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."
Season one's Simon (Rege-Jean Page) and Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) will be taking a backseat in season two after their happy ending at the end of season one. In fact, Page won't even be appearing in the second season, while Daphne will still be around just to support her siblings. It also sounds like we might not miss the Duke and Duchess of Hastings 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."
In April, Shondaland offered a new character description for the incomparable Kate: "Kate is equal parts headstrong and whip-smart. Her sharp wit and independent nature make her a singular force on the 1814 marriage mart, where she hopes to secure a love match for her younger sister, Edwina."
Edwina is Kate's younger sister, and she's who Anthony originally sets his sights on. She "has been taught by her older sister Kate to be the perfect debutante. She's kind-natured and endlessly endearing. But while she may be young and naive, she also knows what she wants: a true love match." She will be played by Charithra Chandran.
Lady Mary is Kate and Edwina's mother. She is an Earl's daughter whose marriage to a tradesman once embroiled her family in scandal. Now, Lady Mary has returned to London with her daughters "and is forced to endure the scrutiny of the ton yet again." She is played by Shelley Conn.
Calam Lynch has joined the show as Theo Sharpe, a character who is not known from the books. He is "a hardworking printer's assistant" and "an intellectual who fights for the rights of all."
Rupert Young will play Jack, a man who has no last name just yet. That might because this newcomer to the ton has "a connection to one of its most notable families."
After actor Luke Newton appeared to tease the cast's return to set in March, he later clarified, "We haven't actually started yet." He added, "But everyone individually is getting ready and psyched up for season two."
If the show continues to follow the books, Benedict (Luke Thompson) will be next in line to find the love of his life. In An Offer From a Gentleman, he falls for a Cinderella-esque beauty at a masquerade ball, then gets confused by a housemaid.
So far on screen, the artsy Benedict has found himself at an orgy, learning how some men have secret gay relationships while also being married to their wives. By the end of the season, he was dating Madame Delecroix, the dressmaker.
Colin (Luke Newton) gets his own story in Romancing Mister Bridgerton, and it shouldn't be that big of a surprise if you've been watching the show. This is where Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) goes from best friend to something more, and it's also where the Lady Whistledown reveal is technically supposed to happen.
Viewers, of course, already know Penelope's big secret, but nobody else does. Viewers also know how Penelope pines for her friend Colin, and they'd be forgiven for already wondering if we really have to wait three more seasons to see their story play out.
We may know that Penelope is Lady Whistledown, but we do not yet know what this means for Penelope's on-screen 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."
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, 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.
The show has only been renewed through season four so far, and eight seasons is a lot to ask of a such a high-budget production with such a huge cast. But if we do get more stories beyond the first four books, there's romance ahead for Eloise, Francesca, Hyacinth and Gregory, most of whom are currently small children. Those stories involve broken engagements, complete strangers falling in love and old family secrets, and we have to say we wouldn't be mad if Bridgerton promised to continue long enough to make them happen.