[This story contains major spoilers for the second season of Netflix’s Bridgerton.]

At the end of its long anticipated second season, fans were left hanging on the edge of their seats for what comes next in Shondaland’s Bridgerton. Season three and four are already confirmed — along with a Queen Charlotte origin story spinoff — and The Hollywood Reporter spoke with the cast about what they think the future holds in the Bridgerton universe.

Based on the popular novel series by Julia Quinn, each of the eight Bridgerton novels are dedicated to one of the eight siblings. If the show continues to follow the order of the novels, next up is second Bridgerton brother Benedict (Luke Thompson), whose romance is chronicled in Quinn’s An Offer From a Gentleman. (Netflix hasn’t yet revealed if the series will continue follow the same chronology as the books.) Meanwhile, season two star Simone Ashley, who plays Anthony’s (Jonathan Bailey) new wife Kate Sharma, confirmed that she will be returning for season three.

“She’s going to be viscountess, so I’m super excited to continue the story,” says Ashley.

As for Bailey, he hopes that Kate and Anthony will get a chance to continue the joy they found with each other when they got married at the end of the season two finale, adding that the last shot of them together in season two is one of his favorites in the entire series.

“But there’s going to be complication [ahead],” he warns. “They’re not simple people. I know they will work as a unit, and I know he’ll be completely devoted to her, so I’m excited to see that and to explore [that]. In the book and source material, there’s so much about her past and his past, so seeing maybe perhaps conversations where they acknowledge that further, and they have a really rich connection, just exploring that a bit further will be great. The payoff of the slow burn I think will continue for the years to come.”

Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma with Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in season two.
Courtesy of Liam Daniel/Netflix

At the beginning of the second season, which released March 25 to record viewing, Bailey’s Anthony is courting Kate’s sister, the season’s “diamond,” Edwina (Charithra Chandran) because he believes she’ll be a good, amiable wife, which is all he was aiming for before Kate flipped his life upside down.

Though Chandran hasn’t been officially confirmed for any future seasons, the actress has hopes for her character’s storyline.

“I obviously do want Edwina to find love, but I think there is a far more important story to be told first, and then love can happen, which is one of self-discovery,” Chandran says. “I hope, at least in the short-term, there’s a lot of excitement and adventure for Edwina.”

As the various Bridgerton family romances take hold over the course of novels and series, the one common thread is the writings and adventures of Lady Whistledown, better known as Penelope Featherington (played by Nicola Coughlan). This season, Penelope steps into a more business-minded role as the famed gossip columnist. But it all comes crashing down when the final episode sees her experience a brutal falling out with best friend Eloise, when the Bridgerton sister discovers Penelope’s secret.

“I’m deeply curious,” says Coughlan about where she wonders Lady Whistledown’s journey will take her next. “What she’s been through, I imagine it would harden her. In this season, she’s very much on a journey where you see the success of how Whistledown is impacting her in ways she doesn’t realize. I think she’s become a little arrogant in certain ways, and she’s become sort of really needy of Eloise’s praise.”

She continued, “She’s spinning a lot of plates and not really managing it as well as she would like to think so. I think it’s a real ‘pride comes before a fall’ type season for her. I think she’s fallen pretty much as low as she can get, losing Eloise, losing Colin. Whistledown’s all she’s got. I imagine it’s going to be very interesting, where we see her starting off season three.”

In addition to a friendship-ending fight with Eloise, Penelope is left heartbroken after she overhears Colin mock the notion of courting her.

“I really hope that’s where we kick off for the next season,” says Luke Newton, who plays the middle Bridgerton brother, of what’s to come for Colin and Penelope. “I really want to know more, and I don’t want to annoy people by sending messages to writers to find out what’s going on.”

He adds, “It’s really difficult to defend him in that situation because he’s done so much good throughout, particularly throughout episode eight. It feels like he’s a knight in shining armor at some points. But he’s also made a couple of mistakes, which can totally counterbalance the good stuff, which is really frustrating. He was on cloud nine from feeling like the hero. He’s obviously been celebrating, he’s had a few drinks with the lads and kind of just got carried away. But I don’t think he means any of it in a malicious way. He’s just like being one of the lads, and I think he would be devastated to know that she ever heard what he’d said.”

As for the fate of Colin and Penelope’s relationship, fans of the book series will know that (spoiler alert!) the pair have their own love story in Quinn’s fourth novel Romancing Mister Bridgerton. “I think the foundations have been set for that, and I think it’s been really nice to explore that on a really dragged-out scale,” the actor says. “It’s really nice to represent different love stories and see how these two best friends, gradually, hopefully, perhaps they’ll fall in love. I’m really excited to see what the future brings and how much longer Colin can go without seeing what’s right in front of his eyes, really.”

Now that Eloise knows Penelope’s true identity, could Colin be the next Bridgerton to find out?

“That’s one I cannot wait to read if that ever happens,” Newton says of a Lady Whistledown reveal moment for Colin. “I hope sooner rather than later, because I’m dying to know his reaction. He’s obviously got a very close connection with her, just like Eloise does, but I think it’s difficult because … is he over the stuff with Marina? That’s the only scandal that he’s really been involved in with Whistledown. But then, is he going to be okay with being lied to for however many years? It’s put his family in very difficult positions every now and then. So it’s definitely going to stir things up, particularly now with Eloise sort of writing off her best friend. It’ll be really interesting if Penelope has any loyalty to the Bridgertons at all, because they’ve been kept quite safe because of their connection. And now she isn’t close with anyone because Colin’s been horrible and Eloise has found out everything. I’m really excited to see how the Bridgertons are treated next year.”

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Nicola Coughlan and Claudia Jessie, as Penelope and Eloise, respectively.
Courtesy of Netflix

This season also sees middle Bridgerton sister Eloise (played by Claudia Jessie) embark upon many new beginnings, including that of a budding romance. Moving into future seasons, Jessie hopes Eloise leans into her more feminist and forward-thinking interests.

“I really hope that she gets political,” Jessie says of her hopes for Eloise’s trajectory. “That’d be the person you’d want to watch do that, as well. Right? Exploring different thoughts, different ideas, different parts of society. I’d love to see that really expand. Because, at the moment, she’s just sucking in information, isn’t she? She’s been a bit of a sponge, but I’d love her to find a clear objective and to become political.”

Adjoa Andoh, who plays the formidable and wise Lady Danbury, hopes to collaborate more with other characters in the coming seasons, including Eloise — “I think she loves the fire of Eloise,” Andoh says — and Penelope.

“I have to say, although she appears not to give her much attention, I think [Lady Danbury] quite liked Lady Featherington,” the actress adds about the Featherington matriarch (played by Polly Walker). “I think there’s something about Lady Featherington’s determination. I would really love to see a bit more of them.”

But Andoh is still holding out for Lady Danbury to have a romance of her own. “I would love Lady Danbury to have someone to love,” she said. “It would be so great. And I just love her appetite. So I would love anything that allows more of that appetite to be present.”

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Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury (left) and Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte.
Courtesy of Liam Daniel/Netflix

Though Bridgerton is only confirmed for two more seasons, so far, showrunner Chris Van Dusen hopes he gets the chance to explore all eight of the Bridgerton siblings’ love stories.

“It’s really any creator’s goal to create characters that can sustain the lifetime of a series, and in this case, I was able to even create characters that could sustain an entire franchise and multiple series, like what’s happening with Queen Charlotte,” he says. “So, it’s a show that’s turning to multiple shows, and the franchise has really been able to expand, so I’m definitely excited to see where else you can go.”

Christy Piña contributed to this report.

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