I say “first” because the Bridgerton book universe includes prequels, so there was always a high potential for spin-offs with Bridgerton. The first spin-off, though, will not be based on a Julia Quinn book but is inspired by Queen Charlotte, played in the series by Golda Rosheuvel. Shonda Rhimes is writing the script and it’s being called a limited series, so I don’t think this will be a full-fledged companion series, but a one-off diving into a fan favorite character. (If this becomes a thing with Bridgerton, can we get a web series or something about Prince Friedrich, just letting us know if that nice boy found a nice girl to settle down with.) The series will depict Queen Charlotte’s youth, and presumably, her marriage to King George III and her rise to the top of English and European society. It will be interesting to see this story with the Bridgerton spin, because, as Lady Danbury said in season one, it is Charlotte’s marriage to George that paved the way for a post-racial society in England. Not that it mattered in any material way to season one of Bridgerton, but I wonder if this is now a chance to look more fully into that alternate history and the massive ripple effect it would have (like, what’s going on with England’s subjugation of India, Australia, and New Zealand?). Or maybe it will just be another candy-colored gossip sesh for a younger Charlotte, who will be joined by a younger Violet Bridgerton and Lady Danbury, too.
This news broke on Friday afternoon, and tucked alongside it was an update on seasons three and four of Bridgerton—the Benedict and Colin seasons—which is that Chris Van Dusen will be departing as showrunner after season two and Jess Brownell, a Bridgerton veteran, will take the reins for the next seasons. The statements everyone made go to great lengths to make this sound like no big deal—Van Dusen and Brownell are both from Shondaland, and Van Dusen says he has new projects he wants to pursue—but they dumped the news on a Friday afternoon and buried it under a flashy announcement of a spin-off. If that doesn’t set off your smut radar, nothing will. Maybe there is no smut! Maybe Van Dusen really likes establishing new shows but doesn’t want to keep the machine running for years and years. Some people prefer that, just like some people like to be the one to keep the wheels turning for a while. But again, Friday afternoon news dump. I HOPE we never hear anything fishy about Bridgerton—please do not make me worry about this show, not when I am SO excited for the future seasons—but I won’t be surprised if we eventually hear something fishy about Bridgerton.
(Lainey PS: in other Bridgerton news, Regé-Jean Page won the Breakthrough Award at the MTV Movie and TV Awards last night. He’s also consistently coming up in the frontrunner list for Emmys considering. So his Bridgerton days aren’t quite behind him yet.)