Regé-Jean Page is leaving Bridgerton, and his fans are in shock.
Page plays the dashing Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings, in the immensely popular series based on the romance novels of American writer Julia Quinn.
Season one of the series followed the love life of the Duke and his “fake romance” with Daphne Bridgerton, played by Phoebe Dynevor.
The British-Zimbabwean actor steamed up screens and fans in his love scenes with Dynevor, and he became television’s latest heartthrob.
The notice announcing Page’s departure was posted online by the show’s mysterious gossip, Lady Whistledown, in the Society Papers:
“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. We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family.”
Page responded to the post with his own message:
“It’s been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be your Duke. Joining this family – not just on screen, but off screen too. Our incredibly creative and generous cast, crew, outstanding fans – it’s all been beyond anything I could have imagined. The love is real and will just keep growing.”
Page said in an interview he agreed to the role of the Duke because it was a one-season contract. He had early conversations with Shondaland, the show’s production company, and they said, “It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year.”
Page said he 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.”
An online gossip claims Shondaland wanted Page to make cameo appearances but he refused and said, “it’s not a money issue, its an ego one.” Page’s fans are debating the merits of that rumour.
Fans are also threatening to never watch Bridgerton again due to Page’s departure.
Thankfully, Page will be seen on the big screen in The Gray Man and Dungeons & Dragons.
And there’s a loud buzz that he is the next James Bond.
Page recently won the NAACP Image Award for outstanding actor in a drama series for his role as the Duke of Hastings.
“This absolutely goes out to all of the incredible people on our team who made something so unique,” Page said, accepting the award virtually.
“It is the highest honor to represent us in the fullness of our beauty, of our glamour, of our splendor, of our royalty, of our romance, of our love,” he continued. “It is the highest honor to represent that and to represent the people I do represent and I will do my absolute best to be worthy of that.”
SOURCES: DECIDER.COM, GOODHOUSEKEEPING.COM, VARIETY.COM