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Hannah New as Lady Tilley Arnold, Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton

Bridgerton: Benedict’s major twist examined - and what it means for show's future

Warning, contains spoilers for season three part two

Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
June 15, 2024
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A long-suspected fan theory has appeared to finally play out in regards to the second eldest Bridgerton sibling, Benedict in the hit Netflix show. Here’s what we think about the latest revelation concerning his character - and what it might mean for season four… 

Benedict’s storyline in season 3 part 2 

In episode five, Benedict’s relationship with the young widow Lady Tilley appears to be growing more serious - or Benedict thinks so, at least. She invites him to meet her close friend Paul at a dinner which Benedict believes is to win Paul’s approval of him - but the pair actually have ulterior motives.

After enjoying dinner, Benedict asks Paul to call him by his first name, and the pair appear to share a moment. Later, they are enjoying a cigarette on the balcony when Paul tells Benedict that he doesn’t enjoy society events as he finds people judgemental, Benedict replies: “I can’t imagine what anyone would judge you for,” to which Paul replies: “Then Tilley has not told you all of our stories.”  

Martins Imhangbe as Will Mondrich and Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton
Martins Imhangbe as Will Mondrich and Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton

He adds that Benedict is “rather charming” and it is clear that there is some serious chemistry between the two, leaving Benedict looking somewhat confused. Later, Benedict overhears Paul tell Tilley, “I believe my suspicions are true,” before they share a kiss. 

Spotting Benedict watching, Paul invites Benedict “upstairs” to join them, before Benedict makes up an excuse and leaves. In episode seven, Benedict agrees to enter a polyamorous relationship with the pair, and shares a kiss with Paul. The trio go on to have a relationship before parting ways, with Benedict saying: "I am not certain that serious is what I want... Paul could be Patricia, or Polly, or Peter or all three at once. What happened between the three of us... has made me realise how good it feels to be free. You've opened my world. And I am not ready to close it again just now." 

Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton © LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX
Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton

Fans of Bridgerton have long held a theory that Benedict would be the first Bridgerton sibling to have an LGBTQ storyline, with Luke Thompson, who plays Benedict, also discussing the potential to gender swap the love interest in the novels. 

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, he said: “Benedict has such a lovely openness and fluidity about him generally, and that’s really, really fun to play because it could go anywhere.” 

Chatting to Town & Country, he added: “Benedict is clearly a very open character and that's extremely fun to play. And I think that it's not narrowly sexual... he's just a very open person, full stop.

Luke Thompson has opened up about Benedict's story arc
Luke Thompson has opened up about Benedict's story arc

“I tend to think that's a question for the writers really, because in order to be playing a character, I sort of have to surrender that side of my brain. The writers are like God, as in I just have to play with what they give me. I think there is that openness, which is really lovely to play with, but in terms of where it goes, I don't know.”

What does this mean for season four? 

Fans have long suspected that Benedict will be confirmed to be the focus of Bridgerton season four - particularly as the show changed the novel order, with Benedict’s story taking place after Daphne and Anthony in the books. 

Bridgerton books in order

Will Tilston as Gregory Bridgerton, Florence Emilia Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton, Ruby Stokes as Francesca Bridgerton, Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, Phoebe Dyvenor as Daphne Basset in Bridgerton© LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX
Will Tilston as Gregory Bridgerton, Florence Emilia Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton, Ruby Stokes as Francesca Bridgerton, Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, Phoebe Dyvenor as Daphne Basset in Bridgerton

The Bridgerton book series in order

  1. The Duke and I 
  2. The Viscount Who Loved Me 
  3. An Offer From a Gentleman 
  4. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
  5. To Sir Phillip, With Love
  6. When He Was Wicked
  7. It's In His Kiss
  8. On The Way To The Wedding

In the novels, his romance is a Cinderella story trope where he falls in love with the illegitimate daughter of an Earl, Sophie Beckett, who is forced to work as a maid thanks to her wicked stepmother. As such, fans have already suggested that the role could be gender-swapped, with one person posting on X, formerly known as Twitter: “I’m just saying: it would be so easy to gender swap Sophie and make Benedict’s love interest a footman.” 

The Bridgerton siblings
The Bridgerton siblings

Another person posted: “I'm wondering just how much they'd have to change the story to make this fit, though. I don't think Sophie's story would work as well historically (or as historical as Bridgerton gets at least, haha) with a male love interest.” 

Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton and Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton © LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX
Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton and Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton

The series’ new showrunner Jess Brownell opened up about how queer-led stories will be a priority on the show. She told PRIDE magazine: “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. 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.”

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