Regé-Jean Page may have been “really smart” in his decision to leave Bridgerton, according to Shonda Rhimes.
After Page starred in season 1 of the romantic period piece, the show revealed that the later seasons would not feature his character, Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings.
The move upset viewers who had become fans of the Duke and his steamy relationship with Phoebe Dynevor’s Daphne Bridgerton, though Rhimes told Variety the uproar surprised her.
“I don’t think I expected everybody to have such a reaction to it,” she said in the outlet’s latest cover story. “My assumption of what people knew of romance novels was … I overestimated a great deal.”
“People’s attachment to couples is real — I mean, I know that better than anybody,” Rhimes continued. “And I think that means success. But I do understand their despair.”
When asked whether there’s any chance the actor returns for one of the forthcoming seasons of Bridgerton, the Grey’s Anatomy creator said she doesn’t think so.
“And here’s why,” she said. “He’s an enormous star now. As I like to say, the idea that we would write Regé to stand around in the background doesn’t make any sense at all to me. ‘What would he do?’ is what I like to say.”
Rhimes did note that when “everybody lost their minds” following Page’s departure, the show invited him back, but he declined.
“Rightfully, he said, ‘I signed up to do this one lovely story, this closed-ended storyline. I’m good!'” she recalled. “And I don’t blame him for that. I think that he was really smart to leave the perfection as the perfection.”
Bridgerton, based on author Julia Quinn’s book series of the same name, was a smash hit following its first season premiere in December 2020.
The series was renewed through season 4 in April — though Rhimes told Variety that she thinks it will go much longer.
“There are eight Bridgerton siblings, and as far as I’m concerned, there are eight Bridgerton seasons,” she said. “And maybe more.”
The upcoming second season, which does not yet have a premiere date, will follow Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) as he embarks on a journey to find love.
We can not wait to see what’s next for Regé-Jean Page.