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Stop the Presses: ‘Bridgerton’ Season 3 Will Spotlight Penelope and Colin

Rejoice Polin fans, for a beloved Bridgerton couple is about to step into the spotlight. This evening, at a Bridgerton For Your Consideration panel in Hollywood, Lady Whistledown herself dropped the biggest gossip of the season. LeadNicola Coughlan announced that Season 3 of the regency romance will focus on the relationship between her own Penelope Feathington and Penelope’s long-standing crush, Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton). This is an exciting shakeup from Bridgerton’s inspiration, Julia Quinn’s books of the same name; Penelope and Colin’s love story is told in the fourth book, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, rather than the third.

Coughlan learned she would be Bridgerton’s next hero during what she assumed was a routine phone call last year with Season 3 showrunner Jess Brownell. With a few months to adjust to the surprise, the Irish actor now thinks a center-stage Polin season makes sense. “I feel like if you see Penelope fawning over this boy for another season, you’ll be like, ‘Get it together! Come on, move on and get over it,’ ” Coughlan tells Tudum before the FYC event. “Jess has talked to Luke and I through the season, and I think people are going to be really obsessed. I think book fans are going to be happy.”

Looking ahead, Coughlan knows fans are most excited for “the racy stuff” from Romancing Mister Bridgerton. While she can’t confirm which pieces of Colin and Penelope’s sexier moments will make it to screen, she promises, “From what I have heard, I think people are going to be extremely pleased.” Now she must prepare for her first Bridgerton love scene, whatever that may be — previous seasons have suggested anything is possible, from sex montages that break the internet to steamy outdoor dalliances.

“I have shot sex scenes before, but not in the Bridgerton way. It’s really funny, because Luke and I have known each other now three years,” Coughlan says. “In the beginning, we used to joke about [the inevitably of one together] all the time.” Now it’s no longer a hypothetical bit of comedy. “I couldn’t ask for a better partner to go into this with, and I have such trust in Luke, and I hope he has it in me to go forward on it.”

Newton is equally excited to dive into the season. “I love Polin,” Newton says brightly over Zoom in the days leading up to the announcement. His “favorite” hobby is occasionally peeking at the Polin ship hashtag. “There’s so much love for that relationship, which brings its pressures because there are people that are really excited about this story to come to the forefront,” he says. “But also it really warms me.”

Still, Newton knows everyone isn’t feeling quite so warm toward Colin following the events of the Season 2 finale. During the episode, Colin tells a group of ton men that he would “never dream of courting” Penelope. What he doesn’t know is that she’s behind him listening. Penelope leaves the ball heartbroken.

“That very last comment is what I’ve got the most stick about from fans since we’ve finished,” Newton admits of the “savage” scene. Newton believes Colin saw the cruel turn of phrase as a “throwaway comment” at a drunken party, but what really matters is “how important it is to the audience and how important it is to Penelope.” In fact, it’s possible Colin’s willful obliviousness is the biggest obstacle to romance heading into Season 3. After all, Colin isn’t currently pursuing anyone at all.

“Maybe that’s Colin’s excuse: He’s not looking for [love] at all,” Newton theorizes. “If he was actively out there constantly looking for the right person, and she’s right in front of him, you’d be even more frustrated. Maybe he needs to focus on love and romance, rather than his business pursuits or his desire to travel.”

With a Polin romance on the horizon, it seems such an evolution is inevitable. This upcoming storyline will be Bridgerton’s first foray into the friends-to-lovers trope, after two seasons of tortured sudden attraction. Couglan calls the pair “the Ross and Rachel” of Bridgerton, adding, “But Penelope is the Ross. She’s the one secretly harboring the love for him.” Newton wants to see another side to his character. “I’m hoping that he has sort of a more sensitive side to him,” Newton says. “I love that we are exploring a relationship that so many people have had, where you form a friendship and you get to know each other down to the core. Then it sparks something from there.”

These are the kinds of feelings songs are written about — and Bridgerton isn’t Bridgerton without its orchestral pop covers. Coughlan, Newton and Brownell have a group chat filled with musical options for Penelope and Colin. Coughlan is partial to a “a bunch of Billie Eilish” tracks. Newton’s frontrunner is “Yellow” by Coldplay — “Because of Penelope’s dresses,” he explains. Choosing songs based on the object of your desire’s wardrobe? Someone is ready to be a romantic hero.

Written by Ariana Romero
Published May 16, 2022