At long last, the second season of Bridgerton is finally streaming on Netflix, providing viewers around the globe with another much-needed fix of steamy Regency-era romance. When the first season landed back in December 2020, the sumptuous Shondaland drama became a record-breaking smash, in large part due to the intense chemistry between stars Phoebe Dynevor (Daphne Bridgerton) and Regé-Jean Page (Simon Basset).
As per the anthological nature of the original novels by author Julia Quinn, however, season two shifts the focus to a different couple. Namely, Daphne’s older brother Lord Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley). That said, there are still many ties to the first run of episodes, with Dynevor herself featuring in a recurring capacity as the newly titled Duchess of Hastings.
But does Page return as her husband, the Duke, even for a brief cameo? Read on to find out the answer.
The Duke’s absence explained
In short, no, the Duke does not return in season two.
In many ways, this shouldn’t come as a surprise as Netflix officially announced that Page would not be reprising his instantly iconic role last April when season two was in the midst of production.
The 34-year-old actor explained at the time that his intention was always to only do one season as the appeal of the project for him was that it was essentially a one-off limited series. “I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit, and then the Bridgerton family rolls on,” he told Variety.
Despite this, rumor has it that producers were desperate to keep him aboard. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Page even turned down a hefty pay raise for season two, which would’ve seen him earn $50,000 per episode. However, the star is believed to have refused the deal in order to focus on his “burgeoning film career.”
Having said that, Page seemed to indicate that he might pop up for a cameo in season two when speaking to GQ in September. “I couldn’t possibly tell you!” he said when asked if he was secretly coming back as Simon. “Isn’t there something wonderful about being surprised by what you weren’t suspecting?”
Now that we’ve seen the latest season and the Duke is nowhere to be seen, however, it seems Page was just having some fun with GQ and wasn’t really intending to raise the hype for his comeback.
Will Simon be in season three?
There is always the chance he could feature in season three, though. The Duke is referenced a few times in the latest season, as Daphne frequently visits her family to show off her adorable young son, Augie. The reasons for his absence aren’t specified, but we can assume Simon’s simply busy with his dukely duties. Fans need not fear, then — the Bassets’ marriage is still solid as a rock, so the couple could easily be reunited on screen when Bridgerton returns.
All we know about the show’s future, for now, is that it will definitely be getting a third and fourth season. A prequel spinoff built around the young Queen Charlotte (played by Golda Rosheuvel in the series) is also in the works. Going by the plot of the third book, season three will presumably follow the love life of the second-eldest sibling Benedict (Luke Thompson).
Page himself, meanwhile, is a busy guy these days, with his upcoming projects including Paramount’s Dungeons & Dragons movie, in which he’ll star opposite Chris Pine, and the Russo brothers’ spy thriller The Gray Man, as led by Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling, that’s likewise coming to Netflix.
If you’ve yet to do so, you can catch all eight episodes of Bridgerton season two on Netflix now.