(This story originally published on Dec. 30, 2020, and has been republished. Warning: Spoilers ahead through the Season 1 finale of “Bridgerton.”)
Shonda Rhimes-produced Netflix period romance “Bridgerton” closed its first season with a happy ending for the Bridgerton family’s eldest daughter, Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), her husband, Simon/the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), and their first bundle of joy, whose name we don’t know yet, aside from the fact it will definitely begin with an “A” in classic Bridgerton tradition.
And if series creator Chris Van Dusen gets his way, you’ll find out the little one’s name and much more in future seasons of “Bridgerton,” which has not yet been renewed by Netflix.
“It might be too early to talk about at this point. I do have a plan and a vision in my head to success,” Van Dusen told TheWrap. “The first season was about Daphne and it followed her relationship, her love story with Simon. And the ‘Bridgerton’ books [written by Julia Quinn] — there are eight books, they are about eight siblings. And in success, I would love to be able to explore stories and romances for every Bridgerton sibling. Of course, I would love to be able to do that.”
“Bridgerton’s” eight-episode debut season is based on “The Duke and I,” the first novel in Quinn’s romance series about the Bridgerton family. That book, like the freshman season of “Bridgerton,” focuses on Daphne’s story, while the second, “The Viscount Who Loved Me,” puts her older brother Anthony, played by Jonathan Bailey, in the spotlight.
Along with giving fans the chance to find out what’s to come for all the Bridgerton siblings — including Anthony, Benedict (Luke Thompson), Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton), Daphne, Eloise (Claudia Jessie), Francesca (Ruby Stokes), Gregory (Will Tilston) and Hyacinth (Florence Hunt) — potential future seasons of Rhimes and Van Dusen’s adaptation would also dive into the story of mysterious narrator Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews) after the shocking finale reveal of her true identity: Penelope Featherington.
“Penelope (played by Nicola Coughlan) is one of the most fascinating characters to me,” Van Dusen said. “And we knew breaking the first season that there would be a whole group of people watching the show that have read the books and know the identity of Lady Whistledown. And then there would be a whole group of people who have not read the books and have no idea where we’re going. So it was important for us to really tell Penelope’s story this season and for there to be two tracks, one track for each of those groups of people … And for the people who did not know it was Penelope, we never wanted to be ahead of that and we never wanted to telegraph that and we always wanted to keep that a mystery. But then for the people that knew it was Penelope, we had to make it fun. We had to make it interesting for those people as well. So for me, the end of the first season was the perfect time to reveal who Lady Whistledown was — or who we believe Lady Whistledown to be.”
Van Dusen promises that if you rewatch the first season as a viewer who now knows what Penelope is really up to, you’ll notice little easter eggs confirming her Lady Whistledown identity early on.
“After you watch the first season, I would love to audiences to go back, now knowing it had been Penelope, and really watch the season through that lens,” he said. “It was really Nicola’s idea, really working with her closely from the start during shooting, she would always suggest, ‘Well, why doesn’t Penelope just hang out over here, just slightly off camera,’ ‘Perhaps she could cross right here and we could just get a glimpse of her.’ I thought that was so genius to really put these little snippets and clips of Penelope that on a second watch, you’ll hopefully go back and see.”
Here’s an example of one to get you started, straight from Van Dusen himself: “When Daphne and Simon first meet, if you look closely, you’ll see Penelope’s eyes in the corner of the screen watching this go down, which will be a lot of fun.”