Millions of Netflix subscribers’ hearts were broken this week when it was announced that Regé-Jean Page will not be returning for Bridgerton season 2. Page’s magnetic turn as the Duke of Hastings is a major reason why the period romantic drama became such a worldwide smash, so fans have been up in arms on social media over the news, questioning how the show can even move forward without him.
It’s totally possible for the series to continue without Page, though. As based on the books by Julia Quinn, each season of Bridgerton is set to focus on the love life of a different Bridgerton sibling. So, with Daphne and husband Simon Bassett’s story having wrapped up in season 1, there wasn’t going to be a whole lot for Page to do anyway. This is the reason the actor has given for his shocking exit in an interview with Variety.
Page explained that the appeal of the job for him was the opportunity to tell the Duke’s story across a single season, saying:
“It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year,” Page explained, recounting early conversations he had 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.”
The star went on to say that it’s just a part of the romance genre that the old leads leave once their arc is complete and new ones come in.
“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.”
Page concluded by noting that he can’t wait to see where Bridgerton goes next and he’s confident it will remain a success.
“I have nothing but excitement for Bridgerton continuing to steam train off and conquer the globe,” Page said. “But there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing.”
Season 2 will shift the focus to Jonathan Bailey’s Anthony Bridgerton, the oldest child of the family, as he attempts to find himself a Viscountess. Simone Ashley (Sex Education) has been cast as his love interest, Kate Sharma. And though Page is out of the picture, his onscreen wife Phoebe Dynevor will be back as Daphne, who’ll be there to advise her big brother as he tries to find his own love match.
Regé-Jean Page has been linked with various major roles since the show catapulted him into stardom, including James Bond and a Marvel superhero. What he’s definitely doing, though, is starring in Netflix’s thriller The Gray Man and Paramount’s Dungeons and Dragons movie. Bridgerton season 2, meanwhile, has already started shooting.