Where is Regé-Jean Page?
Mega-hit Bridgerton is returning to Netflix – but there’s one notable absentee
It was the show that spawned a spin-off immersive experience, smashed Netflix records and single-handedly relaunched the popularity of fancy tea sets. And on 25 March, mega-hit Bridgerton is back for a second season – but there’s one notable absentee.
Sultry heartthrob Regé-Jean Page, who titillated legions of fans with his seductive spoon licks and suggestive eyebrow raises, will not be reprising his breakout role as the Duke of Hastings, Daphne Bridgerton’s key love interest.
Netflix and Shondaland, the television company behind the hit show, broke the news last April with a Lady Whistledown-style announcement. “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,” the message said.
Although the news dismayed fans of the 34-year-old British-Zimbabwean hunk (and sparked more than one Change.org petition), character Simon Basset’s “one-season arc” didn’t come as a shock to Page. In fact, the short-term commitment was part of his attraction to the role. “I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit and then the Bridgerton family rolls on,” he told Variety.
“I have nothing but excitement for Bridgerton continuing to steam train off and conquer the globe. But there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing.”
Members of the Page posse need not cancel their Netflix subscriptions in protest at the duke’s departure. In early March, the actor lends his dulcet tones to Surviving Paradise: A Family Tale, a well-reviewed documentary following multiple lion prides struggling during a dry season in southern Africa’s Kalahari Desert.
“In the trailer alone, I felt like I was falling into a blissful dreamstate just listening to his soothing voice,” said CinemaBlend’s Megan Behnke.
Page is also co-starring in an adaptation of the 2009 Mark Greaney novel The Gray Man, alongside Chris Evans, Ryan Gosling and Ana de Armas. With a reported budget of $200m, the spy thriller – expected to be released this summer – has been described as “Netflix’s biggest-ever movie”.
Those eagerly anticipating the return of Bridgerton later this month can take comfort from the knowledge that seasons three and four have already been commissioned – as well as a spin-off series focusing on Queen Charlotte.
The latest season is expected to take inspiration from The Viscount Who Loved Me, the second book in Julia Quinn’s series. This story “follows the eldest Bridgerton, Anthony, on his own quest for love”, said Marie Claire, and sees “Anthony’s fiancée’s disapproving and very protective older sister reluctantly warming up to the ‘consummate rake’ – perhaps a little too much so”.