Bridgerton showrunner Chris Van Dusen would love to have 8 seasons

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If you follow me on Twitter, then you’d know I am obsessed with all things Bridgerton. Most importantly with Bridgerton’s stars, Rege-Jean Page and Nicola Coughlin. But the stars of the show and episode six are not the only things I obsess about. As someone who hopes to work in film, I am always curious about how shows like Bridgerton are created. I love interviews about what goes on behind the scenes like set design, how historians advise the writers, costuming, and how the original material was adapted.

Luckily Bridgerton’s showrunner, Chris Van Dusen, is up to spilling the tea. Chris was interviewed for Collider. He gave fans an inside look at how the show was created. Chris talked about why it was important to create a diverse 19th century England, how he discovered that Queen Charlotte was mixed race, and said he hopes he can adapt all eight books for the show.

On how they ended up approaching diversity on the show
And, I think a lot of that came from collaborating hand in hand with the cast. Regé and I would have long conversations about his backstory. Adjoa Andoh plays Lady Danbury, and we would do the same. You really get to see those things reflected onscreen when you watch.

But also, working closely with historians, I learned this really fascinating fact that, Queen Charlotte was England’s first queen of mixed race. That’s something that many historians believe there’s evidence for today. And, it’s something that really resonated with me, because it made me wonder what could that have really looked like. And, what would have happened? What could she have done? Could the queen have elevated other people of color in society and granted them titles, and lands and dukedoms? And, that’s really how our Simon Bassett, our Duke of Hastings, came to be. We get to explore it in a really interesting way. And, it goes to the idea of what the show does is — we’re marrying history and fantasy in a really exciting, fascinating way…

Working with historians, it became very clear that 19th century Regency London was a lot more diverse and a lot more colorful than people thought it to be.

On having an intimacy coordinator
We couldn’t have done the show without her. She worked closely with myself and with our director, and super closely with our cast. All of the intimate scenes were heavily choreographed and approached much like an action sequence would be approached. It was very “your hand goes here, your leg goes here, this is this, this is that.” It really was about making our actors comfortable, and really having them be the ones who were driving the action in those scenes of intimacy. We wanted them to be able to do what they wanted to do, and go as far as they wanted to go.

On his plan for future seasons
I feel like the first season was primarily about Daphne and her love story with Simon. But, this being a family of eight children and there being eight books, I would love to be able to focus and really tell stories and love stories for all the Bridgerton siblings. For each character, for sure. I would love [to have eight seasons]. In success, I would love that.

[From Collider via JustJared]

I enjoyed reading this interview so much. I loved how he set the record straight about the diversity in regency England and how the choice to create a show with a diverse cast from that time period is closer to accurate than the normal all-white cast of most other shows from that period. It is good to know that Chris is seemingly a romantic (he read all of the books in an eight day period) and that is felt throughout the show.

I think because the attraction between Daphne and Simon is written so well, everyone is shipping Rege and Phoebe in real life. I personally go back and forth on whether I think Rege and Phoebe (Daphne) had chemistry or if Phoebe is sort of like Dakota Johnson and doesn’t really have chemistry with anyone. Either way Rege has disputed the rumors that he and Phoebe are an item in real life. So sorry Dimon fans, there will be no real life romance from the Bridgerton stars this time around.

I do hope we get a few more seasons out of Bridgerton because it is the frivolous fun escapism that I need right now. I know a lot people didn’t like the throw away scene about race in the show but I am sort of happy they kept it light. Sometimes it is just nice to escape into a world that is seemingly a multicultural utopia. I am happy to get this lovely glimpse behind the scenes and look forward to more interviews. In the meantime, while I wait for a season two of the show, I’ll tumble down the For The People rabbit hole to fulfill my Rege-Jean obsession.

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Photos credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix

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33 Responses to “Bridgerton showrunner Chris Van Dusen would love to have 8 seasons”

  1. Noki says:

    I thought the show runner was Shonda Rhymes this whole time.

    • Katie says:

      same!! and was honestly lowkey disappointed in Shonda because of the whole premise of the show revolving around a girl getting a guy to ejaculate inside of her… everything else about the show is stellar though, very high quality

    • Kate says:

      I think she’s the producer?

    • duchess of hazard says:

      @Noki It’s a Shonda Rhimes production, so it’s made in her image, the sense of dialogue, pretty actors, intense chemistry. Like, How To Get Away With Murder came from Shondaland but had a show runner who was committed to the same things that she was (diverse cast as leads, etc).

  2. Levans says:

    While I enjoyed watching Bridgerton, I don’t think I could watch 8 seasons about the Bridgerton children. They were not that interesting or charismatic. The Featheringtons had much more interesting stories. I wanted to know what would happen to them at the end of season 1. How would they survive? What came of Marina? The Bridgertons….same old posh problems.

    • Becks1 says:

      I like the bridgertons (I think Anthony is much more interesting a character than Daphne and he’s the focus of the second book), but I do think what saved the series and kept it interesting was all the other story lines. If it had focused overly much on Daphne and the Duke, I think it might have been boring. But because we saw the duke and his boxing, the duke with Lady Danbury, Benedict discovering his….well, whatever, his fun, I guess, the storyline about Anthony and Siena, Marina, the Featheringtons – it kept the show a LOT more interesting.

      I mean more Reje-jean is never a bad thing, but the multiple storylines helped to keep the show moving I thought.

      • Levans says:

        I will agree the other storyline helped keep things moving.

        I havent read the books but I was a little surprised when halfway through the show a new sister was introduced! It started to feel like Crazy by the Dozen when there are so many kids you just get to know them by one over the top attribute (hello hyacinth!)

      • Becks1 says:

        Ha, are you talking about when Francesca returned from the aunt’s and was playing piano? I also thought that was super weird, it made me wonder if the actress had been sick or injured or something (and so they had to write her off for a large portion of the season.)

  3. Wiglet Watcher says:

    I really wanted to like this show from all I was reading here… it was fine. Just, idk, basic? It never pulled me in enough to the characters.

  4. Becks1 says:

    I do think they had chemistry in the show but I can also see Reje-jean having chemistry with almost anyone. My husband and I have tried to watch 50 shades a few times, and omg, the lack of chemistry (along with the horrible script and bad acting) is just too much to take. The first time we got like 10 minutes into it and were like, NOPE. So this show was different for me than that, LOL.

    I think 8 seasons would drag it out a bit too much, to be honest. I think they could do the next 3 books (anthony, benedict and colin) and sort of combine some of the other storylines into those books (although I guess it wouldnt work for the younger kids, besides Colin’s book/storyline to a certain extent.)

    I just really love the creativity behind this show – I would love to have been the person who was like, “you know what? These Julia Quinn romance novels? that would make a GREAT show.”

  5. Scal says:

    I’ve read the books and the stories I want to see are Eloise and Penelope. They had sloise’s future husband as a Easter egg and I yelling Eloise go get your man!!! He’s right there!

    I hope they do that sooner than Anthony’s book, as they cast actresses that are much older than their characters. 30 vs 16.

    • Becks1 says:

      I think they wont have the big time gap? (i.e. the gap between book 3 and book 4.) Like maybe Colin will just be gone 2-3 years and then we’ll have his story, rather than the 8-10 year gap in the books?

  6. Lyli says:

    Started watching last night and I’m so disappointed. It is a large pile of overdigested clichés belonging in the past. Will not pursue. I did enjoy the ethnic diversity on the show though, that was a nice change from the typical genre.

  7. Ninks says:

    The problem with the first series was that the book it was adapted from was probably the weakest in the series. Daphne and Simon are not likable in the books and the best bits of it are the Bridgerton siblings interactions. They went to great efforts to make Simon and Daphne more likable in the series and it worked to an extent but it happened at the cost of other characters, especially Anthony who is not nearly so much of an arsehole in the book (and even when he’s acting like an ass, he’s right and his objections are completely valid.) Book 2 is a much better book and Kate and Anthony are far more likable and far less problematic, Jonathan Bailey is so talented and charismatic and I’m really looking forward to seeing him take the lead and to exploring all sides of Anthony. The casting for Kate is key. I thought Rege and Phoebe had good chemistry but Phoebe was just so bland on screen that I don’t buy anybody especially Simon and the Prince being so bowled over by her. I’m just praying the can find a Kate that can match Bailey’s spark and charisma.

    I’m not sure that all the books can sustain a full series by themselves so the supporting cast and the other storylines are definitely needed.

    Golda Rosheuval was excellent as Queen Charlotte and I’m glad to see the series is acknowledging that Black people have always existed in and been part of British society, but I’m not sure how I feel about them pushing the message that Queen Charlotte was mixed race. If she had Black heritage it was many generations before she was born – it’s the equivalent of Elizabeth Warren saying she has Native American heritage. It might be true but the woman herself was white and none of her peers considered her to be anything other than white. We saw how the British establishment threw a shit fit when a mixed race woman married the 6th in line to the throne in the 21st century – acting like real life royals were cool with the king marrying a Black woman in the 18th century sort of lets them off the hook for being an incredibly racist organisation that built it’s wealth and power by oppressing and enslaving millions of Black and Asian people.

    • Oya says:

      Actually there were several peers in Queen Charlotte’s time who spoke about her “browness” so to speak. just do a google search on her. NPR has several writeups about her mix-race heritage and how it works.

  8. truthSF says:

    “If you follow me on Twitter, then you’d know I am obsessed with all things Bridgerton. Most importantly with Bridgerton’s stars, Rege-Jean Page and Nicola Coughlin.”

    As someone who’s mutual with you on twitter…I KNOW how obsessed you are!!! You’re worse than me with the Rege-Jean love!😂😂🤣

  9. Sofia says:

    I’m halfway through episode 4 and if I can be honest, I do find Daphne boring. The Duke is handsome and I love him but Daphne bores me a bit. I find Eloise and the Bridgerton boys (particularly Anthony and Colin) to be far more interesting so I’m glad that the next season will focus on Anthony more

    • a reader says:

      Yeah I wasn’t feeling Daphne and couldn’t figure out why until I read Oya’s line: “…Phoebe is sort of like Dakota Johnson and doesn’t really have chemistry with anyone.”

      I think that nails it.

    • Gina says:

      I feel different. Not bored but annoyed. Daphne annoys me. Though her character annoyed me in the book too.

  10. Em says:

    One season was enough for me. The story could have played out in two episodes.

  11. Teresa says:

    I loved the show but it’s better to have a few solidly excellent seasons than to have any dragging out of storylines. I think 3- 4 tends to be a nice cap.

  12. Jumpingthesnark says:

    I like Bridgerton. I don’t love it. 8 seasons seems like way too much, but if anyone can spin gold out of straw, it’s Shonda Rimes.

  13. Coco says:

    Has Netflix ever given eight seasons to anything? There contracts seem to usually be written to cover three seasons, and they usually don’t want to shell out money for a fourth. I think if the Bridgerton team wants to cover as much as possible, the next two seasons need a high episode order and they need to combine book material.

    • Sofia says:

      I would combine the Anthony, Benedict and Colin stories into one season and make it 20 episodes or something. Then do the Eloise and Francesca story in 13 episodes and the same with the Gregory and the Hyacinth story (also 13 episodes)

      So the show would span 4 seasons which is a good number and the average for Netflix originals

      (I also haven’t read the books at all so I have no idea if shoving 3 stories into 1 season will be overkill)

      • Becks1 says:

        They could combine Anthony and Benedict (since their stories happen fairly close together) but Colin’s is supposed to take place 10 years after Daphne’s/anthony’s (Anthony’s is right after Daphne’s, the following season.) But I guess it could still work, just condense some of the timing and not have their be that big age gap.

      • Sofia says:

        @Becks see I had no idea. Maybe they can just do the Anthony/Benedict story in one go and then do the Colin story with Eloise and then the last 3 siblings can have their turn in one season or with someone else (idk who would fit because I haven’t read the books)

  14. Yup, Me says:

    I don’t think 8 seasons is a realistic expectation. Daphne’s little bland ass was only interesting because of the duke/Rege-Jean. I was rewatching it recently and I really wished Daphne and her siblings were more interesting and striking. I just don’t see that group holding interest for more than a few seasons (and even then- only with really interesting mates and supporting stories around them).

  15. Sophie says:

    I am all for color blind casting. But please, let’s be very clear: Great Britain was still involved in slave trade until 1807 and had slavery in its colonies until 1838. There were no people of color, especially black, anywhere to find in nobility. It is true that some historians claim Queen Charlotte was partly black (mostly based on one painting), others dispute this. And even the ones who think this say that it is due to some Portuguese ancestor who lived 300 years prior to Charlotte. I think we should enjoy the beauty of Bridgerton and the nice cast and the fantasy of a diverse court, but really not forget that this does not depict reality at all. I found that actually a bit irritating that instead of just having a diverse cast they made a story out of it, how supposedly Dukedoms and Earldoms were given to POC and that is just very far from the truth. GB‘s like most nobility in Europe was all about who you were born to and racist af.

    • Sunnee says:

      We know this. We know about tgg by e racism, then and now. What white European and Americans did to Africa snd Africans ( not to j my entomology indigenous parole ) is horrific. They not only enslaved but built their empires on the backs of these people, for centuries. They existed though. In the UK and in Europe, yet they are never depicted in historical fiction. I think the modern viewer understand that diversity did not exist in nobility. Yet we can benefit from this diversity now. In other words whites sought to push us out, even though we were there, making empires possible. Excluding us POC in works of fiction only serves their narrative which has existed for centuries, it continues to serve their desire to exclude. Including us is a) breaking that exclusion and b) garbaging the idea that POC actors can’t work in historical fiction. It’s fiction.
      BTW, Rege-Jean says this much better than I do in an interview about marginalizing POC.
      It’s also like white Women thinking they own the princess fantasy. How dare Meghan even think herself worthy. Black people are worthy of everything. POC are worthy. And black people acting in a show is a very small start to showing this

    • Oya says:

      Italy had several POC of it’s nobility and Russia had two, one of which became one of its most prolific writers. No one is suggesting that England was as diverse as the casting in Bridgerton but to ignore there were a sprinkling of ppl of color roaming those halls is false. They may not have been nobility themselves (some were) but they were there and not as just servants or slaves.

      Britain was definitely racist AF and so was most of western Europe. The whole colonizing the world thing was to prove that their whiteness was superior.

      https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/secret/famous/royalfamily.html

      https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/secret/famous/medici.html

      https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/secret/famous/pushkingenealogy.html

  16. msd says:

    I grew bored of their relationship half way through (sorry don’t kill me) so I hope it’s not central again in S2. I stuck with the show for other characters: Eloise and Benedict, the Queen.

    This show doesn’t need 8 seasons. And Netflix is notorious for killing any show not called Stranger Things after 3. One season per book/romance seems excessive.

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