After providing the vehicle for Rege-Jean Page’s evolution into a global heartthrob overnight, Netflix just broke the hearts of the British actor’s fan club by announcing that he won’t be reprising his role as the devastatingly charming Duke of Hastings in the hit sensation Bridgerton. And fans want answers as to why — like, right now.
Page has been acting for quite some time, appearing in notable projects like the 2016 remake of Roots and Shonda Rhimes’ short lived legal drama For the People, but no other role put him on the map than that of Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings in Bridgerton. The sexy Duke left a very strong impression on Netflix subscribers, moving viewers to rack up so many views of the series that it became the streamer’s most watched original series ever.
Unfortunately, we may have seen the last of Page in an impeccable velvet tailcoat and tailored trousers because he won’t be appearing in the upcoming second season of Bridgerton.
“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,” Netflix announced via a Lady Whistledown-style notice. “We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family.”
Suffice to say, Bridgerton fans aren’t thrilled about the update — especially since Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) is slated to return next season to help her older brother Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) get his love life together.
The duke of our hearts is aware that fans are disappointed by his sudden departure from the show, but the reality is that he was never meant to be a recurring character on Bridgerton — Simon was always destined to be a one season stunner. In an interview with Variety, Page revealed that he knew that his character's story would only last for a season from the very start.
"'It’s a one-season arc,'" he recalled Shondaland producers telling him before production began. "'It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year'. [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.”
Knowing what we know now, fans of the show should be prepared to not fall as deeply in love with the Bridgerton siblings' significant others in the future seasons, which may prove difficult. Page was undoubtedly a vision as Simon, and Shondaland plans to keep viewers swooning in the next installment with Anthony's love interest, a young debutante Kate Sheffield (played by Sex Education's Simone Ashley). Should Bridgerton continue being renewed after season two, there are six more siblings to focus on, which means six possible love lines with six new faces to become obsessed with.
So yeah. Guard your hearts and your loins, people.