Fans have gotten plenty of hints about what to expect from Bridgerton season 4 — except who will be the next lead.

The Netflix series, which is based on the book series written by Julia Quinn, centers around members of the wealthy Bridgerton family as they search for love in 19th century London. Season 1 focused on Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page), who were the central couple in the first book, The Duke and I.

Season 2, meanwhile, took inspiration from The Viscount Who Loved Me, which followed Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) finding love with Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley). Despite Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson) being the subject of the third novel — An Offer From a Gentleman — his love story with newcomer Sophie has not been explored yet.

Instead, the third season focused on Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) as seen in Quinn’s book Romancing Mister Bridgerton. The shakeup has since kept readers on their toes as they question who will be the subject of season 4.

Showrunner Jess Brownell, who took over for creator Chris Van Dusen, teased the next chapter in April 2024, telling TV Insider, “I won’t give you anything, but I do think that there are some clues at the end of Season 3 of where we’re headed.”

She continued: “So yeah, I leave that to fans to pick apart, but I think we’re tipping our hand just a little bit.”

Keep scrolling for everything to know about Bridgerton season 4:

Was ‘Bridgerton’ Renewed for a 4th Season?

Netflix previously renewed Bridgerton for seasons 3 and 4. The streamer didn’t offer more details about the focus of each season but Brownwell confirmed the season wouldn’t air until 2026.

Has the Season 4 Lead Already Been Chosen?

Before season 3 premiered in May 2024, Brownell confirmed that the writers’ room was already breaking ground on the next arc.

“I can tell you that I know who it’s gonna be. We are in the middle of writing it right now.” Brownell told Refinery29 one month prior in response to a question about which Bridgerton sibling is at the center of season 4.

When Would Season 4 Premiere?

According to Brownell, season 4 was already in production in April 2024. Filming, however, has yet to begin.

“We actually don’t know when it’s gonna drop,” Brownell told Refinery29 at the time. “We’re still making sure that we write the best possible script that we can before we start production. But we’re really thrilled with what we’ve been working on. So hold out hope!”

Who Are the Potential Contenders to Lead Season 4?

Season 4 has three — or more — potential Bridgerton siblings who could be chosen to lead the series next. After Benedict’s love story with Sophie was already delayed, it would make sense to circle back to him.

However, Eloise (Claudia Jessie) is also a frontrunner after being a main character for several seasons. Eloise’s friendship with Penelope is also at stake during season 3 so her story line could evolve seamlessly into the upcoming season. To Sir Phillip, With Love, which is the fifth book in the franchise, would reintroduce Phillip (Chris Fulton) as he built a connection with Eloise.

Francesca (Hannah Dodd) and her book, When He Was Wicked, is also one to look out for after the character was recast. With Dodd taking on the role after Ruby Stokes‘ exit, Francesca is featured more in season 3, which would prepare her to be the next lead.

Thompson hinted in May 2024 that he wasn’t expecting Benedict to be the next lead.

“It’d be nice to give the character a full exploration, that’d be really fun, but the way the show runs — it’s a big ensemble show,” he told Country and Town House. “As long as I’m given interesting things to do, I don’t really mind.”

Will Season 4 Face Shakeups From the Book?

“I am really not trying to shake things up too much,” Brownell told Refinery29 in April 2024. “I really believe in the vision of the show.”

The showrunner didn’t rule out departures from the books though, adding, “I really want to serve the stories and the books the best way possible. It just naturally felt like, for Penelope and Colin, it made sense to lean into a romantic comedy tropes. So this season does have a bit more humor in it and it has the awkward banter. So that’s something that will feel slightly elevated in terms of being different from last season.”

Can Fans Expect More LGBTQIA+ Representation?

Since its 2020 premiere, Bridgerton hasn’t featured many LGBTQIA+ characters on the show. The Queen Charlotte spinoff, which started streaming in 2023, is the first time fans got to see LGBTQIA+ characters explored prominently through Brimsley (Sam Clemmett) and Reynolds (Freddie Dennis).

Brownell, however, is determined to change that moving forward.

“This is a show about love in its many forms, and I think that it’s only right for us to foreground queer love and to tell queer stories,” Brownell told Pride in April 2024. “I want to see more queer joy on my screens, and that was definitely a priority for me when I stepped into the showrunner role.”

Brownell remained tight-lipped on which characters might learn more about their sexualities, adding, “How exactly that plays out over this season and the next couple seasons, I can’t say specifically, but I will say I’m excited for fans to see that.”

Season 3 subsequently confirmed that both Benedict and Francesca were part of the LGBTQIA+ community. “To welcome positive, happy queer love storylines [that aren’t] all about angst or tragedy or things going wrong, it’s a really lovely thing,” Thompson told Bustle in June 2024.

How Will Francesca’s Love Life Change the Bridgerton World?

The season 3 finale confirmed a shakeup when Francesca met John’s cousin Michaela (Masali Baduza), whose gender was swapped from the original character named Michael.

“When we started talking about queer representation on the show, we started with a discussion that this is a show about happily-ever-afters, and that we’re not interested in queer trauma — that we really want to see queer joy,” Brownell told Variety in June 2024. “And if we’re going to tell a queer story, we would like to find a way for there to be a happily ever after.”

Brownell acknowledged the potential obstacles for a same-sex couple considering the Regency era setting on the show, adding, “So we have done a lot of research to figure out how we can achieve that within the confines of our world. And after people see the next couple of seasons, I’ll be able to talk about that more.”

Which Cast Members Would Return for Season 4?

Characters including Penelope, Colin, Benedict, Eloise, Francesca, Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh), Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel), Hyacinth (Florence Hunt), Gregory (Will Tilston), and Lady Whistledown (voice of Julie Andrews) are expected to return for more episodes.

Will Couples From Past Seasons Make Onscreen Appearances?

After his season 1 exit, Page hasn’t hinted at any plans to return to the rule of Simon. Meanwhile, Dynevor appeared in the second season but later revealed she wasn’t in the next selection of episodes. Bailey and Ashley, who were the stars of season 2, returned one season later and haven’t ruled out more appearances in the future.

Newton confirmed in April 2024 that he planned to remain on the show. “It’s changed my life so I know that I’ll be sticking around,” he told High Life Magazine. One month later, Coughlan confirmed that they received an invitation to return, telling The Wrap, “They’ve told us we’re back for Season 4, which is super lovely … It’ll be exciting. [We’ll] pop back and have some fun for sure.”

How Many Books Are Left From Here?

Benedict’s An Offer From a Gentleman, Eloise’s To Sir Phillip, With Love and Francesca’s When He Was Wicked are the immediate next choices. Hyacinth’s It’s in His Kiss and Gregory’s On the Way to the Wedding are still on the docket, as well.

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