Queen Charlotte Cast Teases the New World Explored in Bridgerton Spinoff
Netflix hosted a royal ball fit with its own royal court from several HBCUs as well as the “Bridgerton” royals at the “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” premiere on Wednesday night.
Held at Westwood’s Regency Village Theatre, cast members including executive producer and showrunner Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Golda Rosheuvel, India Ria Amarteifio, Corey Mylchreest and Arsema Thomas.
Fans announced the stars’ arrival with cheers as they watched them enter the event before officially hitting the red carpet for a night that included crowns for everyone, as well as a surprising introduction from Alicia Keys, whose song “If I Ain’t Got You” received the classical rendition treatment, as Rhimes promised more music from Black queens would be featured in the coming season. The premiere was punctuated by a panel moderated by Variety’s Angelique Jackson.
“Centered on Queen Charlotte’s rise to prominence and power, this Bridgerton-verse prequel tells the story of how the young Queen’s marriage to King George sparked both a great love story and a societal shift, creating the world of the Ton inherited by the characters in ‘Bridgerton,’ reads the official logline.
But despite the show serving as a “Bridgerton” prequel spinoff, several members of the cast were quick to tell Variety about how the show fares on its own.
“The idea of actually getting the opportunity to dig into this entirely new world in the context of the origin story of a character — not only the origin story of Queen Charlotte, but obviously Lady Danbury as well, and understanding also the world of Violet Bridgerton, I think it was just incredible opportunity to expand the world as we know it and bring a whole other point of view,” said Beers, “Bridgerton” and “Queen Charlotte” executive producer.
Netflix jumped to create the spinoff thanks to the popularity of the “Bridgerton” character, played by Rosheuvel. However, the Queen’s origin story was uncharted territory for Rhimes and Beers considering she wasn’t a focal character in the “Bridgerton” novels written by Julia Quinn.
“That’s what I liked about it. It was unknown as to what that is. That character wasn’t even in the book. So I think once the series came out, people were really attracted to that character and how she came to be,” said director and executive producer, Tom Verica. “You basically have a blueprint, because the character is a real character in history. So we selected what it is that we wanted and extracted what the story needs to be underneath that. But it was a tremendous, deep dive into who she was, Queen Charlotte, and merging that historical nature.”
“It feels different. It doesn’t feel like it’s just trying to do the same thing earlier and I think we just take more personal journey,” Verica adds.
For Thomas, the event served as a major celebrate as she made her first major project debut since leaving acting school.
“I technically did not graduate. They were like ‘you don’t get your degree,’” she explained on the carpet, fully offering a heavenly look in all white and pearls. “It was a lot. There’s a lot of impostor syndrome, I think, ‘I obviously don’t deserve to be here, they must have made a mistake.’ So to realize that I am meant to be here, that I’ve been given that confidence by a lot of my peers, and from a beautiful script, It’s kind of allowed me to sort myself out, get it together. it’s been a growing experience, massive learning curve.”
Thomas portrays the younger Lady Danbury, whom viewers will get a chance to see as she explores love and marriage and explores the workings of social hierarchy and politics.
“I think I’m really excited for them to see that she’s different than in ‘Bridgerton.’ She’s not as strong and independent. She’s actually very submissive, and answers to everything that her husband says. She is almost like the quintessential housewife,” said Thomas. “I think it’s such an exciting thing for people to see. To see that you can change, that you can adapt and you don’t have to be the same person you were yesterday. How freeing and relaxing is that?”
“Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” will premiere on Netflix on May 4.
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