This has truly been a big, and wonderful, day for Bridgerton fans. We've now been guaranteed a whole three new seasons of the Regency romance, with the greenlight being given for both Season 3 and Season 4, meaning that there will be a whole lot of lovin' on Netflix in the upcoming years. But, many fans are still heartbroken over the fact that Season 1 star Regé-Jean Page won't be back, at all, apparently, and Bridgerton executive producer Shonda Rhimes has the best response for the outcry over his absence.
TV super producer Shonda Rhimes has been bringing fans very diverse romances, hard-hitting drama, and intriguing stories and characters for many years now. The mastermind behind massive hits like Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away with Murder knows a lot about having actors (and their characters) come and go from her many successful shows, and in a recent chat with Vanity Fair she expressed her surprise at the reaction from fans when they found out that Regé-Jean Page would not be bringing his Duke of Hastings back for more adventures, noting:
I was really shocked, because usually that happens when I’ve killed off somebody that’s been around for a while. Like, we didn’t kill him, he’s still alive! [Regé-Jean] is a powerful, amazing actor and that meant we did our job—every season, our job is finding the right people and putting together this incredible, world-shifting romance. I don’t know that I expected this much of an explosion, given that every book [in the Bridgerton series] is a different romance. What would be the ever-after of this combo? I mean, really: What would Regé-Jean do, you know what I mean? We gave them their happily ever after! And now we have this next couple coming. And so yeah, I was like, whoa!
You know, Shonda Rhimes makes some very good points here! The international disappointment when it was announced that Regé-Jean Page wouldn't be coming back to Bridgerton is akin to when Grey's Anatomy killed off several of its lead characters within a few episodes of one another. I can imagine that she and others behind the scenes expected for fans to be upset at not having a chance to ogle Simon Basset anymore, but, as Rhimes said, it's not like he's dead! I fully expect fanfic to fill in gaps we won't see with the marriage of Simon and Daphne, and that will probably have to be good enough for all of us.
What we heard when the news first came out was that Page's deal was always for one season, because, like Shonda Rhimes said, his journey to forever love is done by the end of Season 1. But, it was clear as Bridgerton quickly became a huge hit, that one of the reasons fans were so in love with the show was the Duke and Page's portrayal of him. So, earlier this year, showrunner / creator Chris Van Dusen noted that he was hopeful that we'd see both Daphne and Simon again, which gave fans similar hopes.
After we found out that Page wasn't returning, though, we heard that he may have turned down lucrative opportunities to come back for a few guest appearances, with it sounding like he was simply ready to move on. This tracks with what Rhimes said, as she wondered aloud in her interview about what he'd even do in Season 2, because "we gave them their happily ever after," and the couple of Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma are set to lead the charge in the new season, anyway.
Hopefully, all the fans who've said they're not going to watch Bridgerton again because there will be no Regé-Jean Page will change their minds when Season 2 comes around, and the show will continue to be a huge hit so that we can get all of the eight books in the series turned into fantastic, on-screen romances. Until the Bridgerton Season 2 cast hits Netflix, you can check out what else is on the small screen right now with our guide to 2021 TV premieres!