'Bridgerton' showrunner reveals why she decided to skip over Benedict's story for season 3

Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton

Like previous editions of the Netflix hit, "Bridgerton" season 3 follows a sibling of the eponymous Bridgerton family as they navigate love and heartbreak in the high-class London Ton. But unlike seasons 1 and 2, which closely follow what author Julia Quinn wrote on the page in the first and second "Bridgerton" books, the upcoming third season is willfully following the wrong Bridgerton. 

The first season focused on the rollercoaster relationship between eldest Bridgerton daughter Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) and the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), while the second followed the illicit romance between Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) and his intended's sister, Kate (Simone Ashley). However, instead of focusing on the second eldest Bridgerton sibling, artsy Benedict (Luke Thompson), season 3 will focus on Benedict's younger bro Colin (Luke Newton) and his friends-to-lovers relationship with Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan).

So why did the powers that be skip over Benedict's story from the third novel, "An Offer from a Gentleman," in favor of Colin and Penelope's relationship in book four, "Romancing Mister Bridgerton"? Jess Bromnell, the new showrunner for the show's third season, recently revealed to Vanity Fair that it was a joint decision made by her and "Bridgerton" producer Shonda Rhimes. 

"First, she asked me to be showrunner, and then I went off and reread all the books and came back to her. Season 2 hadn’t wrapped yet, so there was still time to influence the ending of season two to set it up properly for season 3," Bromnell told the outlet. "And we both just felt strongly that Colin and Penelope, we know these characters really well. We’ve watched this dynamic where Colin doesn’t quite get it that Penelope likes him, and we felt like we didn’t want that to grow stale, so it felt like it was time to go in another direction with them."

Bromnell also shared that she felt a personal connection to the "POLIN" storyline and the banter between the two characters, which was inspired by everything from John Hughes movies to classic rom-coms like "Roman Holiday." 

"Their story really speaks to me — the unrequited crush, the wallflower-underdog coming off the wall. That speaks to high school Jess," the showrunner told Vanity Fair. "I liked that the Penelope and Colin story lends itself so well to rom-com tropes because it’s a friends-to-lovers story. There’s more playfulness and familiarity to the story and that allows us to lean into awkward banter and play up the humor a little bit more."

"Bridgerton" fans got a peak at the connection between Penelope and Colin in a recently released clip that teased a steamy mirror scene from "Romancing Mister Bridgerton." And you can see even more "POLIN" moments in the season 3 trailer, which dropped last week. 

"Bridgerton" season 3 will premiere on Netflix in two batches: the first four eps will debut on Thursday, May 16 and the final four installments will follow on Thursday, June 13. Tom's Guide will keep you posted on everything "POLIN"-related in the upcoming episodes, but in the meantime, you can rewatch the first two seasons of "Bridgerton" on Netflix.

Christina Izzo

Christina Izzo is a writer-editor covering culture, food and drink, travel and general lifestyle in New York City. She was previously the Deputy Editor at My Imperfect Life, the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York.