Julia Quinn defends Michaela decision, insists it will make Bridgerton more ‘inclusive’

She clarified Francesca’s season will still be the most ‘heart wrenching and emotional’ of the show

At the end of Bridgerton season three, it was revealed that Francesca’s future husband Michael, had been gender swapped to Michaela, something that book author Julia Quinn has now spoken out about. Whilst some fans welcomed the change from the books, others were left very disappointed and even went as far as to start a petition.

As a result of all the backlash and hate towards showrunner Jess Brownell for the decision, Julia Quinn has released a statement on the massive change from the Bridgerton books, explaining she fully supports the introduction of Michaela over Michael. She feels as though the change will make the show more “diverse and inclusive”, and promises Francesca’s season will still be the most “heart wrenching and emotional” one yet.

The statement explained: “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 in Michaela for the show, I needed more information 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. 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 be shown on screen. When I wrote When He Was Wicked I actually had to fight to have the first four chapters, which establish that love included.”

Via Netflix

She continued: “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. 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, just like When He Was Wicked has always been the true tear-jerker of the Bridgerton book series. Honestly, it may pack even more of a punch, since John is getting a lot more time on the screen than he ever did on the page, and I think it’s fair to say we’ve all fallen a little bit in love with him.

“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 two stories, one on page, and one on screen, and they will both be beautiful and moving.”

Via Netflix

As for why showrunner Jess Brownell decided to make the gender swap change from the book, she told Teen Vogue: “The reveal of Michaela versus Michael, from the books, is something that I’ve been pitching from season one of the show. My approach to telling a queer story on Bridgerton has been to look to the books for thematic cues. I didn’t want to just insert a queer character for queer character’s sake. I want to tell a story that accurately reflects a queer experience, and the first time I read Francesca’s book, I really identified with it as a queer woman. Maybe not in the way Julia Quinn intended.”

Bridgerton season three is available on Netflix now –  For more on what Julia Quinn thinks of Michaela and all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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Featured images before edits via Netflix.