The series, created by Shonda Rhimes (Shondaland), is based on a collection of eight individually-titled Regency romance novels, written by Julia Quinn.
Daniel Francis (Stay Close), Sam Phillips (The Crown), and James Phoon (Wreck) have been added to its Season 3 cast. It will also see the return of Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley), Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie), Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh), Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel), Lady Portia Featherington (Polly Walker) and Lady Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell), among others.
According to Netflix, the third season will focus on the relationship between Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan), which diverts from the order of Quinn's novels.
Speaking to AdWeek, Rhimes outlined plans for the upcoming seasons: “We went in very clearly saying that there are eight books, so there are going to be eight seasons. And part of the adjustment at Netflix is this idea that that’s not how they do things.
She continued: “I would go, 'So, we’re just going to make eight seasons of this.' To me, eight seasons of eight episodes doesn’t sound like a lot. That’s not even a year of episodes of [when I had three] ABC shows! But that’s just not how they lay things out.”
An official synopsis from Netflix reads: “Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) has finally given up on her long-held crush on Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) after hearing his disparaging words about her last season. She has, however, decided it’s time to take a husband, preferably one who will provide her with enough independence to continue her double life as Lady Whistledown, far away from her mother and sisters. But lacking in confidence, Penelope’s attempts on the marriage mart fail spectacularly.
“Meanwhile, Colin has returned from his summer travels with a new look and a serious sense of swagger. But he’s disheartened to realize that Penelope, the one person who always appreciated him as he was, is giving him the cold shoulder. Eager to win back her friendship, Colin offers to mentor Penelope in the ways of confidence to help her find a husband this season. But when his lessons start working a little too well, Colin must grapple with whether his feelings for Penelope are truly just friendly. Complicating matters for Penelope is her rift with Eloise (Claudia Jessie), who has found a new friend in a very unlikely place, while Penelope’s growing presence in the ton makes it all the more difficult to keep her Lady Whistledown alter ego a secret.”
Season 3 also welcomes new showrunner and executive producer Jess Brownell, who replaces Chris Van Dusen following his exit last season. However, he will stay on as EP for season 3, alongside Rhimes, Betsy Beers, and Tom Verica.