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When news began to spread that Bridgerton's beloved Duke of Hastings, played by breakout star Regé-Jean Page, was not returning for Season 2, viewers were not happy—and they were not afraid to say so. The reaction was so large that it left Shonda Rhimes, the show's producer, stunned.
"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!" Rhimes said in an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair after Netflix greenlit the series for an additional two seasons.
After the premiere season ended, fans were eager for more details of what the second season had in store. In early April, Lady Whistledown herself confirmed that the season would shift focus to Lord Anthony—the eldest of the Bridgerton family.
Rhimes went on to say in the interview, "I don’t know that I expected this much of an explosion, given that every book [in the Bridgerton series] is a different romance. What would be the ever-after of this combo? I mean, really: What would Regé-Jean do, you know what I mean? We gave them their happily ever after! And now we have this next couple coming. And so yeah, I was like, whoa!"
Rhimes also reiterated that it was always meant to be this way, with expectations of Page staying on for just one season. "We made a one-season deal with him at the beginning of season one. That was the plan: come and do one season as the duke. Anything else that was extra and wasn’t really the plan when we started wasn’t the plan when we finished."
After his departure was announced, Page said in an interview with Variety, “I have nothing but excitement for Bridgerton continuing to steam train off and conquer the globe,” he says. “But there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing.”
Nevertheless, some fans are beginning to warm up to the idea of the series' evolution, with some speculation about potential new leads for upcoming seasons.
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