Regé-Jean Page will not be returning to his role of Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, in Bridgerton’s second season, it was announced on Friday.
The shock news came from the show’s gossip queen Lady Whistledown, who wrote on Twitter: “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.”
However, Page’s on-screen love interest Daphne Bridgerton, played by Phoebe Dynevor, will still be part of the Regency-era storyline, remaining “a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer,” the note added.
While fans might be surprised by Page’s absence in the upcoming season of the hit Netflix and Shondaland show, the decision was apparently pre-planned. Page explained to Variety that was part of the reason why he was drawn to the role: “It’s a one-season arc,” he said. “I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit and then the Bridgerton family rolls on.”
Executive producer Shonda Rhimes also confirmed the news, posting a tribute to Page on Instagram, writing, “Remember: the Duke is never gone. He’s just waiting to be binge watched all over again,” along with the hashtag #ShondalandMenOnNetflixAreForever.”
But by no means will Page be short on work. He recently finished filming The Gray Man for Netflix alongside Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, and Ana de Armas, plus he’s slated to star in the upcoming film Dungeons & Dragons with Chris Pine and Hugh Grant.