Fans simply weren’t prepared for Regé-Jean Page’s swift exit from Netflix’s Bridgerton. In fact, they burned for more time with the show’s dashing Duke of Hastings. However, producer Shonda Rhimes was even less prepared for the outcry over the news from the series’ legion of horny devotees (Kim Kardashian included), for a totally different reason.
"We didn't even kill him, he's still alive," Rhimes joked, referencing the anger and heartbreak fans usually direct at her when she's killed off one of their favorite characters, like in Grey's Anatomy or Scandal.
While the TV writer and producer didn't expect "this much of an explosion" from fans, she said that the fervent reaction is a sign of a job well done.
"[Regé-Jean] is a powerful, amazing actor and that meant we did our job — every season, our job is finding the right people and putting together this incredible, world-shifting romance," she said. "I mean, really: what would Regé-Jean do, you know what I mean? We gave them their happily ever after! And now we have this next couple coming."
Earlier this month, when Page revealed that he would not return to the Bridgerton season 2, he explained that he was attracted to the role because it didn't drag on longer than it needed to. “I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit, and then the Bridgerton family rolls on,” he explained. “There is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing.”
He also added that making the show was a "pleasure and a privilege!" Quoting the news on Twitter, Page wrote: "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."
Rhimes' assertion that Page did his job — and did it well — dispels the nasty rumor circulating that the actor left because of "creative differences." An April 12 Page Six article even painted the actor as a bonafide diva, saying that a source had told them that he was upset for not being a "focal point" of the show.
It's certain that Page likely had most of Hollywood knocking on his door after he proved his star power on Bridgerton. Even if Page did turn down a few season-two cameos (reportedly offered with a pay bump) to go on to bigger and better things, why shouldn't he? Luckily, Bridgerton was just renewed for a season 3 and 4, so there will be many more hot people to lust after. In fact, the next chapter will focus on Anthony Bridgerton’s love life.
As they say, you really love someone and want the best for them, you let them go.