At least one familiar face is missing from the first photos from Sanditon Season 3.
PBS’ MASTERPIECE on Wednesday morning released a trio of first looks (seen above and below) from the upcoming season of the British historical drama, featuring Rose Williams as Charlotte Heywood, Cai Brigden as Ralph Starling, Edward Davis as Lord Montrose, Crystal Clarke as Georgiana Lambe, and Ben Lloyd-Hughes as Alexander Colbourne.
But as TVLine confirmed in May, Charlotte Spencer, who played Esther in the first two seasons, will not be returning for the period drama’s third season. (That exit news came in the wake of Spencer signing on to star in the new BBC/Paramount+ drama The Gold.)
As for the fictional Esther Babington’s own fate, showrunner Justin Young told Decider, “I think where we leave her at the end of Season 2 she’s got everything she’s ever wanted. She’s happy, married, and now she has a child that she adores, so I think that’s the end of Esther’s story as far as I’m concerned.”
“I’ve always said with respect to this show, the way we built it is that, like a novel,” the EP added. “We have to honor that characters have finite stories.”
Spencer’s exit of course marks the second significant departure for the saved-from-cancellation series. Theo James, who is now starring/dropping trou on The White Lotus Season 2, famously ended his run as Sidney Parker after just one season.
“Although I relished playing Sidney, for me, I’ve always maintained that his journey concluded as I wanted it to,” the actor explained in a post to the show’s social media accounts. “The broken fairy-tale like ending between Charlotte and Sidney is different, unique and so interesting to me, and I wish the cast and crew of Sanditon every success with future series.”
Sandition‘s Season 2 finale aired on April 24; Season 3 is on track to premiere in 2023.