This Is Why Francesca Was Recast In Season 3 Of Bridgerton

Ruby Stokes in the very first episode of Bridgerton
Ruby Stokes in the very first episode of Bridgerton LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

If you’ve already binged the first half of Bridgerton season three, you’ll have noticed that Francesca looks a little different this time around.

The third eldest Bridgerton sister, originally played by Ruby Stokes, may not have had a huge amount of screen time so far in Netflix’s romantic regency drama, but she steps into the limelight more in season three.

For the new season of the show, however, Francesca was recast by Hannah Dodd – so why the casting change just as she finally makes her societal debut?

Why was Ruby Stokes recast in Bridgerton?

Ruby Stokes left the record-breaking Netflix hit so she could focus on another Netflix series, Lockwood & Co.

Ruby Stokes in Lockwood & Co.
Ruby Stokes in Lockwood & Co. Parisa Taghizadeh/Netflix

The British actor stars as Lucy Carlyle in the supernatural detective thriller series – based on Jonathan Stroud’s books of the same name – alongside Cameron Chapman and Ali Hadji-Heshmati.

According to Bridgerton’s exec producer and showrunner Chris Van Dusen, Ruby had to leave back in season two after just three episodes, due to her prior filming commitments. 

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

However, it was later confirmed that Ruby would be departing the show for good.

What has Ruby Stokes said about leaving Bridgerton?

Ruby Stokes at the London Film Festival last year
Ruby Stokes at the London Film Festival last year Dave Benett via Getty Images

Ruby admitted to Variety that it “wasn’t an easy decision” to leave the period drama.

“It was incredible being part of a cultural moment like Bridgerton,” she said.

Speaking to What To Watch last year, Ruby also explained that something about her new character Lucy “spoke to me”, adding: “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!”

Hannah Dodd has replaced Ruby Stokes as Francesca in Bridgerton season 3

Hannah Dodd as Francesca in the new season of Bridgerton
Hannah Dodd as Francesca in the new season of Bridgerton LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

Meanwhile Hannah, who’s been in shows like Harlots and Anatomy Of A Scandal, told Elle in a recent interview: “Francesca is such a gorgeous character that it takes two people to get to tell her story, but I’m not trying to erase the fact that Ruby played her first,” 

She continued: “I think we had a little chat when [my casting] announcement came out, and we were always liking each other’s stuff [on Instagram]. I congratulated her on her job; she congratulated me on my job. So it’s really lovely to share this with her.”

While Lockwood & Co. premiered to mostly positive reviews back in January 2023, it was cancelled after one season, with Variety reporting that viewing figures didn’t reach targets.

In the meantime, Ruby’s next project is BBC detective thriller The Jetty alongside Doctor Who’s Jenna Coleman, which is due for release later this year.