Like, we didn’t kill him, he’s still alive: Bridgerton producer Shonda Rhimes on fans' reaction of Rege-Jean Page’s exit


Netflix has renewed its popular series Bridgerton for Season 3 and Season 4 as well, but its fans have reacted with dismay when the news broke out about Regé-Jean Page’s exit from the show. The popular actor who played the role of Simon Basset aka Duke of Hastings in the first season will not be reprising his role in Season 2. Now, executive producer Shonda Rhimes has broken her silence on the actor’s exit.

Talking to an online portal in which Shonda was joined by executive producer Betsy Beers in conversation, she weighed in on the reaction and said that it was not what she had anticipated. She said, “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! 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.”

Shonda Rhimes Shocked by 'Bridgerton' Backlash to Rege-Jean Page Exit |  TVLine

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The reaction left Shonda wondering that what would the actor’s character do if her were to return to Season 2, alongside his romantic interest, Phoebe Dynevor’s Daphne Bridgerton as she had already given them a happily ever-after with a son at the end of season 1. Shonda said, “What would be the ever-after of this combo? We gave them their happily ever after! And now we have this next couple coming. And so yeah, I was like, whoa!” However, Phoebe’s Daphne is all set to return to Season 2 as she helps her brother Anthony Bridgerton find his own match. Shonda further said noting that she had to kill off characters in the 20 years in show business and said, “That’s our job… 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…when we move them about in any way.”

The news of Page’s exit was first unveiled on Netflix’s Twitter account, in the form of a letter penned by Bridgerton character Lady Whistledown who poses as the series’ narrator. Following the announcement, Shonda wrote on Insatgram, “Remember: the Duke is never gone. He’s just waiting to be binge watched all over again. #ShondalandMenOnNetflixAreForever.”

Reportedly, an effort was made to bring Page back in Season 2 in a guest role but the deal never materialized. Still, the character will supposedly be reference in the series, going forward. Bridgerton is created by Chris van Dusen and is based on the romantic best-selling novels by Julia Quinn.

(Source: Variety/Deadline)