The actor, 31, was offered the chance to be a guest star in three to five episodes of season 2 but declined to reprise his role as Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The outlet reported that Page would have received $50,000 per episode if he had accepted.
The Roots alum reportedly turned down the deal due to his desire to pursue his film career. However, The Hollywood Reporter also claimed that he was never intended to be a part of season 2, and production only reached out about a possible return in January or February after he became the show’s breakout star. Still, he could appear in future seasons, the outlet noted.
Season 1 of Bridgerton, which premiered on Netflix in December 2020, focused on the love story surrounding Page’s Simon and Phoebe Dynevor’s Daphne Bridgerton. Season 2 will center on Jonathan Bailey’s Anthony Bridgerton and Simone Ashley’s Kate Sharma.
Nevertheless, fans were shocked on Friday, April 2, when the official Bridgerton Twitter account announced that Page would not return for another season. “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 statement, penned from the perspective of the show’s narrator, Lady Whistledown, read. “We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family. Daphne will remain a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer — more intrigue and romance than my readers may be able to bear.”
The For the People alum, for his part, explained his exit on Friday, confirming he was only ever set to appear in the first season. “It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end — give us a year,” he told Variety of his early conversations with producers. “[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.”
Page added that he has “nothing but excitement” for the series as it continues without him, but “there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing.”
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The London native later expressed his gratitude via Instagram. “The ride of a life time,” he gushed on Friday. “It’s been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be your Duke. Joining this family – not just on screen, but off screen too. Our incredibly creative and generous cast, crew, outstanding fans – it’s all been beyond anything I could have imagined. The love is real and will just keep growing.”
Page’s costars have yet to address his departure. Production on season 2 of Bridgerton began in London on March 29 with the first table read.