- Bridgerton -Shonda Rhimes Responds To Regé-Jean Page's 'Bridgerton' Exit
April 2, 2021, will always be remembered as the day Regé-Jean Page announced that he would not be returning to Bridgerton for Season 2. The loss of our beloved Duke of Hastings, reluctant husband and enthusiastic lover, hit fans hard. Over a week post-announcement, executive producer Shonda Rhimes is opening up about the fan reaction to Page's Bridgerton exit.
In a recent interview celebrating Netflix's decision to pick up Seasons 3 and 4 of Bridgerton, Rhimes addressed the outrage from fans, saying she, the woman responsible for killing George O'Malley and making literally every single character in Scandal a murderer, was completely caught off guard. "I was really shocked, because usually that happens when I've killed off somebody that's been around for a while," she told Vanity Fair. "Like, we didn't kill him, he's still alive!" (Who knew Bridgerton fans would be responsible for the one twist Rhimes never saw coming?)
Rhimes continued, saying that the fan's devastation at the news meant that the Bridgerton cast and crew had done their job. "Every season, our job is finding the right people and putting together this incredible, world-shifting romance," she added, before reiterating that Page had only been contracted for one season. "That was the plan: come and do one season as the duke. Anything else that was extra and wasn't really the plan when we started, wasn't the plan when we finished."
Though she refused to get into the specifics of Page and the rest of the cast's contract negotiations, Rhimes confirmed to Vanity Fair that Page had been asked to return for a few Season 2 cameos, but turned it down, as previously reported by The Hollywood Reporter. But it seems that there are no hard feelings between the producer and star, as Rhimes admitted to Vanity Fair, "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!" I think I speak for all fans when I say, sometimes we want to actually see the happily ever after, too. But, point taken.
Meanwhile, Rhimes confirmed that the show would continue to introduce new love stories each season, following the progression of Julia Quinn's book series. First up are Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma, but it sounds like the showrunners have plans to take fans through the love stories of all eight Bridgertons. "The concept is that every season, there’s a couple and that couple is the hot couple that you’re falling in love with, right? And there are eight Bridgertons," she said, promising the show would "grow Hyacinth up and you’ll see her story too."
It's no Duke of Hastings, but I'll take it.
Image: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX