Rege-Jean Page confirms he’s not returning to Bridgerton, calls it ‘the ride of a lifetime’

Dear Readers, this weekend was a sad one. It was formally announced on the Bridgerton Instagram page that our dear Duke of Hastings, Simon Bassett, will not be returning for season two (throws self dramatically into a chair and cries). Rege-Jean was the main draw of the show for many of us and his sex appeal is what kept us watching. Most of the other cast (read: the Bridgerton brothers) were a snooze fest. Supposedly Rege-Jean signed up to play the Duke because he knew the role was a one and done situation. Rege said he came in, played his part, and now it is time for him to exit stage left. Rege-Jean talked to Variety about his departure.

News of the duke’s departure will likely not come as a surprise to fans of the Julia Quinn novels on which the series is based, as the character’s storyline largely plays out in the first book “The Duke and I.” And the news certainly did not come as a shock to the star.

In fact, the short-term commitment was a big part of the role’s appeal, Page tells Variety exclusively.

“It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year,” Page says, recounting early conversations with Shondaland producers, who approached him about the role of Simon after “For the People” wrapped up. “[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.”

The British-Zimbabwean star adds that he relished the idea that “Bridgerton” is essentially an anthology, with each book (and subsequently season) dedicated to a different sibling’s love story.

“One of the things that is different about this [romance] genre is that the audience knows the arc completes,” he explains. “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.”

As such, the dashing duke’s on-screen storyline wraps up with Simon and Daphne solidifying their love story (and the duke exorcising his own daddy issues) with the birth of their first child, a son. Off screen, Page’s time in the Regency era has concluded similarly, as the actor was only contracted for one season of the show.

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

[From Variety]

Say it isn’t so! Why did Rege-Jean and Shonda have to break my heart this way? Who is going to ignite my inner middle-aged thotiana? Now I am wondering if I will even watch season 2. But honestly I know I will because I want to support the South Asian cast. Netflix also announced four new actors that have been cast for the show and two of the four are South Asian. I am all about giving Hollywood and streaming services an incentive to make their casts more diverse.

I hope that the writers of Bridgerton will be able to recreate the chemistry they had with Daphne and Simon with Kate and Anthony because I need the fire to leap off the screen. I will mourn the exit of the Duke. But I can’t be mad at Rege-Jean for wanting to move on. It would seem that despite the fact that Rege has starred in several successful projects (Roots remake, Sylvie’s Love and For the People) playing the Duke has jump started his career. Now Rege is signed on to some big budget projects such as Dungeons and Dragons and Netflix’s The Gray Man. I am looking forward to seeing where his career is going. And in five years or so I would love for Rege to take on the mantle of James Bond or perhaps get a role in the Marvelverse. As long as I can get my Rege Jean fix, I believe I’ll be just fine without Rege in Bridgerton.

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photos credit: Netflix/Liam Daniel and Getty

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53 Responses to “Rege-Jean Page confirms he’s not returning to Bridgerton, calls it ‘the ride of a lifetime’”

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  1. Case says:

    He’s smart. He was the breakout of the first season and from what I understand, his role in further seasons would be very small. Good to not tie himself down like that. I’m sure he has a lot of better opportunities ahead of him.

    It reminds me of when the first one in a boyband decides to split off before the band totally breaks up. It’s a good career decision that helps people establish themselves independently from how they got their start.

    • Bibi says:

      I agree. Didnt we read somewhere that he was always going to stay – but I think he’s such a heartthrob that he will be conquering the silver screen instead. His phone must not stop ringing. Good for him. Like I said before, I don’t want a boring sporadic sequel inside season 2 of Bridgerton where we only see glimpse of him with Pheobe. I want to see the romance, the ups and downs that lead to true love in Bridgerton – and that is why I’ll be there for Anthony in Season 2! emoji heart emoji heart #regejean emoji broken heart

    • Mia4s says:

      Honestly it’s too early to predict. He’s like fourth or fifth billed in that Chris Evans Netflix movie and the Dungeons and Dragons one could go either way. He’s got that hard to define “stuff” so I have no doubt he will work consistently; but unless he’s got Bond or a genre thing waiting in the wings the popular attention may be at its peak. The general public is fickle. Anyway, we shall see.

  2. Becks1 says:

    This makes total sense to me. He appears in each of the subsequent books, but he’s never again the focus of a scene, you could always replace what he does (pall mall, showing colin the balcony, etc) with someone else and it wouldnt be a big deal. I guess they could have obviously written the second season so that his part is bigger, but it makes sense if he thought he was signing up for a one-and-done deal that he wouldn’t necessarily want that. I think in some ways this is perfect for him – playing the Duke shot him to stardom, and I think he’ll always be remembered for that, but he gets out fast before people ONLY think of him as the duke, you know?

    The next three books are about the older brothers so I don’t think they will leave the series after their seasons, but I guess it will depend on what the writing does.

    I am excited for the next season, it completely depends on the chemistry between Kate and Anthony and I’m hoping that’s really good.

    • Noodle says:

      I just reread “The Viscount who Loved Me” and I am sad we won’t get some brief and competitive Simon/Daphne interactions during Pall Mall. That whole scene is hysterical and would have been a great way to integrate season one into season two a bit, but alas, I understand RJP’s situation and look forward to seeing him in more things.

      • Becks1 says:

        I would have loved for him to sign on just enough to do the pall mall scene and nothing else, lol. That’s such a fun scene for him and Daphne.

      • Heat says:

        I have a sneaky hunch that RJP will make a surprise cameo for the pall mall scene.

    • NiqGee says:

      This is how I feel. The only saving grace is that Jonathan Bailey has chemistry with a tree so it won’t be a difficulty with even a passable co-lead.

  3. SheaButterBaby says:

    Am I the only one who thought Rege seemed uncomfortable with the amount of attention he received for his role as the Duke? In his interviews he seems pretty low key, private, and almost as if he’s surprised that so many people are obsessed with him and lusting after him.

    • Lauren says:

      He might be, but did you see him on SNL? They played the whole thing up and did a whole skit on it. I think he’s fine with the attention, just wants to use it towards going on to other things.

  4. Ninks says:

    His character is completely irrelevant in the rest of the books so it’s not surprising that he didn’t want to play second fiddle to other characters. It’s a pity he’s not coming back for at least a cameo. Good luck to him.

    I only watched season one because I preferred the other characters and books so I won’t miss Simon and Daphne as the leads and hopefully now that the show doesn’t have such to try so hard to make the leads likable, they won’t throw any other characters under the bus in future seasons.

    Edited because I just remembered how awful Benedict is in his book.

    • Becks1 says:

      I’m hoping they do something a little different with his character and story line, because he really is pretty awful.

    • EMc says:

      I watched this series twice, which I have never done. I really loved him as Simon, and it goes without saying that he was sexy as heck, and I will be sad not to see him in season 2. I started reading the books after discovering the series and am on the book about Colin right now. I think season 2 will be good, but nobody will compare to Rege as leading man.

      Might be time for a 3rd rewatch…

  5. Elizabeth says:

    “Most of the other cast (read: the Bridgerton brothers) were a snooze fest.” 100% agree. He can do better and he will!

    • megs283 says:

      I could not tell the two older Bridgerton brothers apart.

      • SpankyB says:

        I couldn’t tell any of them apart at first. All three looked a like to me. It took a few episodes before I figured out the youngest. By the end I had them all straightened out but only because the oldest was shorter.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      I thought the biggest bore of all was the character of Daphne. I’m actually glad to hear that their story arc is mostly done, because if she was going to be the focus of the next season too, then I would probably skip it. Nothing against the actress, it’s the CHARACTER I find tedious.

  6. Chaine says:

    I don’t blame him for wanting to move on. Maybe he is worried about getting typecast as a rom-com guy.

  7. Aurora says:

    They should have cast hotter actors for the Bridgerton Bros. I couldn’t tell them apart.

    I feel bad for the black actress who played Hasting’s mentor. Certainly Rege’s exit means she’s out of a job?

    • Becks1 says:

      She shouldn’t be, she plays a role in each of the books, more so than in the first one, so I think they will definitely keep her on. In the books she’s less associated with Simon (I think there’s some connection in the first book, but she’s not his mentor and doesnt raise him the way she does in the show) and is more just kind of the “dragon” of society, so I would be shocked if they got rid of her.

    • Genevieve says:

      No, she’s a recurring character in the whole series.

      • Aurora says:

        Good to know she’ll still be around. I like the actress and the woman who plays the Queen as well.

    • Ninks says:

      She appears in all the books and plays a very significant role in Colin and Hyacinth’s books. She’s a fan favourite character so they’ll definitely find a way to keep her in the series. The ones I would be worried about are the Queen and Will. I’m sure the Queen will appear in future seasons but I can’t see her having the same prominent role as there’s no reason for her to get involved in the Bridgertons lives and it would have to be for very convoluted reasons for her to have anything to do with Anthony and Kate. Will and Alice are also original characters brought in to flesh out Simon’s story. Without him, they have no connection to the main characters or plots. It would be a shame to lose Will as he (and Martins) are lovely.

      • Aud says:

        Idk they’ve played up a whole rivalry between the queen and whistledown so I can see them continuing to have her play a role. Maybe smaller but she is a big fan of the social scene and enjoys meddling.

  8. Nic919 says:

    I also think with the covid restrictions and quarantine it would have been impossible for him to pop in for a few days of filming for a small role. I wouldn’t be surprised if he shows up in later seasons when that won’t be an issue.

  9. Bra one boob at a time says:

    God the idea of that man as James bond has made my day. Nope. Week.

    • lucy2 says:

      I know, right? He’d be excellent.

      I pretty much only watched the show to see him, and overall thought it was just ok so I probably won’t watch season 2, unless I am bored and out of other stuff to watch.
      He was also very good on SNL, and can sing, so I feel like there are a lot of doors open for him right now. Smart to take a 1 season commitment and then move on.

  10. J ferber says:

    Yes, I’d watch my first Bond movie if he were cast. He deserves to be a superstar with his looks, charisma, intelligence and acting skills. Hot damn.

    • Common sense says:

      I dislike James Bond so much that I don’t want him to be the next James Bond. That would mean that I must watch a James Bond movie and I really don’t want to watch an entire James Bond movie. The 5 minutes I watched one of those movies was enough for me. Honestly, Rege can do much better than that.

  11. Miss Margo says:

    I really tried to get into this show, but I couldn’t believe how unbelievably boring it was. This guy was the best one! And now he’s gone…

  12. MellyMel says:

    The second book is much better than the first, so they have the source material for a great second season, even without Rege. It does suck we won’t see him, but maybe as the show continues and Covid restrictions ease, he’ll pop up at some point.

  13. Ang says:

    A lovely response from a lovely guy. Good luck to him, and to Bridgerton. Love them both.

  14. Sofia says:

    I don’t blame him. He most likely wants to do serious roles and wants to get out before he’s typecast into the duke like roles. He may change is mind in the future and come back for the odd scene in season 3 or beyond but that’s up to him/Shonda.

  15. Mirage says:

    He must have great things in the pipelines, including possibly the “B role” he said he’s not supposed to talk about…..

  16. Chlo says:

    I never liked the Duke that much! Or the Duke’s and Daphne’s romance story. I looooove the second and third books, so I am here for Anthony and Benedict. Also, I respectfully disagree that they are snoozefests – I think Jonathan Bailey and Luke Thompson are hottttttt. But to each their own!!

  17. FilmTurtle says:

    I will most definitely miss how he is dressed and photographed in that show, that’s for damn sure.

    He’s referred to as “the British-Zimbabwean star,” which happens a lot. You never see white actors described as “the Italian-Irish star” or whatever.

  18. Bex says:

    Good for him!!! It’s obvious the show producers didn’t lock him in for multiple seasons, and didn’t expect him to be the breakout star.

    He’s likely had other work lined up since Bridgerton’s filming wrapped in February last year. He’s too busy, and in even greater demand now, after the show aired.

    He’s doing the right thing for his career to move on while roles are being thrown at him.

    Best to strike while the iron’s hot!

    • Heat says:

      If he stayed on for future seasons, he would only have a bit part…like, one step up from an extra.

  19. JDinoak says:

    Ok – so I watched the show and it was a good distraction…BUT I cannot get over the scene where she refuses to stop having sex with him. For me, it screamed consent issues – but it’s a woman doing it to a man, so I guess that’s not as bad??? He said stop and she refused and made sure he finished. If this was the other way around, I think the relationship dynamic would have a different response from people. It sucks, because I did enjoy the escapism of it until that scene – and I just can’t get past it.

    I’m always learning though, so happy to hear other perspectives…

    • Becks1 says:

      If you look back at older Bridgerton posts, we discussed that scene quite a bit.

      I did have a problem with it, because there was a definite lack of consent, but its better than in the book, where he’s really drunk and she has sex with him, so the sex itself isn’t really consensual because he’s so drunk. In the series, at least that actual sex was consensual, it was “just” her refusal to get off him that wasn’t consensual. and in the book, they have already had the conversation about why he never finishes inside of her, so she absolutely knows what she is doing is wrong. (that’s why he’s so drunk, they get into a big fight over it and he goes off to the pub and drowns his sorrows.) In the series, they have the convo AFTER she makes him finish inside her, so I think that’s also supposed to “help” – at that point she knows what he’s doing but doesnt know his reasons or thinking.

      I think its a problematic scene but its a pivotal part of the plot, so it would have been hard to eliminate it from the show.

  20. MerryGirl says:

    I’ll miss Rege-Jean, he was so hot on Season 1 but I wish him all the best. Not sure if I’ll tune in to Season 2 without him but the Asian/Indian cast is a bit intriguing so maybe I’ll see how it starts off.

  21. SpankyB says:

    I’m wondering if they just weren’t going to pay him enough for what would essentially be a bit role now. He’s a star now, he can demand the big money.

    I guess this means Hasting’s boxer friend isn’t going to be showing up. Now I’m really sad.

  22. February-Pisces says:

    I am devastated he’s not going to be in it. I know each book follows each Bridgerton sibling, but i thought he would be apart of it considering he was such a huge hit. I think from his point of view, there’s no point sticking around to be a secondary character especially when he was the star of the first season. Plus he’s now got a huge following and is probably inundated with work offers for much bigger projects. I’m surprised they didn’t consider writing in a much bigger part for him for the second season, but then that would compromise the book. I hope he atleast makes an appearance in future seasons even if it’s just a cameo.

  23. K says:

    If he is not the next Bond I will be shocked. He is going to be one.of the biggest stars we have seen in a long time.

  24. nothing to see here says:

    I think “supposedly” in the article is the operative word :-). My guess is that he and his team had a sense this role might break him out and wanted to leave options open. Clearly given the speed with which the new roles were announced the footage was circulating and the deals were afoot, probably even signed. What’s interesting is the ‘will he or won’t he’ + ‘are they or aren’t they (RJP/PD)’ stories they kept going which smacks to me of a really solid media team. Will be really interesting to see how the D&D movie comes out — that one feels risky, but what the heck do I know. Other than that he is hot AF.

  25. TeeMajor says:

    Well ME, I am still depressed about it and I drank a whole bottle of wine-while calling my friends to complain. This triggered me, I love period pieces and he is the hottest guy I have seen playing lead in a long, long time.

    I had hoped they show him away working on business by the fire occasionally or something, reading a love letter from his wife or writing one…maybe with a beautiful dog at his feet and a nice flounced, open shirt on. (don’t laugh)

    I am truly saddened and not over it yet.

  26. TeeMajor says:

    Well ME, I am still depressed about it and I drank a whole bottle of wind calling my friends to complain. This triggered me, I love period pieces and he is the hottest guy I have seen playing lead in a long, long time.

    I had hoped they show him away working on business by the fire occasionally or something, reading a love letter from his wife or writing one.

    I am truly saddened and not over it yet.

    Several of my friends have read the book, yadda, yadda, yadda.
    I’m sad.

  27. Mina_Esq says:

    He may have left Shondaland, but he is staying with Netflix. I have no doubt that he will get a lead role after he finishes that huge Netflix flick with Gosling et al. He is one of the sexiest and most handsome new actors we’ve gotten in years. He ain’t going anywhere, and I’m excited for him. As for Anthony…I actually didn’t like his book and stopped reading the series after it. If a man had been as disrespectful to me as Anthony was to Kate in the book, I’d run and hide from him. When he throws the keys at her in the study? Yeah, thanks but no thanks.

  28. nothing to see here says:

    HR reporting what many of us suspected. They wanted him back for guest spots in season 2 (50K per) — my guess is they would have taken whatever he offered — but he turned them down to focus on moving forward

  29. Edna says:

    Rege is making the right moves for his career. Supposedly, according to Variety, he’s been flooded with film offers. He needs to take advantage of this opportunity now while it lasts. He definitely doesn’t want to get passed over for a role due to ridiculous nonsense like this:

  30. Darla says:

    I hate Bond films and I never see them. I think he’d be great sure, but I kinda hope he lands something more interesting. There are huge Marvel franchises casting, so we’ll see. After I wrote this it crossed my mind that people are going to read this and be like, “you think Marvel is interesting???” and I laughed. But you know what I mean! It’s like how I always want to see Skarsgard in more interesting rolls. I feel robbed sometimes. Like you have this great talent, or this amazing sex bomb with off the charts charisma, do something with him.

  31. Veronica S. says:

    Since it was based on the books, he and Pheobe were bound to relegated to side roles, so I get why he jumped out for freedom’s sake if more opportunities were headed his way. Recasting will be fine. That’s something I’m betting will be a problem going forward with character focus. There’s usually a reason you use the same leads over several seasons.