I weep for the loss of Simon, the Duke of Hastings–my third favorite aristocrat behind Harry and Megan–as he exits the Netflix smash hit Bridgerton. That’s right folks, the heartthrob and SNL natural Regé-Jean Page will no longer grace our screens as the broad shouldered Duke who overcame his daddy issues to evolve into peak husband material. Like previous announcements from the Bridgerton team, the earth shattering news was delivered via gossip queen Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers on Friday.
While the news has come as a shock to me, those who have devoured the Julia Quinn books on which the series is based know that the Duke doesn’t play a major role in the remaining story. The first season of Bridgerton was based on the first book, The Duke and I, which tells the story of Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon’s high society love affair. Bridgerton completed its first season run as the most watched show in Netflix history, with a record of 82 million households who watched the show globally.
The second season will follow Daphne’s brother Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) as he pursues a match suitable for his status as landed gentry. “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,” Whistledown wrote in a statement.
In an exclusive interview with Variety, Page told the magazine that the original plan was always for him to only participate in Season 1. “It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year.” He continued, “[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.”
“One of the things that is different about this [romance] genre is that the audience knows the arc completes,” he said. “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.”
Just last week, Page won the NAACP Image Award for outstanding actor in a drama series for his role in Bridgerton. This was the first acting award earned by the series. Page is also nominated for both individual and ensemble acting awards at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which will air on Sunday.
Here's the full statement from Bridgerton and all the reactions from Friday's news: