Has Bridgerton hinted at two major stars' absences in season four?

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, Victor Alli as John Stirling, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Agatha Danbury, Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton in episode Bridgerton
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, Victor Alli as John Stirling, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Agatha Danbury, Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton in episode Bridgerton (Liam Daniel/Netflix)

It's only been a few days since the second part of Bridgerton season three arrived on Netflix, and the internet is already rife with speculation about season four, including which Bridgerton sibling will be the focus and which stars may return.

While fans were delighted to see all eight Bridgertons appear in the latest series, some are fearing that eldest son Anthony (Jonathan Bailey)  and his wife Kate (Simone Ashley) may not be back in the Ton for the next social season.

Warning! Spoilers for Bridgerton season three, part two, episode seven. 

In the penultimate episode of part two, Anthony suggests that he and Kate travel to India in preparation for the birth of their first child.

During Penelope and Colin's wedding breakfast, Anthony and Kate were discussing the latest letter from her sister Edwina, who was revealed to be living in India with her new husband.

Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in Bridgerton
Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma and Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in Bridgerton (Liam Daniel/Netflix)

"She writes that her new husband is not only a reader but has cultivated in her a love for the outdoors," explained Kate, adding: "She has even been riding with him.

"I am so envious. You cannot imagine how charming our town in India is. It's been so long since I have ridden there," she said.

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Keen to learn more about his wife's culture and see the place she was raised in, Anthony proposed the pair visit Kate's home town and welcome their new arrival there.

Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in Bridgerton
Kate and Anthony revealed their plans to visit India at the end of season three (Liam Daniel/Netflix)

"I should like to see it," Anthony told his wife. "In fact I should like to see it soon before our child comes."

"Now?" asked Kate, adding: "Of course, I want to go over one day but the journey takes months," to which Anthony replied: "Yes and if we go now, we will have time to prepare for the birth there.

"Look, I know how much you love our life here," Anthony continued. "You have made yourself completely a part of our family but I cannot help but feel that something is missing.

bridgerton edwina 6
Kate's sister Edwina lives in India

"Our child will always be a Bridgerton but I should like them to know that they are a Sharma as well and know the history. It is important for me to know too, so we can share that history with our child together," explained the Viscount, assuring his wife that they "will return".

Considering the journey to India would take the couple several months, plus their plans to introduce their baby to Kate's home country, it's possible that the couple may still be abroad when the new social season commences in season four.

Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in Bridgerton
Simone and Jonathan appeared in supporting roles in season three (Liam Daniel/Netflix)

Fans weren't too pleased with the idea of Kate and Anthony's absence in season four, with one person writing on social media: "Oh damn. Kate & Anthony are going to India. Is this a hint that they will not be on Season 4? NOOOOO!!!" while another added: "We should have gotten to see Kate give birth to #Kanthony's baby. They're going to India. We probably won't get to see them next season which is absolutely criminal."

So, will Kate and Anthony appear in season four?

Simone recently shared her eagerness to return and said she and Jonathan will do "all we can" to align their schedules.

"I really hope [we are involved]," she said at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival (via People).

Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey attend Netflix's "Bridgerton" Season 3 World Premiere at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on May 13, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/WireImage)
Simone and Jonathan are keen to appear in season four (Getty)

"Both Johnny and I adore our characters so much and their relationship and what they mean for the show. I think we'll do all we can with our schedules to make it work so that we can, hopefully."

Simone and Jonathan have both been super busy with other projects in recent years, which explains their reduced roles in season three.

It's possible that Anthony and Kate's India trip was partly written into the script to provide an explanation for their potential absence in season four. However, if the two actors can work around their schedules, fans will likely see the pair take on supporting roles again. But it looks like we'll just have to wait and see!