Bridgerton showrunner Jess Brownell has shared exciting new details about Francesca’s upcoming queer storyline.

Major spoilers ahead.

Back in April, Brownell revealed to PRIDE that LGBTQIA+-led stories were coming to the hit Netflix series, describing it as 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 told the news outlet.

“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.”

Since announcing the exciting news, fans have wondered which Bridgerton character could be the new queer lead.

Fortunately for viewers, the wait finally came to an end on 13 June when the second half of season three made its way to Netflix.

Picking up where part one left off, the new batch of episodes follows 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, Francesca (Hannah Dodd) continues her romance with the handsome and quiet John Stirling (Victor Alli). While the pair experienced a few hiccups – which were partly due to Violet Bridgerton – they eventually got married in a small, quaint ceremony.

However, during the season three finale, Francesca’s story takes a surprising and exciting queer turn.

Before departing Mayfair for Scotland, John introduces Francesca to his charismatic cousin Michaela Stirling (Masali Baduza), who leaves the Bridgerton sibling utterly speechless.


While the scene was brief, it was an instant hit with LGBTQIA+ fans due to the character – who’s set to be Francesca’s next big love – originally being a man named Michael in Julia Quinn’s book series.

One viewer on X, formerly known as Twitter, wrote: “Francesca forgetting her own name because of Michaela.”

Another person tweeted: “Francesca was already the IT girl and now she’s gay ??? Ohhhh, I’m seated #Bridgerton.”

Shortly after the release of season three part two, Brownell spilt the tea to Deadline about the iconic queer twist and how it came to be, revealing that she’s been pitching a Francesca queer story from the beginning.

“When I read her book, I, as a queer woman, really related to her book. Maybe in a way Julia Quinn didn’t intend, but a lot of Francesca’s book is about feeling different from her family and from the world around her and not really knowing why,” she explained.

“In the book, I think it’s mostly just about being introverted. But I think for a lot of queer people, not every queer person, but a lot of queer people, that sense of feeling different from the time you’re young, is part of our stories. So, it felt like a natural gender bend.” 

As for what fans can expect from Francesca and Michaela’s love story, Brownell confirmed that their romance will have a happy ending and steer clear of queer trauma.

“I think when approaching a queer story, it’s very important to me that in this world of happily ever afters that we are able to see a queer happily ever after and not let it be queer trauma,” she explained.

In addition to Francesca, the second part of Bridgerton season three confirmed Benedict (Luke Thompson) as a queer lead, which has been a longstanding theory within the fandom since season one.

For more information on his exciting queer awakening, click here.