Always on our minds! Regé-Jean Page‘s absence as Simon Basset was felt during season 2 of Bridgerton — but it wasn’t mentioned.
Page’s disappearance as the Duke of Hastings seemed to be treated as if he wasn’t meant to appear in the sophomore season to begin with. Instead, his on screen love interest, Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), filled the void and offered a glimpse at the couple’s son, Augie.
The For the People alum shocked Bridgerton fans when he announced that he wouldn’t be returning for future story lines, but then confirmed he never intended to do season 2.
“It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year,” he told Variety in April 2021, referring to the conversations he had with the producers when the show began. “One of the things that is different about this [romance] genre is that the audience knows the arc completes. 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.”
At the time, producer Shonda Rhimes revealed that she was shocked by the online disappointment in response to Page’s decision.
“I don’t think I fully expected or understood what releasing all eight episodes around the globe at once was going to do,” Rhimes shared during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in May 2021. “I was like, ‘I’ve killed many a man that people adore.’ I’m so surprised that everybody is [losing it over a character we’ve watched] for eight episodes leaving.”
Dynevor, for her part, noted that there was room to mention the Duke of Hastings even without him appearing on screen. “I think he’ll definitely be referred to a lot. I think we’ll see the baby. And we’ll just focus more on [Daphne’s] relationship with the Bridgerton family,” the Younger alum told The Wrap in June 2021.
She added: “I think the fans who have read the books and know the books are aware that every season will focus on a different sibling’s journey. And it might be a little bit more of a — not shock, but like a surprise for the fans that love Daphne and Simon’s story so much. But I think that’s honestly the joy of the show in the long-term, getting to see these different love stories play out.”
As the series prepared to follow Anthony Bridgerton’s (Jonathan Bailey) love story with Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley), Page opened up about his decision to also leave the cast group chat.
“I’m no longer in it,” the U.K. native told GQ in September 2021. “I respectfully exited. I didn’t want to put them in an awkward situation where they had to kick me out.”
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Scroll on for all the ways Bridgerton mentioned the Duke of Hastings in his absence: