Bridgerton is coming back for multiple seasons, much to the delight of fans, but series breakout star Rege-Jean Page has exited the show ahead of Season 2, much to the chagrin of fans. Now, Bridgerton producers Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers have spoken out about Page leaving the series and essentially clarified that it was never in the plan for Page to remain on the show for multiple seasons. After being asked by Vanity Fair how they reacted to the "outpouring of grief" from fans over Page's exit, Rhimes joked, "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!"
She added, "[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!"
Beers then chimed in, "It’s delightful that fans were so invested in his character, and he’s a wonderful actor and a terrific guy. I just want to say that. OK? He is." The new comments from Rhimes and Beers come after it was announced that Bridgerton has been renewed for Seasons 3 and 4, on top of its previous Season 2 renewal. However, Page has already bowed out gracefully from the show, as he has other projects on the horizon that he is focusing on.
Rhimes continued, "He’s amazing, but that’s our job and something that Betsy and I have been doing since — well, God, has it been 20 years now? — is finding guys. I mean, hopefully, ladies too, but finding men that our audiences find devastatingly attractive and they become incredibly overly attached to, and they get enraged about when we move them about in any way." The uber-producer also commented on the reports that the show offered Page a significant amount of money to return.
"We made a one-season deal with him at the beginning of season one. That was the plan: come and do one season as the duke," she explained. "Anything else that was extra and wasn’t really the plan when we started wasn’t the plan when we finished."
Vanity Fair noted that "Rhimes later clarified that Page was invited to return for Season 2 cameos, along with a few other Season 1 characters outside the Bridgerton family." Season 1 of Bridgerton is now streaming on Netflix, and Season 2 is expected to debut by the end of 2021 or early 2022.