Let's Pause On Chatter About Regé-Jean Page And Talk About That OTHER Bridgerton Departure

ruby stokes bridgerton
(Image credit: Netflix)

It was like a Regency-era bomb exploded last year when news broke that Bridgerton’s original breakout star, Regé-Jean Page, was quitting after one solitary season. The sudden departure will be easy enough to explain within the show since each season focuses on a different Bridgerton sibling, and next in line is Anthony (played by Jonathan Bailey). Nevertheless, fans burn for more of Page’s storyline – and they frequently have called for at least a cameo of the Duke of Hastings in the second season, which some critics have raved to be “horny as hell.” But more on that later – because there’s another major departure from the series to discuss, with a Bridgerton sibling having bowed out.

TVLine confirmed that the next exit from the Ton was actress Ruby Stokes, who plays the sixth oldest child of the family, Francesca Bridgerton. Showrunner and executive producer Chris Van Dusen revealed that Stokes filmed only three episodes of Season 2 before dipping out. Evidently, she had a previous obligation as one of leads in Lockwood & Co., yet another Netflix series based on popular books. (The title will feature teenage ghost-hunting, psychic detectives, and the like.) Van Dusen explained:

I love Francesca, but we lost her midway through Season 2. After exhausting all other options, she unfortunately had to come out due to reasons beyond our control. Perhaps Season 3 will be the charm.

Given that Francesca Bridgerton doesn’t become a staple until the sixth book in Julia Quinn’s literary series, the early exit isn’t quite so Earth-shattering as Regé-Jean Page’s was. Presumably, the three episodes' worth of scenes of Ruby Stokes in Season 2 have sufficed for the 17-year-old character she plays in the show. And at the very least, it sounds like the door is being left open for her in the future.

The door has technically been left open for Regé-Jean Page as well. Yet, Bridgerton mastermind Shonda Rhimes claimed at one point that idea of his character’s return wouldn't "make any sense” due to the actor's major stardom. Since leaving the 19th century English match-making world behind, Page has in fact taken on roles with heavy hitters like the Russo Brothers in The Gray Man and Chris Pine in the film Dungeons & Dragons, as well returning to his Netflix home in a narration capacity. He also continues to be a subject of discussion when it comes to the next generation of James Bond.

But again, the return option is clearly still there for departed stars. Heck, for all we know, that Regé-Jean Page cameo is awaiting us in the upcoming third season, or perhaps a between-seasons special solely focused on the actor's beloved character. It's not wishing for too much, right? 

We hoped you remembered everything relevant ahead of Season 2, which premiered on March 25 as part of Netflix’s 2022 TV schedule. Stay tuned for more updates about the romantic drama's future!

Lauren Vanderveen
Movies and TV News Writer

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.