The "Bridgerton" Showrunner Broke Down *That* Francesca Moment

The "Bridgerton" Showrunner Broke Down *That* Francesca Moment

WARNING: Major spoilers for Bridgerton Season 3 and mild spoilers for When He Was Wicked ahead.

Dearest gentle reader, by now you should know that Season 3 of the Netflix hit sees two of the titular Bridgerton family have their queer awakening.

  Liam Daniel/Netflix
Liam Daniel/Netflix

Firstly, there's Benedict, whose arc involves becoming open to intimacy with both Lady Tilley and her friend Paul.

Benedict in an intimate scene with Lady Tilley and Paul
Netflix

Then there's Francesca, who has her spluttering moment of love at first sight with her husband's cousin, Michaela — which is a gender-swapped version of what happens in the books with a "Michael."

A closeup of Francesca when she first sees Michaela
Netflix

In an interview with Teen Vogue, showrunner Jess Brownell broke down what went into making those moments. Specifically, she said that she had wanted to turn Michael into Michaela from Season 1 — and that author Julia Quinn "blessed" the change.

Michaela speaking to Francesca
Netflix

"My approach to telling a queer story on Bridgerton has been to look to the books for thematic cues," Jess explained. "I didn't want to just insert a queer character for queer character's sake. I want to tell a story that accurately reflects a queer experience, and the first time I read Francesca's book, I really identified with it as a queer woman."

  Netflix
Netflix

Jess began telling Francesca's story this season, starting with the debutante expressing that she had never imagined what her husband would be like. Noting that "a lot of research and thought historically" went into the writing, she continued, "I think it was important for me in planning a queer story to think about how we might be able to tell a happily ever after and show queer joy, which we don't always get to see in period pieces."

Francesca looking into a mirror as she puts on earrings

Without spoiling future episodes, she added, "There are some good examples from history, without giving too much away, of women like Francesca, who are able to carve out happily ever afters."

Netflix

Citing Queen Charlotte's exploration of race, Jess said that future episodes "might potentially tell a new origin story of how the Bridgerton world might move towards a more inclusive society in terms of sexuality."

Screenshot from "Bridgerton"

Jess further said that she knows the fandom is not "a monolith," and any changes will always upset some — but that the way she resonated with Francesca's book led her to go ahead with the "natural adaptation."

Netflix

Benedict's fluid sexuality — what Brownell and the Shondaland team call "pansexual" in contemporary terms — was planned from the first season. Jess said, "I do think it makes sense for Benedict's character. He's someone who is really about spirit, energy, and a connection of minds and interests, and doesn't play by the rules; it made sense to me that he would be someone who is not as focused on gender so much as he is on connection."

Benedict leans in as he and another man are about to kiss
Netflix

As for what's in store for Benedict, Jess said, "There are some clues at the end of this season, in Episode 8, about where we're heading with Benedict, and there's a lot more to come from his storyline. We'll continue exploring his fluidity, and we're continuing to explore his relationship to what he wants out of life."

  Netflix
Netflix

You can read the full interview here.

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