Regé-Jean Page is officially leaving Bridgerton for Season 2.
News of Page’s exit from the hit Netflix period drama broke Friday, courtesy of posts on the show’s Instagram and Twitter accounts that were written in the form of a letter from Lady Whistledown. The “letter” explained that Page’s character, Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, will not be back in the next installment of the series, but assured fans that Phoebe Dynevor, who plays Page’s love interest Daphne Bridgerton, will return for the show’s sophomore season.
The full notice read:
“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.”
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Page, who took home the NAACP Image Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series last week for his performance in Bridgerton‘s first season, confirmed the news as well on his own Instagram, and had nothing but glowing things to say about his time on the show.
Along with a picture of himself on horseback while in characters as Simon, the actor wrote, “The ride of a life time. It’s been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be your Duke. Joining this family—not just on screen, but off screen too. Our incredibly creative and generous cast, crew, outstanding fans—it’s all been beyond anything I could have imagined. The love is real and will just keep growing.”
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Fans were, understandably, shocked and devastated by the news that Page, widely considered Bridgerton‘s breakout star, was ending his run on the show after just one season. In an interview with Variety published on Friday however, Page explained that his short tenure on the series was always the plan.
“It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end—give us a year,” Page said. “[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.”
The Bridgerton family may be rolling on without him, but Page pointed out, in the romance genre, audiences can take comfort in the knowledge that a happy ending is coming. It’s something that made it fun for him to play with the drama of Season 1, but it may also serve as a comforting reminder to fans who are mourning Simon’s early departure from the show.
“One of the things that is different about this [romance] genre is that the audience knows the arc completes,” Page explained. “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.”
Page also assured fans that his time in the Bridgerton community isn’t over. As Season 2 continues without him, Page will focus on a new role—fan.
“I have nothing but excitement for Bridgerton continuing to steam train off and conquer the globe,” he told Variety. “But there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing.”
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