out more about Benedict Bridgerton and Sophie Beckett’s story, considering Julia Quinn focuses on Benedict’s story in her 3rd novel.

Will it make the cut? And if so, then when?

Streaming giant Netflix simply chose to deviate from Quinn’s order of novels for their OTT adaptation. Moreover, Netflix also added a new love interest in Benefict’s life. Yes, we are talking about Lady Tilley Arnold, the rich widow who strikes up a physical relationship with Benedict in Season 3, Part I.

Netflix added the character of Lady Tilley Arnold to the mix so that Benedict’s character can explore and have fun before settling down. Do you remember Anthony’s arc with opera singer Siena in season 1, before he meets Kate and Season 2?

So, don’t worry, Bridgerton fans! Benedict Bridgerton and Lady Tilley Arnold are not the endgame. They are just having some fun before Benedict can meet the love of his life.

Fortunately, Season 3 Part II will drop on 13th June, and Netflix has already confirmed a 4th season. So, it’s possible that we will get to see Benedict’s story on screen soon. So, while waiting for Season 3 Part II and Season 4, let’s check out what Quinn’s novels have to say about Benedict’s storyline. 

Who Does Benedict Bridgerton Marry As Per Quinn’s Novels?

In Julia Quinn’s 3rd book (An Offer From a Gentlemen), Benedict and Sophie meet at a masquerade ball hosted by Benedict’s family. 

We already mentioned that Sophie is an Earl’s daughter. But since she is an illegitimate child, her contemptuous stepmother forces her to become a servant after the Earl passes away – major Cinderella vibes, we say! 

Benedict fails to recognize Sophie when the two first meet, and in a true Cinderella-like fashion, she refuses to tell him. Instead, the two experience an instant spark – the spark is lost when Sophie disappears suddenly at midnight. 

Naturally, Benedict is fixated on finding Sophie. After their whirlwind meeting, a lovestruck Benedict vows to first find Sophie and then marry her – ahhhh, our hearts! 

In an interesting turn of events, when Violet Bridegrton hires Sophie as a maid two years later, she meets Benedict again. Obviously, Benedict initially doesn’t realize it’s Sophie. 

In spite of Benedict’s failure to recognize Sophie, the pair ends up forming a close connection, with Benedict even asking Sophie to become his mistress, not realizing she is the woman he has been looking for all those years. 

The book ends with Benedict figuring out that Sophie is the one he has been searching for years. The two get married and goes on to have four kids together – Violet, William, Alexander, and Charles. 

Will Sophie’s Character Appear In Season 3 Part II And Season 4?

So, will Sophie’s character make an appearance in Season 3 Part II or Season 4, for that matter? 

Currently, it is difficult to say what’s going to happen with the show’s storyline. We are very much in the dark about the plotline for the last four episodes of the third season. 

However, we can guarantee one thing. If Bridgerton Season 3 Part II ends with a masquerade ball as per Quinn’s novel, then it is obvious that Benedict will meet Sophie. At least their love story will start!

But if the show doesn’t end that way, then there is still scope for the pair to have their moment in the 4th season. 

Bridgerton Season 3 Cast: Who’s Coming Back…And Who’s Not?

Bridgerton Season 2’s stars Kate (Simone Ashley) and Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) came back in Season 3, Part I. However, the leads of Bridgerton Season 1, Simon (Regé-Jean Page) and Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) didn’t return. 

Additionally, the show saw its first big change in terms of casting. Hannah Dodd took the role of Francesca Bridgerton from Ruby Stokes.

Moreover, Shonda Rimes, executive producer of the show, also said that she plans to make it to Season 8 – one season for every Bridgerton sibling. 

Bridgerton Season 3 Part I premiered on 16th May on Netflix with four episodes – Part II with the next four episodes will drop on 13th June. While we are waiting for the second part, we are catching up on Quinn’s novels.

  1. Jess Brownell, the showrunner for Bridgerton Season 3, spoke about choosing Colin and Penelop’s story for Bridgerton Season 3, instead of Benedict and Sophi’s story, to Variety magazine during a recent interview. ↩︎
  2. Luke Thompson discussed his character’s sexual orientation with Entertainment Weekly in 2022 – the quote is from the time he spoke to the news outlet about his character. ↩︎

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Barsha Bhattacharya is a senior content writing executive. As a marketing enthusiast and professional for the past 4 years, writing is new to Barsha. And she is loving every bit of it. Her niches are marketing, lifestyle, wellness, travel and entertainment. Apart from writing, Barsha loves to travel, binge-watch, research conspiracy theories, Instagram and overthink.

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