Why Did “Bridgerton” Recast Francesca in Season 3? All About Ruby Stokes' Exit from the Show

After Francesca was played by Ruby Stokes in seasons 1 and 2, Hannah Dodd was recast as the character in 'Bridgerton' season 3

<p>Liam Daniel/Netflix (2)</p> Ruby Stokes as Francesca Bridgerton; Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton

Liam Daniel/Netflix (2)

Ruby Stokes as Francesca Bridgerton; Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton

Bridgerton season 3 is introducing a few new faces, including a different actress playing Francesca.

While the Bridgerton daughter was initially played by Ruby Stokes in seasons 1 and 2, Netflix announced in May 2022 that Hannah Dodd would be taking on the role.

In season 3, Francesca gets quite a big storyline as the character makes her debut into society. As her mother Violet and Lady Danbury team up to help her be the “diamond of the season” like her older sister Daphne was, she finds herself with a number of suitors.

However, one particular man catches her eye, a quiet man named John Stirling, who book fans know later plays a big role in her love story.

While Dodd has been a welcome addition to the cast in the expanded role, fans are curious to know why Stokes didn’t reprise her role.

Here’s everything to know about her exit from the series.

Related: Which Bridgerton Character You Are, Based on Your Zodiac Sign

Why did Ruby Stokes leave Bridgerton?

Liam Daniel/Netflix Ruby Stokes with her Bridgerton costars
Liam Daniel/Netflix Ruby Stokes with her Bridgerton costars

Just as Regé-Jean Page left Bridgerton after season 1 to pursue other roles, Stokes exited the series to star on another project. In March 2022, the same month Bridgerton season 2 premiered, It was announced that Stokes would star as Lucy Carlyle in the Netflix adaptation of Lockwood & Co

According to EP and showrunner Chris Van Dusen, Francesca was meant to have a larger role in season 2, however, because of Stokes’ prior commitments to Lockwood & Co., she had to leave the Bridgerton set after filming three episodes.

“I love Francesca, but we lost her midway through season 2,” Van Dusen told TVLine following the season 2 premiere. “After exhausting all other options, she unfortunately had to come out due to reasons beyond our control. Perhaps season 3 will be the charm.”

It was later announced that Dodd would be taking on the role that May.

Lockwood & Co., based on Jonathan Stroud’s supernatural book series of the same name, premiered in January 2023. The series was well-received during its debut, including a 92% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and reaching the No. 1 on Netflix in 18 countries. However, in May 2023, it was announced that the show was canceled after one season.

What has Ruby Stokes said about leaving Bridgerton?

<p>David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage</p> Ruby Stokes at a screening of Lockwood & Co.

David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

Ruby Stokes at a screening of Lockwood & Co.

Despite exiting the series, Stokes has still spoken highly of Bridgerton and her castmates. Of her initial exit, Stokes told Variety, “It wasn’t an easy decision. But it was incredible being part of a cultural moment like Bridgerton.”

“Every lesson I learned on Bridgerton was so valuable, and it propelled me, and allowed me to go on and take on a lead role on another show,” she added of her role on Lockwood & Co.

Elaborating on her decision to leave, she told What To Watch that she simply couldn’t turn the opportunity to play Lucy Carlyle. "Something about Lucy spoke to me," she explained. "It was a chance to explore a very different character and I’ve learned a great deal playing a young adult at the helm of a show. I just felt it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down!"

Speaking with 1883 magazine, Stokes added that the thing she misses most about Bridgerton is her costars. “The people are just unmatched,” she said. “They are incredible, generous, kind, hilarious and genuine. They’re great. They are just really, really good people, both the crew and the cast.”

Related: Everything to Know About Bridgerton Season 4

What has Hannah Dodd said about joining Bridgerton?

<p>Jamie McCarthy/Getty</p> Hannah Dodd at Bridgerton season 3 premiere

Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Hannah Dodd at Bridgerton season 3 premiere

Being a fan of the show already, Dodd told PEOPLE she was “really nervous about joining” the cast initially, but her costars welcomed her with “open arms.”

“I was having banter with them in the green room on my first day, and now I can't imagine not knowing any of them,” she added. “It's the weirdest idea that I wouldn't know them.”

Following smaller roles on Netflix's Anatomy of a Scandal and 2021's Eternals, Dodd said it was “the best feeling ever” to learn of her casting news.

“I couldn't really believe it. I think I was with my family at the time, which was really nice, so I was surrounded by people that I wanted to tell straight away,” she said of being cast. “But it was definitely... I think it's the biggest one I've ever got. So, it was quite a special moment.”

What roles has Ruby Stokes taken on since Bridgerton?

Though her series Lockwood & Co. was canceled in May 2023, Stokes has kept plenty busy since then. In 2023, she appeared in the film Black Dog and that same year she had a starring role in the Paramount+ minseries The Burning Girls alongside Samantha Morton.

In November 2023, it was announced that she would star in the BBC thriller The Jetty alongside Jenna Coleman and Shadow & Bone alum Archie Renaux. In January 2024, BBC shared the first look at the four-part series, which is expected to release later this year.

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