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The actor, who is not returning for season 2, says the role was originally pitched to him as a one-season commitment

By Jodi Guglielmi
April 05, 2021 01:00 PM
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Regé-Jean Page's Simon Basset was here for a good time, not a long time — and he says that's how it was always intended it to be.

While news of the actor's departure from Bridgerton after just one season came as a shock to fans, Page, 31, recently told Variety that he never planned on returning. The role was originally pitched to him as a one-season commitment, he said, which was a big part of its appeal.

"It's a one-season arc. It's going to have a beginning, middle, end — give us a year," said Page, who was only contracted for one season of the show, recounting his early conversations with producers about the role. "[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."

Page — who played Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings — said he was attracted to the idea of Bridgerton as essentially an anthology series, with each of the original books in Julia Quinn's series focusing on a different love story.

Netflix renewed Bridgerton for a second season in January. The new season will follow Lord Anthony Bridgerton, played by Jonathan Bailey, as he attempts to find a wife. Simone Ashley has been cast as his love interest, Kate Sharma.

Bridgerton
Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton
| Credit: Netflix

"One of the things that is different about this [romance] genre is that the audience knows the arc completes," Page 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."

And with his character's storyline complete, the actor is looking forward to seeing where the show goes next.

"I have nothing but excitement for Bridgerton continuing to steam train off and conquer the globe," he said. "But there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing."

Rege-Jean Page
Regé-Jean Page
| Credit: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

Last week, Netflix announced that season 2 of the period drama will move on without Page. The announcement was made via a letter penned by Lady Whistledown.

"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," the note read. "We'll miss Simon's presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family."

The letter noted that Phoebe Dynevor, who played the Duke's love interest Daphne Bridgerton, will return: "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."

Page addressed news on Instagram, calling his experience on the show the "ride of a lifetime."

"It's been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be your Duke. Joining this family — not just on screen, but off screen too," he wrote. "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."

A premiere date for season 2 of Bridgerton has not yet been announced.