Breakout Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page will not be returning as the Duke of Hastings for Season 2 of Shonda Rhimes’ period drama. The announcement was made on the Netflix show’s Instagram page by the show’s fictional newsletter columnist Lady Whistledown.
“Dear Readers, while all eyes turn to Lord Anthony Bridgerton’s quest to find a Viscountess, we bid adieu to Regé-Jean Page, who so triumphantly played the Duke of Hastings,” the announcement begins.
“We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family. Daphne will remain a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer — more intrigue and romance than my readers may be able to bear.”
The departure should come as no surprise to fans of the Julia Quinn novels on which the series is based, as Simon Basset’s storyline largely takes place in the first book.
Page spoke with Variety about the appeal of his one-season arc. “It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end — give us a year,” he recounted from an early conversation with Shondaland producers. “[I thought] ‘That’s interesting,’ because then it felt like a limited series. I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit and then the Bridgerton family rolls on.”
“One of the things that is different about this [romance] genre is that the audience knows the arc completes,” he added. “They come in knowing that, so you can tie people in emotional knots because they have that reassurance that we’re going to come out and we’re going to have the marriage and the baby.”
While Page’s Bridgerton role has come to an end, he has two high-profile projects in the works. He recently wrapped filming for Anthony and Joe Russo’s Netflix film, The Gray Man, alongside Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, and Ana de Armas. In addition, he is set to star in the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie adaptation.