Regé-Jean Page may have had his reasons for leaving Bridgerton, but it wasn't because he wasn't wanted. The 31-year-old actor shocked fans last week when news broke that he would not be returning as Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, in season 2 of Shonda Rhimes' Regency-era Netflix series.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Page only signed a one-year deal with the show, which focuses on a different one of the eight Bridgerton siblings every season. However, THR reports that Page was asked to return as a guest star in three to five episodes of the second season and would have made an estimated $50,000 per episode. The British heartthrob turned down the offer for a number of reasons, according to the trade publication.
While fans were surprised to hear that the Duke of Hastings would not be returning, Page did tell Variety that he was drawn to the role because it was a "one-season arc" with a "beginning, middle, end." He said it was always his intention to "contribute my bit and then the Bridgerton family rolls on."
As for the future of the show, the upcoming season follows Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) as he "intends to dominate the social season." Sex Education's Simone Ashley will play Anthony's love interest, Kate Sharma, newcomer Charithra Chandran will play Kate's younger sister, Edwina, and Rupert Young will play a new character specifically created for the series.