By Maureen Lee Lenker
Updated April 02, 2021 at 03:18 PM EDT
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Dear reader, we know you're anxious for news of the Bridgerton family.

So, Lady Whistledown — er, EW — has decided to round up everything we know about the second season of Bridgerton and put it all here in one scandal sheet for your perusal.

Shondaland and Netflix's hit series returns to production this spring, and we're as eager to see season 2 as Queen Charlotte is to uncover the identity of Lady Whistledown. But let these morsels of gossip tide you over for now, and keep checking back for updates.

Anthony will be the focus

"The show was always set out to be primarily one book per season," showrunner Chris Van Dusen previously told EW. By all accounts, that model will be followed in the second season.

Season 1 centered on Daphne (Phoebe Dyvenor) and Simon (Regé-Jean Page) and their fauxmance-turned-marriage, hewing largely to the plot of Julia Quinn's first Bridgerton novel, The Duke and I.

BRIDGERTON
Jonathan Baily in 'Bridgerton' season 1
| Credit: NICK BRIGGS/NETFLIX

Season 2 will use the second book in the series, The Viscount Who Loved Me, as its primary story line. The novel positions eldest Bridgerton brother Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) as its hero. If it follows the novel closely, season 2 will find Anthony facing off against Kate Sharma (the surname changed from Sheffield in the novel) as he works to secure a marriage to her sister, only to find himself infuriatingly intrigued by Kate.

Showrunner Chris Van Dusen nodded to this emphasis on Anthony when announcing season 2 on The Today Show.

"Season 2 we're really going to be with the eldest Bridgerton brother next season, Lord Anthony Bridgerton, played by Jonathan Bailey," he said. "We left him at the end of the first season at a bit of a crossroads, so I'm looking forward to jumping in and discovering how he fares on the marriage market."

The official season 2 announcement also teased Anthony's plans to "dominate the social season."

For his part, Bailey is excited to dig into this next chapter of Anthony's life after season 1 left him nursing a broken heart when his too-little, too-late grand gesture to opera singer Siena (Sabrina Bartlett) failed to mend their relationship.

"When you get someone to the breaking point, that's really when someone hopefully can come into their life and they can flower," he teased to EW previously.

Most of the cast will return — but not Regé-Jean Page

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Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dyvenor in 'Bridgerton' season 1
| Credit: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

While some characters' fates on the series remain up in the air (please give Marina and Siena the happy endings they deserve), it looks as if the vast majority of the cast will be returning for season 2 — with one notable exception.

The Bridgerton social media accounts announced April 2 that breakout star Regé-Jean Page won't be back for the second season. The announcement, written in the voice of Lady Whistledown, added that the Duke of Hastings "will always be a part of the Bridgerton family" and confirmed the return of Phoebe Dyvenor as Daphne, who "will remain a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer — more intrigue and romance than my readers may be able to bear."

Page told Variety that part of the show's appeal had always been the anthology-like approach to the storytelling, with new protagonists at the forefront each season.

"It felt like a limited series. I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit, and then the Bridgerton family rolls on," he said. "I have nothing but excitement for Bridgerton continuing to steam train off and conquer the globe. But there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing."

Simone Ashley is a major new face (though not the only one)

While most of our favorites will be returning, there will also be new faces to shake up the ton.

The biggest casting announcement for season 2 so far is that of Sex Education's Simone Ashley in a major role, as Kate Sharma. Kate will catch Anthony's eye and prove to be just the force needed to throw the Bridgerton family into disarray once more.

Simone Ashley
Simone Ashley in 'Sex Education'
| Credit: Netflix

According to the official character description, Kate is "newly arrived in London" and is a "smart, headstrong young woman who suffers no fools — Anthony Bridgerton very much included."

Speaking on the character of Kate in the novels, Bailey told EW he hopes his character "meets someone who is as opinionated and offended by Anthony as we all are," adding that he thinks the book version of Kate is a "brilliant character. She hopefully will be the voice of the audience and then they'll work something out together."

In early April, Shondaland announced the addition of several more cast members: Charithra Chandran, Rupert Young, Shelley Conn, and Calam Lynch. Chandran and Conn round out the Sharma family. Chandran will portray Edwina, Kate's kind-natured, younger sister intent on a love match, and the original object of Anthony's affections. Conn will feature as Mary, mother to Edwina and Kate, whose return to London forces her to endure the scrutiny of the ton once more.

The two men are new faces to the world of Bridgerton, playing characters not in the original novels. Young will play a mysterious figure named Jack, the newest member of the ton with a connection to one of its most notable families. Lynch is taking on the role of Theo Sharpe, a hard-working printer's assistant with an intellectual bent and interest in fighting for equal rights.

Production is starting this spring

When Netflix announced the season 2 renewal for Bridgerton back in January, it was with the promise that production would begin in the spring.

In February, Bailey confirmed to EW that he'd already started his prep, including literally getting back in the saddle. He also cheekily teased he was brushing up on his croquet skills, referencing one of the book series' most famous sequences from book 2, a Bridgerton family pall mall game. But he noted that it was still too early to begin growing his ample Regency sideburns.

Neither Shondaland nor Netflix ever officially named a start date, but by March 14, it seemed likely that production was imminent. Luke Newton, who plays Colin Bridgerton on the series, posted a series of Instagram photos with the caption: "The boys are back in town."

The accompanying images featured him in costume on horseback with costar Luke Thompson (Benedict Bridgerton), and Thompson and Bailey mugging on set. Many assumed the images signaled that cameras were rolling again, but Newton later added the hashtags "#throwback" and "#season1" to clarify the photos were not new.

His costar Nicola Coughlan, who plays Penelope Featherington, also confirmed on her Twitter that production hadn't started yet. In response to a tweet announcing the start of filming, she replied, "Not yet! Wigs and dresses yet to be made but soon!"

Expect the unexpected

While The Viscount Who Loved Me is a great blueprint for the season, there will of course be changes and new plot details (just as there were in season 1).

"There's always going to be differences from source material," Van Dusen previously told EW, "But the fans of the books are going to see that the elements they love of the books on screen too: the way the siblings banter, the way Violet loves her children, and the love stories at the hearts of each book — these moving, sweeping romances with all the twists and turns, and their steaminess."

Bailey echoed the sentiment that fans should stay on their toes.

"[Fans] can just expect a lot from everyone," he teased. "It was such an amazing introduction to the world via Daphne and Simon. But there's so many brilliant characters that have got so much going on, so my tease would be enjoy your year and don't get comfy and thinking you know what's going to happen."

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Bridgerton (TV show)

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