Say it ain’t so. Bridgerton hunk Regé-Jean Page, a.k.a Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings, will not be returning for season 2 of the popular Netflix series. The streaming service and producer Shondaland announced the news via the show’s Instagram account on Friday, April 2.
“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,” a message from the show’s incognito character Lady Whistledown read.
The post continued, “We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family. 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.”
The actor, 31, told Variety following the Friday announcement that he had always planned to leave after season 1. “It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year,” he said. “[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.”
He added, “I have nothing but excitement for Bridgerton continuing to steam train off and conquer the globe. But there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing.”
In an interview with Vanity Fair published on April 13, series executive producer Shonda Rhimes reaffirmed that Regé-Jean was always set to leave the series after season 1. “That was the plan: come and do one season as the duke,” she told the outlet. “Anything else that was extra and wasn’t really the plan when we started wasn’t the plan when we finished.”
However, the publication noted in an aside that the 51-year-old later clarified that “Page was invited to return for season 2 cameos, along with a few other season 1 characters outside the Bridgerton family.” The Grey’s Anatomy creator added, “There’s a lot of fantastically interesting talk that’s been going on, mainly ’cause I think people are having a hard time letting go.”
Regé-Jean played opposite actress Phoebe Dynevor in the show’s inaugural season and has become a breakout star through his steamy performance.
The Sylvie’s Love star spoke about the positive reaction he received for playing the now-beloved character in December 2020, just days after the series debuted on Netflix. “It’s a huge compliment to know that people trust me with characters that they want an audience to fall in love with … But that person on screen isn’t me,” Regé-Jean told The I. “The idea of Prince Charming is wonderful, so long as you can figure out what’s actually charming to us now.”
Viewers really latched onto the London native’s character, Simon, and his relationship with Daphne, played by Phoebe, 25. They begin the season at odds but agree to masquerade as a couple because of the mutual benefits it will bring them during the courting season. Meanwhile, the mysterious Gossip Girl-esque Lady Whistledown is determined to get to the bottom of their seemingly perfect romance in her anonymous weekly paper that is distributed to Britain’s high society members.
Their complicated on-screen relationship turned full-blown love affair left fans questioning if Regé-Jean and Phoebe were dating in real life. “I think everything you need to know is on camera,” the actor debunked the rumors to Access Online in January 2021. “That’s why we presented it so beautifully for you. And all the sparks that flew came out of the beautiful scripts that we were handed. So I think the sparks and words from the scripted material are more than enough.”
Season 2 is set to follow Daphne’s older brother, Viscount Anthony Bridgerton — who is head of the household but still unwed — on his quest for love during the courting season following Simon and Daphne’s romance.