Fans of the popular Netflix period drama will notice the Duke of Hastings is missing from season 2 of Bridgerton. Here's why Regé-Jean Page isn't returning and what he's up to now.
Many of us have been patiently counting down the days till Bridgerton season 2 (opens in new tab) drops on Netflix. Promising more society gossip, awkward love triangles and property porn - thanks to the stately homes where Bridgerton is filmed (opens in new tab) - season 1 ticked all the boxes when it came to our boxset binge-watching needs. Though sadly, there's a rather BIG element that fans will be missing in the follow-up series - a certain Simon Bassett aka the Duke of Hastings.
His and Daphne Bridgerton's love story dominated the narrative in the first series. And their intimate moments proved famous enough for actress Phoebe Dynevor to share that she wouldn't let her grandparents watch Bridgerton (opens in new tab) because of it. Bidding goodbye to their romance and Regé-Jean Page will prove to be a hard pill to swallow for some. But there's a specific reason as to why he won't be returning. We share all the need-to-know information about his departure and what the beloved British actor is up to now.
Why is the Duke of Hastings not in Bridgerton season 2?
Technically Regé-Jean Page's character the Duke of Hastings is still 'in' Bridgerton, but he won't be making any on-screen appearances. Season 2 focuses on Anthony Bridgerton's hunt for true love and so the Duke is no longer integral to the main storyline.
Bridgerton's narrator Lady Whistledown (opens in new tab) confirmed the Duke's exit in an social media announcement shared April 2, 2021. "Dear Readers, 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 post read. Adding: "We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family."
Executive producer Chris Van Dusen explained how the show would cover the Duke of Hastings' disappearance in Bridgerton season 2: "We do reference Simon," he told TVLine. "In the very first scene of Season 2, Daphne mentions she left her husband and baby at home [to be there for Eloise’s debut].
"Unfortunately, it didn’t work out in terms of Regé being a part of the second season, but he will always be Bridgerton‘s Duke," he added. "He’s not going anywhere in the world of the show. And just because we don’t see him, it doesn’t mean that he’s not there."
Why is Regé-Jean Page not returning to Bridgerton?
Thankfully Regé-Jean Page's departure has nothing to do with creative differences behind the scenes. Instead, in an interview explaining his absence, Page shared he wasn't returning because he only signed up for the one season.
“[They said] It’s a one-season arc," he told GQ last year. "It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year. “[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."
"I have nothing but excitement for ‘Bridgerton’ continuing to steam train off and conquer the globe," he added. "But there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing."
Bridgerton producer Shonda Rhimes agreed that the actor's contract was only set for a year. And she doesn't hold his decision not to return against him, but rather thinks it's just the start for the 34-year-old:
"Rightfully, he said, ‘I signed up to do this one lovely story, this closed-ended storyline. I’m good!'" she told Variety (opens in new tab). "And I don’t blame him for that. I think that he was really smart to leave the perfection as the perfection."
She added that he's also "an enormous star" now. "As I like to say, the idea that we would write Regé to stand around in the background doesn’t make any sense at all to me. What would he do? is what I like to say."
It seems the 52-year-old is just as sad as fans he won't be returning. After news broke that Page wouldn't be back in April 2021, she tweeted a tribute to the pivotal character. "Remember: the Duke is never gone. He’s just waiting to be binge watched all over again," she wrote with an accompanying photo.
Twenty minutes later Regé-Jean also tweeted (opens in new tab) in reaction to the news of his no-return. Retweeting the Bridgerton announcement tweet he added: "Pleasure and a privilege! An honour to be a member of the family - on and off screen, cast, crew and incredible fans - the love is real and will just keep growing."
Where is Regé-Jean Page now?
Though no longer in Bridgerton, Regé-Jean Page has a number of exciting projects coming up. The 34-year-old actor most recently narrated the Netflix documentary Surviving Paradise: A Family Tale. He also stars in the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons film, plus thriller The Grey Man alongside Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans.
The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) also reports that Regé-Jean will produce and star in an as yet unnamed "heist thriller" film. The movie will be written and directed by Fargo creator Noah Hawley and produced by the Russo brothers' production company AGBO.
Of course there's also the James Bond rumours flying around. With Rege one name being put forward to play the new 007. Though the actor has been careful not to confirm or deny reports.
"Well, of all the things you’ll read about yourself on the internet, it’s one of the more pleasant and more flattering," Page said about the gossip. "But I take it and leave it at that, personally."
Is Daphne in season 2 of Bridgerton?
Yes, Daphne Bridgerton played by Phoebe Dynevor will be back for season 2 of Bridgerton. Lady Whistledown confirmed her return via the show's official Instagram account. "Daphne will remain a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer," the statement read.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab), Phoebe teased fans with what they can expect from her character in Bridgerton season 2.
"Daphne has become the adult of the family," she said. "She's found what she's looking for — she's had a baby, she's a wife and mother. There's a real confidence and womanhood about her this season."
She added that the newly married Duchess has become "the rock of the siblings in this season". She added: "Daphne's leading the way in terms of knowing what love is, what it means, and what marriage means, and she's trying to pass on that knowledge to Anthony."
With regards to her on-screen husband's exit, the actress said that Page's departure was "a spanner" in the works. But again reflected that the Duke's exit wasn't something that should come as a surprise given the structure of the show.
She told the Variety Awards Circuit Podcast (opens in new tab): "The show centers around the Bridgertons and there are eight books. And I think maybe the fans of the books were more aware of that happening than the fans of the show. I think the fans of the books know that every season is about a different sibling."
The Duchess' presence is not the only thing returning either, with the same classical riffs on pop songs expected in the Bridgerton season 2 soundtrack (opens in new tab) too.
Will the Duke return to Bridgerton in the future?
All hope is not lost for fans of the Duke of Hastings, as Regé-Jean Page has not publicly ruled out a future return to Bridgerton. The actor was asked if he would make a cameo appearance in season two of the show or any other future seasons (opens in new tab). To which he neither confirmed nor denied.
"I couldn’t possibly tell you!" he said in an interview with GQ (opens in new tab) last September. "Isn’t there something wonderful about being surprised by what you weren’t suspecting?"
Page's coyness certainly has us excited at the prospect of a future Duke re-appearance. But we guess all will be revealed in time.
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