Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Season 1 and the Season 2 premiere of Sanditon.
Season 2 of Sanditon, the drama inspired by Jane Austen's last novel of the same title, kicked off with a brand new episode on March 20, 2022 on PBS.
Season 2 stars Rose Williams as Charlotte Heywood, a heroine with a thirst for new adventures, and Kris Marshall as Tom Parker, an ambitious entrepreneur and hobbyist bon vivant. Theo James, the actor portraying Sidney, Charlotte's love interest and Tom's brother, left Sanditon after the Season 1 finale. Why?
Theo James announced his exit ahead of the Season 2 premiere of 'Sanditon.'
Theo James announced his departure from Sanditon before the shooting of Season 2 kicked off in July 2021. In Season 1 of Sanditon, Theo portrayed Sidney Parker, an affluent gentleman who quickly took up a liking toward Charlotte. As Theo shared in a statement with IndieWire, he felt that Sidney Parker's storyline came to an end with the Season 1 finale.
"Although I relished playing Sidney, for me, I’ve always maintained that his journey concluded as I wanted it to," Theo wrote. "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."
Jane Austen started working on Sanditon under the working title, The Brothers, in January 1817, by which point her health had already started to decline. She died on July 18, 1817, leaving behind an unfinished, 24,000-word manuscript. The original text doesn't offer details on Charlotte's future with Sidney.
The Season 1 Finale of Sanditon aims to bridge the gaps, capturing Sidney's business-focused wedding to wealthy heiress Eliza Campion (Ruth Kearney). He weds Eliza after confessing his feelings to Charlotte, setting himself on course for a loveless marriage.
Needless to add, the fancy-schmancy display leaves Charlotte thoroughly heartbroken. She decides to manifest her feelings of disappointment in a method perhaps not that uncommon in the era: hurling herself into a carriage and making a speedy return to her family home.
The Season 1 Finale of Sanditon left some fans feeling baffled. A handful of people took to Twitter to point out that they would have rather witnessed a happy ending similar to the ones in Austen's other books, such as Pride and Prejudice.
"Sanditon Season 1 finale, hands down. We need Sidlotte," tweeted @missing_sun. Sidlotte refers to the fan-made relationship nickname between Sidney and Charlotte.
"That Season 1 finale of Sanditon left me feeling so incomplete. They better fix it," tweeted @TerraNova_2011.
The Season 2 premiere of 'Sanditon' addresses Theo James' disappearance.
As the Season 2 premiere of Sanditon reveals, Theo's on-screen character, Sidney Parker, comes down with a vicious case of yellow fever during a trip to Antigua. Sidney soon loses his life, leaving him unable to enjoy his time with his new wife, Eliza, or Charlotte. The episode also introduces viewers to several men who could end up vying for Charlotte's heart, including Colonel Francis Lennox (Tom Weston-Jones).
Catch new episodes of Sanditon every Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on PBS.