“I trust Shondaland’s vision”: “Bridgerton” author tells fans angry over gender bend to have “faith”

“I trust Shondaland’s vision”: “Bridgerton” author tells fans angry over gender bend to have “faith”

Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton, Victor Alli as John Stirling, Masali Baduza as Michaela in “Bridgerton” (Liam Daniel/Netflix)

The following contains spoilers for “Bridgerton” Season 3 and from the books on which the show is based

Julia Quinn, the author behind the “Bridgerton” book series, has responded to the ire of fans who took issue with a gender twist in the finale of the Netflix adaptation’s third season.

After Francesa Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd) marries Lord John Stirling, Earl of Kilmartin (Victor Alli), she comes face to face with his cousin Michaela Stirling (Masali Baduza) and has an instant, visceral reaction. Francesca flubs her words and forgets her own name. It’s a shocking appearance to Quinn’s readership as well because those familiar with the books recognize a version of that name: Michael. Warning: spoilers ahead the books.

It turns out that Netflix’s adaptation of “Bridgerton” has gender-bent cousin Michael – the man who will eventually win Francesca’s heart after the death of John – to be Michaela, which will make the first queer love story official for one of the eight Bridgerton siblings. While many who have been watching the series celebrated the change especially for Pride month, the swap was received poorly by much of the “Bridgerton” book fan base, with many opining that the addition of a new queer character and subplot was too much of a diversion from the book’s original content. Discourse raged online.

On Monday Quinn posted on her Instagram account a statement addressing the fandom’s outrage. “Anyone who has seen an interview with me from the past four years knows that I am deeply committed to the ‘Bridgerton’ world becoming more diverse and inclusive as the stories move from book to screen,” Quinn wrote. She acknowledged that “switching the gender of a major character is a huge change,” and explained that she consulted with showrunner Jess Brownell before “conferring my agreement.

“I trust Shondaland’s vision for ‘Bridgerton,’ but I wanted to be sure that we could remain true to the spirit of the book and of the characters,” Quinn added. 

“My publisher was worried that writing about Fran’s love for John would take away from Michael’s role as the eventual romance novel hero,” Quinn explained. “But I felt that if I didn’t show how deeply she loved John, and how deeply Michael, his cousin, also loved him, then their feelings of guilt at falling in love with each other after John’s death made no sense. I didn’t want to just tell the reader that they loved him. I wanted the reader to feel it.

“I’m confident now that when Francesca has her ‘Bridgerton’ season, it will be the most emotional and heart-wrenching story of the show,” the author continued. “I am grateful for your understanding and touched by your deep commitment to the characters of the ‘Bridgerton’ world. I ask that you grant me and the Shondaland team some faith as we move forward. I think we are going to end up with two stories, one on page and one on screen, and they will both be beautiful and moving.”

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *