Ruby Stokes as Francesca Bridgerton in Bridgerton

Francesca Bridgerton Is Changing in More Ways Than One in ‘Bridgerton’ Season 3

Bridgerton season 3 part 1 is right around the corner, and viewers can expect to see the return of Francesca Bridgerton, though she may look a little different this season.

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Bridgerton is based on the book series of the same name by Julia Quinn and follows two elite families as they navigate the Regency era in England, experiencing triumphs and scandals in their quests to find love. In particular, the show follows the Bridgerton and Featherington families during “the season,” a period in which well-to-do families are supposed to hold social events and find suitable partners for their children to marry.

The Bridgerton family includes eight siblings—four boys and four girls—with the two eldest girls, Daphne (Pheobe Dynevor) and Eloise (Claudia Jessie), coming of age to make their societal debuts in seasons 1 and 2, respectively.

That means the third-oldest Bridgerton daughter, Francesca, is next in line to make her formal debut in season 3. The prospect of finally seeing Francesca navigating the social scene with her oldest brothers and sisters is quite exciting, as she’s always been one of the more mysterious Bridgerton children. Naturally, the show focuses more prominently on the siblings who are of age to begin fulfilling societal expectations and mingling with potential love interests. However, Francesca has been seen even less than her younger siblings. Usually, she can be glimpsed in just 2-3 episodes per season, either playing piano or supporting her sisters. Several aspects of the character will be changing in season 3, though.

Why is Francesca being recast in Bridgerton season 3?

One reason Francesca has been seen so seldomly in Bridgerton is actor Ruby Stokes’ busy schedule. Stokes landed a lead role in another Netflix series, Lockwood & Co., in 2022. Initially, she was supposed to have a larger role in Bridgerton season 2, which is why she appeared in the first three episodes. However, her obligations to Lockwood & Co. required her to leave season 2 prematurely, resulting in Francesca’s abrupt disappearance.

Stokes was still busy with Lockwood & Co. by the time Bridgerton season 3 was entering pre-production, resulting in the character’s recasting. Deadline broke the news in May of 2022, reporting that Enola Holmes 2 star Hannah Dodd would portray Francesca in the new season. Although the news may be disappointing for fans of Stokes, the recasting means the mysterious character can finally take center stage in Bridgerton.

A new teaser for Bridgerton season 3 confirms that, as anticipated, Francesca will make her “dazzling debut” in the new season. However, her path may not be very smooth as the teaser questions what happens if the girl is not prepared to make her debut and does not desire the attention of many.

Francesca’s mysterious nature isn’t wholly because of her limited screen time in the show. Even when present, she is the most quiet, reserved, and introverted of the Bridgerton family. She always chooses her words carefully and isn’t keen on being an open book. It’s easy to see that making her debut could be anxiety-inducing to one so private. Given how few period romances focus on introverts who struggle with social anxiety, Bridgerton season 3’s delve into Francesca’s debut could be quite interesting.

(featured image: Netflix)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.