TV & Movies

Bridgerton’s Showrunner Expected Backlash For Changing Francesca’s Story

It’s a major departure from the original books.


The Bridgerton showrunner isn’t surprised that changes to Francesca’s love story are dividing fans. Spoilers ahead for Bridgerton Season 3.

In the sixth book of Julia Quinn’s series, on which the Netflix drama is based, Francesca Bridgerton marries twice. First, she weds John Stirling, Earl of Kilmartin. However, when John tragically dies, she eventually remarries his cousin, Michael Stirling.

In the final episode of Bridgerton Season 3, Part 2, it was revealed that the character of Michael has been changed to Michaela, played by newcomer Masali Baduza, suggesting that Francesca’s romance will play out as a queer love story.

While the departure from Quinn’s books was welcomed by many fans, the decision drew criticism from others. Speaking recently to Teen Vogue, showrunner Jess Brownell addressed the backlash.

“The fact of the matter is, the fan base is not a monolith, and you’re never going to please every single side of the fan base,” she said. “Deciding to tell a queer story with Francesca, I spoke with Julia Quinn. I got her blessing.”

She continued, “We talked about the fact that with almost any single book, there would be a side of the fandom that would be disheartened to see their favorite characters changed.”

Masali Baduza as Michaela in Bridgerton Season 3. Netflix / 'Bridgerton'

Brownell also revealed why she chose to change this particular love story, explaining that she felt Francesca’s book “accurately reflects a queer experience.”

“Her book is very much about [Francesca] feeling different, and not really knowing why,” she continued to Teen Vogue. “As a queer woman, a lot of my queer experience, and I think a lot of my friends’ [experiences, have] been about that sense of feeling different and navigating what that means.”

Francesca Isn’t The Only Queer Character

In a separate interview with Vanity Fair, Brownell reiterated that she was “prepared” for some backlash after revealing the queer identities of Francesca and Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson), the latter of whom explored his sexual fluidity in Season 3.

“I understand that people are very attached to the way the books are. The books will always be there, and those stories are unchanged,” she told the outlet. “So while book fans will always have their Michael, it felt like queer fans didn’t have anyone in either the books or in the series who was really featured to relate to.”