‘Bridgerton’ Creator Shonda Rhimes Was ‘Really Shocked’ At The Uproar Over Regé-Jean Page’s Departure

Netflix Lady Whistledown recently announced that Bridgerton would bring at least four full seasons of Regency corset-drama to life. That’s happening even without resident smolderer Regé-Jean Page returning as the Duke of Hastings, and yep, it sure looks like fans will have to find a new obsession. There are plenty of eligible bachelors on the show, after all, and that might be one reason why the uproar to his departure may have been unanticipated.

Officially, though, executive producer Shonda Rhimes told Vanity Fair that, yes, she was very “shocked” by the fan response to the show, but for a different reason: because the Duke had only been around for one season, and it wasn’t like he had fallen down an elevator shaft or something (could you imagine that happening, though? it’d be so out-of-place in the era and, imo, great). Here’s how Rhimes explained her reaction:

“I was really shocked, because usually that happens when I’ve killed off somebody that’s been around for a while. Like, we didn’t kill him, he’s still alive! [Regé-Jean] is a powerful, amazing actor and that meant we did our job — every season, our job is finding the right people and putting together this incredible, world-shifting romance. I don’t know that I expected this much of an explosion, given that every book [in the Bridgerton series] is a different romance. 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! And now we have this next couple coming. And so yeah, I was like, whoa!

Rhimes also confirmed Page’s publicly issued stance that he’d only signed on for a one-and-done season, and the creator clarified that he was invited for some Season 2 cameos, but no dice. She added, “[H]he’s a busy man!” Previously, Page confirmed his departure on Instagram while describing his time on the show as “he ride of a life time.” He added, “It’s been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be your Duke… it’s all been beyond anything I could have imagined.” In the next few years, expect to see him onscreen in The Gray Man and Dungeons & Dragons.

Meanwhile, the upcoming season of Bridgerton will focus on the love life of Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), which goes along with the plan of Julia Quinn’s second series book, The Viscount Who Loved Me. John Oliver will undoubtedly be waiting to see if the next leading man does the “jizzing in blankets” thing, too.

(Via Vanity Fair)