Throughout the first season of the hit Regency England-set Netflix series, which is inspired by Julia Quinn‘s books of the same name, Page played the role of the cocky and witty Simon Basset, otherwise known as the Duke of Hastings.
Bridgerton has just been renewed for Seasons 3 & 4 as production is currently underway on Season 2.
His character maintained a flirtatious rapport with protagonist Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and, after battling several conflicts and miscommunications, the pair ultimately fell in love and wed. Upon the release of Bridgerton, Page became a fan-favorite for his provocative portrayal of Daphne’s unlikely love interest.
When news broke that Page would not be returning to Bridgerton for season 2, the role’s original one-season arc was pointed to as the reason. The Duke of Hastings’ story, after all, ends in book one of the series.
But as Page Six exclusively reports, the actor’s decision in turning down reprising his role was also based on the duke’s lesser involvement in the proposed season 2 story:
“Regé is not coming back to Bridgerton because of creative differences with [executive producer] Shonda Rhimes and her team…He wasn’t happy with what was planned for his character for Season 2, which would have kept him a player but not the focal point of the show.”
Plus, “Regé has been inundated with offers for other interesting and challenging leading roles.”
But the source continued, “If you look at all the big names who have left [Rhimes’ hit show] Grey’s Anatomy in the past, you see you don’t disagree with Shonda, nobody is bigger than the show,” adding that Page is leaving on good terms despite the “creative differences.”
Of his exit, the 31-year-old hunk told Variety earlier this month, “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.”
While acknowledging that fans might be saddened by his exit, he was convinced that “the audience knows the arc completes.” The actor continued, “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.”
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