Regé-Jean Page, the target of the internet’s thirst all winter, who played the Duke of Hastings on Bridgerton, will not be returning for Season 2 of the horny period drama.
“We bid adieu to Regé-Jean Page, who so triumphantly played the Duke of Hastings,” said Netflix in a letter posted on Instagram, written by Lady Whistledown, the mysterious columnist from the town's gossip newsletter. “We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family.”
Bridgerton, created by Shonda Rhimes, smashed Netflix streaming records and became the platform's most-watched series ever just a month after its debut. The popularity of a show packed with marriage dilemmas, frilly dresses, and Ariana Grande songs played with strings was also in large part because of the absolute steaminess between the Duke of Hastings, played by Page, and the show's lead, Daphne Bridgerton, played by Phoebe Dynevor.
Deadline, which first reported the news, said Page was only ever contracted to work the first season, as the later seasons — like the books they are based on — do not focus on his character.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure and a privilege!” wrote Page in an Instagram comment underneath the Netflix announcement. “Joining this family - the connection on and off screen, with our cast, our crew, all the incredible fans, has been like nothing I could have ever imagined - the love is real and will just keep growing ❤️❤️❤️💫”
But fans were still left shocked, with several posting on social media that Page was the reason they tuned in.
Even Kim Kardashian expressed her horror at the news in an Instagram comment.
The show launched Page’s career, and he’s due to appear in Netflix’s biggest-budget film along with Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. He recently won an NAACP Image Award and is nominated for a SAG award for his Bridgerton work, and hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live.
Even if Page saying “I burn for you” and proving himself as a good dad won’t appear on the second season of Bridgerton, his wife, Daphne, will still be around.
“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,” wrote Lady Whistledown.
And as Rhimes tweeted on Friday after the news of his departure, “Remember: the Duke is never gone. He’s just waiting to be binge watched all over again.”