Netflix and Shondaland are breaking the hearts of some “Bridgerton” viewers with news that Regé-Jean Page, who plays the beloved Simon Bassett, will not be returning for season two of the show. The news came through the Bridgerton Netflix Instagram account on Friday, April 2.
The Instagram post was creatively made to seem like the show’s character Lady Whistledown made the announcement. It reads, “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. 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.”
Fans expressed disappointment in the news in the comments section. One person wrote, “Your Grace, this is not what I had in mind 😢.” Another viewer said, “The show just lost 80 million viewers.”
Some fans were holding on to the hope that the gut-wrenching news was just an April Fool’s joke. “Is this an April Fool’s Joke?! This isn’t funny,” said one watcher. Someone else simply put that if the news is true “I’m not watching,” a sentiment expressed by many fans.
But as it turns out, Page, who recently won the first award for the Netflix series at the March 27 2021 NAACP Image Awards, has revealed that he knew the role would be short-term.
He told Variety, “It’s a one-season arc. 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.”
Shortly after the news broke, Page had an Instagram message of his own for his fans. Dressed as his character Simon, he wrote, “The ride of a life time. It’s been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be your Duke. Joining this family – not just on screen, but off screen too. Our incredibly creative and generous cast, crew, outstanding fans – it’s all been beyond anything I could have imagined. The love is real and will just keep growing ❤️❤️❤️💫.”
Although fans have to say goodbye to their beloved Duke, the lovely tale will continue on with the Duchess’s eldest brother taking over the spotlight in the next season. As mentioned in the announcement, the novel-based series will highlight Lord Anthony Bridgerton’s journey of finding a suitable wife. “Sex Education” actress Simone Ashley will play his love interest.