'Bridgerton' Recasts Francesca for Season 3 of Netflix Hit

Netflix's hit Regency era drama Bridgerton has found a new Francesca Bridgerton. The streamer confirmed Thursday that Anatomy of a Scandal actress Hannah Dodd will take over the role as the second youngest Bridgerton sister, behind Daphne and Eloise, from Ruby Stokes, who portrayed Francesca throughout the hit series' first two seasons. Dodd will join the cast in the role for Bridgerton Season 3, which does not yet have a premiere date.

Per Netflix's character description, Francesca is "a bit of a mystery within her chatty, extroverted family. Despite her reserved nature, she goes along to get along when it comes to society affairs, fortified with a dry wit and pragmatism that confound the fickle ton yet seem to draw attention when she least desires it." Up until this point, however, Francesca has had limited screen time. The character did not appear on screen until the Season 1 finale, and while she was planned to have a much larger role in Season 2, she only appeared in a handful of episodes, as Stokes had to leave after shooting just three episodes due to a prior commitment to another Netflix series, Lockwood & Co, Deadline reported.

The fate of Francesca's continued appearance on Bridgerton was left up in the air after executive producer and showrunner Chris Van Dusen told TVLine in March, "I love Francesca, but we lost her midway through Season 2." He added, "exhausting all other options, she unfortunately had to come out due to reasons beyond our control. Perhaps Season 3 will be the charm." However, it was hinted as far back as December that the Francesca character could be recast. At the time, a casting notice for the role as a new series regular was put out.

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At this time, it remains unclear how large of a role Dodd's Francesca will play in the upcoming third season. Netflix has not yet announced a plot for the season. The Bridgerton series is based on Julia Quinn's book series, with the first season's source material being The Duke and I, focusing on the romance between Daphne and Simon, and Season 2 drawing from The Viscount Who Loved Me, which focused on Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma. Francesc, meanwhile, takes center stage in a romance of her own in the sixth book of the series, When He Was Wicked. Bridgerton Season 3 is set to begin production this summer.