9:06am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Bridgerton' Surprise: Breakout Rege-Jean Page Not Returning for Season 2
Here's a Bridgerton surprise: Breakout leading man Regé-Jean Page will not be back for season two of the Netflix hit.
Sources say Page had only a one-season deal and completed his contractual obligation to the Shonda Rhimes-produced drama. The deal was in line with how producers, including Netflix, envisioned Bridgerton before it premiered, as each season will focus on a different one of Julia Quinn's best-selling novels.
Season two will focus on Anthony Bridgerton — played by Jonathan Bailey. Season two will begin production in early April. Fellow breakout Phoebe Dynevor will continue to appear in Bridgerton as Daphne Bridgerton and remains a vital part of the story, as a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother, Anthony, navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer.
Page's Simon will also continue to live on within the Bridgerton world, and will always be a part of the Bridgerton family as Daphne's husband.
Here's Netflix's comment via social in the tone of Bridgerton's 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. 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. Yours truly, Lady Whistledown."
Page responded to the news via Twitter: "Pleasure and a privilege! An honour to be a member of the family — on and off screen, cast, crew and incredible fans — the love is real and will just keep growing."
Executive producer Rhimes also weighed in on Page's departure: "Remember: the Duke is never gone. He’s just waiting to be binge watched all over again. #ShondalandMenOnNetflixAreForever"
Since its Christmas Day debut, Bridgerton became an immediate hit for Netflix. The series, which marks the first for super-producer Rhimes at Netflix, was on pace to be seen by 63 million households across its first 28 days of release. Netflix later said the series topped Stranger Things and was its most watched original ever. While the company, like other streamers, does not release traditional viewership data, it counts two minutes — aka long enough to illustrate the choice to watch was intentional — as a view.
The series was quickly renewed for a second season less than a month after its premiere. Showrunner Chris Van Dusen (Scandal) has a long-term plan in place and hopes the drama runs eight seasons — one for each book in author Quinn's series. Season two is expected to be based on Quinn's The Viscount Who Loved Me.
Page became an immediate breakout after Bridgerton, which was his second Rhimes-produced show following ABC's short-lived legal drama For the People. Bridgerton's success led to a quick gig hosting Saturday Night Live. He will next star in Netflix's Russo brothers feature The Gray Man and Paramount's Dungeons & Dragons feature film.