As casting announcements continue for the second season of Netflix and Shondaland's hit series Bridgerton, news came down on Friday of who won' be returning to the series. With filming set to kick off in the UK this spring on a season set to focus on author Julia Quinn's second novel in the series, The Viscount Who Loved Me (which means the focus shifts to Jonathan Bailey's Anthony Bridgerton), Regé-Jean Page's Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, will not be a part of the series' second season return. "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," write Lady Whistledown in an "official announcement." "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."
In an exclusive statement to Variety, Page expressed his appreciation for the series' success and how the anthology-like format with shifting character focuses was one of the things that drove him to the project. "It's a one-season arc. 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. One of the things that is different about this [romance] genre is that the audience knows the arc completes," he explained. "They come in knowing that, so you can tie people in emotional knots because they have that reassurance that we're going to come out and we're going to have the marriage and the baby. I have nothing but excitement for 'Bridgerton' continuing to steam train off and conquer the globe, but there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing."
From Shondaland and Creator Chris Van Dusen, Bridgerton follows Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest daughter of the powerful Bridgerton family as she makes her debut onto Regency London's competitive marriage market. Hoping to follow in her parent's footsteps and find a match sparked by true love, Daphne's prospects initially seem to be unrivaled. But as her older brother begins to rule out her potential suitors, the high society scandal sheet written by the mysterious Lady Whistledown casts aspersions on Daphne.
Enter the highly desirable and rebellious Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), committed bachelor and the catch of the season for the debutantes' mamas. Despite proclaiming that they want nothing the other has to offer, their attraction is undeniable and sparks fly as they find themselves engaged in an increasing battle of wits while navigating society's expectations for their future. Bridgerton is a romantic, scandalous, and quick-witted series that celebrates the timelessness of enduring friendships, families finding their way, and the search for a love that conquers all.
Inspired by Julia Quinn's best-selling novels, the Netflix series first season also starred Jonathan Bailey (Anthony Bridgerton), Nicola Coughlan (Penelope Featherington), Claudia Jessie (Eloise Bridgerton), Ruby Barker (Marina Thompson), Adjoa Andoh (Lady Danbury), Golda Rosheuvel (Queen Charlotte), Luke Thompson (Benedict Bridgerton), Luke Newton (Colin Bridgerton), Ruby Stokes (Francesca Bridgerton), Will Tilston (Gregory Bridgerton), Florence Hunt (Hyacinth Bridgerton), Ruth Gemmell (Lady Violet Bridgerton), Bessie Carter (Prudence Featherington), Harriet Cains (Philipa Featherington), Polly Walker (Lady Portia Featherington), Ben Miller (Lord Featherington), Sabrina Bartlett (Siena Rosso), Martins Imhangbe (Will Mondrich), and Lorraine Ashbourne (Mrs. Varley). Julie Andrews serves as the voice of Lady Whistledown.