Julia Quinn ‘Never Expected’ ‘Bridgerton’ To Be a ‘Word for Word Adaptation’ of Her Books’: ‘I Didn’t Want That’

Bridgerton is inspired by Julia Quinn’s books. Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), Lady Whistledown (Julie Andrews), Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) come to life on the TV show. And Quinn, the best-selling author who created the characters, is more than fine with the Netflix series being different from her books.

The cast of the Bridgerton family on Netflix's 'Bridgerton'
The Bridgerton family on Netflix’s Bridgerton | LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX © 2020

‘Bridgerton’ author served as a consultant on the Netflix series

Quinn eventually became a consultant on the show, according to The Oprah Magazine,  after being approached by Shonda Rhimes and Netflix about adapting her books for TV. She visited the set in 2019, met the cast, and got to see the program’s 7,500 original costumes. 

The best-selling author also received scripts for each episode. But, as she told the publication, she didn’t make major changes to any of them. From the beginning, she made it clear Rhimes and creator-showrunner Chris Van Dusen had creative control. 

“I was not going to tell Shonda Rhimes how to make television,” Quinn told The Oprah Magazine in Dec. 2020. 

She also received scripts but admits she didn’t offer much in the way of criticisms or suggestions.  

“As a consultant, they did send me the scripts, and I think if there had been something big that worried me, I would have spoken up,” she said. “But there wasn’t. 

“I feel like I just had this wide-eyed Pollyanna thing,” she added. “I’m sure there are people who have their books adapted and do not have this wonderful experience, but I sure did.”  

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Julia Quinn ‘didn’t want’ Netflix series to be exactly the same as her ‘Bridgerton’ books

Quinn’s Bridgerton book series began with the release of The Duke and I in 2000. It became a series of eight novels plus novellas and a short story. She knew when her books became a TV show, it wouldn’t be exactly the same as what she wrote. And that’s exactly how Quinn wanted it. 

“It’s not a word for word adaptation, and it shouldn’t be,” she told The Oprah Magazine about the Netflix series. “I never expected that. I didn’t want that. It’s not what television should be about.” 

She continued, saying the ways in which to tell a story differ from books to TV or movies. 

“There are things you can do in a book that you can’t do on film, and there are a lot of things you can achieve on film that you can’t achieve in a book,” she said. If somebody is walking down the street, I’m not going to describe to you the six other people who happen to be walking around them.” 

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As opposed to film, “you’ve got those six other people and they add something to it, even if they don’t say a word.” 

“There’s so many new things you can do with a different medium, and it’s just really exciting to see what those things are and how they are achieved,” she added. 

So while fans of the books may point out that Bridgerton differs from the books, Quinn is OK with it. 

‘Bridgerton’ Season 2 may or may not be on the way

Rhimes’ latest TV show began streaming on Dec. 25, 2020. While the end of season 1 — no spoilers ahead — suggested the possibility of more episodes Netflix nor Shondaland have confirmed Bridgerton will continue. 

The program’s a success for Netflix which points to a second season. But for now, fans will have to re-watch the show’s eight episodes or read Quinn’s books. 

Bridgerton Season 1 is streaming on Netflix.