Bridgerton author defends major character's gender swap for Netflix series

'Bridgerton' writer Julia Quinn has responded to backlash from some fans after a major character's gender was changed from page to screen.



Julia Quinn as defended changes made to major Bridgerton character
Julia Quinn as defended changes made to major Bridgerton character

'Bridgerton' author Julia Quinn has defended the decision to "switch the gender" of Michaela Sterling.

The writer has reflected on the season three finale which sees Masali Baduza as Francesca Bridgerton's (Hannah Dodd) love interest, who was originally named Michael in the books but has been changed for the Netflix adaption.

She wrote on Instagram: "Thank you to readers and fans for your feedback. 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."

Julia noted that "many" fans have expressed "surprise, and for some, disappointment" in the change from her book 'When He Was Wicked'.

She continued: "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.

"But switching the gender of a major character is a huge change, and so when Jess Brownell first approached me with the idea of turning Michael into Michaela for the show, I needed more information before confessing my agreement."

For Julia, it was vital that Francesca's love "abiding love" for her husband John (Victor Alli) should still be featured.

She continued: "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.

"Jess and I talked for a long time about it. More than once. I made it clear that it was extremely important to me that Francesca's abiding love for John to be shown on screen."

The author "had to fight" to have their love featured so prominently in her novel, which also sets the scene for her relationship with Michael.

She explained: "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."