The announcement was made on Friday by both Netflix and Shondaland over the show's upcoming season.
It is hard enough to bid goodbye to a beloved TV character if their character dies in the show. Imagine having to miss them in the upcoming season, when they were oh-so-awesome in the previous one. For all Bridgerton fans, it was a shocking revelation as they bid adieu to Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, and the actor who played him, Regé-Jean Page. Don't worry, he's absolutely fine, but in an unexpected announcement, Netflix and Shondaland stated on Friday that the character will not appear on the show's upcoming second season. The news was revealed via a notice from Lady Whitsledown.
“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,” the message began. “We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family,” it continued. “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.”
Now that the duke has departed, many of the show's fans remain disappointed considering the character's storyline is an integral part of the first book in Julia Quinn's novels. Limiting the role to a short-term concept has had a pivotal impact on the character's appeal amongst the masses. “It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year,” Page says, recounting early conversations with Shondaland producers, who approached him for the role of Simon after “For the People” wrapped up. “[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.”
According to the British-Zimbabwean actor, he had liked the idea that Bridgerton could be an anthology of sorts. “One of the things that is different about this [romance] genre is that the audience knows the arc completes,” he explains. “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.”
Bridgerton has certainly not failed to impress as the romance show has been a literal blockbuster on Netflix. The streaming platform reported that over 80 million households viewed the series within weeks of its Christmas Day release. Critics have also praised the show as the cast was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance in an ensemble in a drama series.
“I have nothing but excitement for ‘Bridgerton’ continuing to steam train off and conquer the globe,” Page says. “But there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing.” On social media, “It is the highest honor to represent us in the fullness of our beauty, of our glamour, of our splendor, of our royalty, of our romance, of our love,” he said, upon receiving his individual award. “It is the highest honor to represent that and to represent the people I do represent and I will do my absolute best to be worthy of that.”