About! Damn! Time! Bridgerton’s third season has finally confirmed fan theories by making one of its main characters LGBTQIA+.

Major spoilers ahead. 

The second half of the season premiered 13 June on Netflix, following Penelope (Nichola Coughlan) as she prepares to wed Bridgerton sibling Colin (Luke Newton). At the same time, she grapples with whether to tell him her true identity as the gossip author Lady Whistledown.

Elsewhere, Benedict (Luke Thompson) continues his romance with Tilley Arnold (Hannah New). The second Bridgerton son spots his lover making out with her friend Paul (Lucas Aurielo), leading to them inviting him for a threesome. Although Benedict rejects them, he soon changes his mind and kisses Paul.

It escalates from there, with the trio sleeping together on multiple occasions and Benedict sharing that he loves a “party of three”. Ultimately, Tilley asks if Benedict would prefer a monogamous relationship, to which he declines, telling her that she’s “opened his world”.

Fans have long theorised that Benedict is queer since the first season, which saw him develop a close friendship with Sir Henry Granville, Bridgerton’s only confirmed queer character (at the time!).

While no romance took place between Henry and Benedict, their electric chemistry seemed to suggest that the creatives behind the Netflix series were hinting at the possibility.

Despite former showrunner Chris Van Dusen crushing any hope of a Henry/Benedict romance when he told TV Line that their relationship was strictly platonic, Thompson teased that Benedict’s “lovely openness and fluidity” could “go anywhere”.

And, back in April, new showrunner Jess Brownell told PRIDE that queer-led stories are a major priority for her.

“This is a show about love in its many forms, and I think that it’s only right for us to foreground queer love and to tell queer stories,” she said. “I want to see more queer joy on my screens, and that was definitely a priority for me when I stepped into the showrunner role.”

She made good on her promise!

In a new interview with Bustle, Thompson praised his character’s “refreshing” storyline and how he approaches his “feelings in a spirit of curiosity”.

“Male sexuality, particularly, can feel boxy in the way that it’s explored,” he said. “Let’s be clear, it was an extremely repressive period.

“By our modern terms, the closest [descriptor] would be something along the lines of pansexuality — being attracted to the way that someone thinks and feels, regardless of gender. That’s a word that could be used.

“But what’s refreshing about it, certainly in the way that it’s being discovered at the moment, is that there is a sense of label-lessness about it.”

The second half of season three also sees another major character become a little fruity: Francesca (Hannah Todd). Throughout the new episodes, the sixth Bridgerton sibling continues to explore her romance with John (Victor Alli), the Earl of Kilmartin.

Following their wedding in the season finale, John introduces Francesca and Eloise (Claudia Jessie) to his cousin Michaela Stirling, where an instant connection forms between her and Francesca.

In his interview with Bustle, Thompson was asked about his reaction to the surprise twist to Francesca’s storyline, to which he responded: “To welcome positive, happy queer love storylines [that aren’t] all about angst or tragedy or things going wrong, it’s a really lovely thing.”

With each season of Bridgerton focusing on the trials and tribulations of one specific couple, fans are hopeful that season four will take a queer-oriented approach with either Benedict or Francesca as the lead. For the first time in the show’s history, it’s finally possible.

The third season of Bridgerton is now streaming on Netflix.