Here’s Why the Duke of Hastings Isn’t in ‘Bridgerton’ & if Regé-Jean Page Would Come Back

·9 min read

If you’ve watched the new season, you may have asked yourself: Why isn’t the Duke of Hastings in Bridgerton season 2 and where is Simon Bassett?

Bridgerton, based on Julia Quinn’s book series of the same name, premiered on December 25, 2020, and went on to become Netflix’s most-watched original series. The show, executive produced by Shonda Rhimes, follows the Bridgertons, a well-respected, upperclass English family of eight siblings and their widowed mother during the Regency Era of England. Each season centers on a different Bridgerton sibling—Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth—with the first season following Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest of the Bridgerton daughters, and her relationship with the Duke of Hastings (a.k.a. Simon Bassett), played by Regé-Jean Page.

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Buy: ‘Bridgerton’ Books by Julia Quinn $62.99

The first season of Bridgerton made instant stars out of its cast, especially Page, who went on to host Saturday Night Live and book roles in movies like Dungeons and Dragons and The Gray Man. “It’s not colour blind casting because I don’t think it’s helpful to put brown skin in the show without putting brown people in the show,” Page told The Guardian in 2020 about Netflix’s decision to cast Bridgerton with a racially diverse cast. “This show is a glamorous, ambitious Cinderella fantasy of love and romance – I don’t know why you wouldn’t invite everyone to come and play in it, especially since we’re serving a global audience on Netflix. It takes so little imagination to include people, as opposed to how much thought and effort it takes to keep people out of these stories.”

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He added, “You realise that these characters are dealing with very 21st-century problems in the show; people have always had the same desires and needs, no matter whether it’s 200 years ago or now, it’s just dressed up in different clothes and shaped by different societal restrictions. We’re seeing this Regency romance through a feminist lens, examining what masculinity means for a broken antihero like my character and how he can then allow himself to change and be loved.”

So why isn’t the Duke of Hastings in Bridgerton season 2 and where is Simon Bassett? Read on for the real reason Regé-Jean Page didn’t come back to Bridgerton and whether he could return for a future season.

Why isn’t the Duke of Hastings in Bridgerton season 2

"Bridgerton"
"Bridgerton"

Why isn’t the Duke of Hastings in Bridgerton season 2? In April 2021, Netflix and Shondaland announced that Regé-Jean Page, who played the Duke of Hastings (a.k.a. Simon Bassett) in Bridgerton season 1, would not return for Bridgerton season 2. “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,” Netflix said in a statement via Lady Whistledown, Bridgerton‘s fictional newspaper. “We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family. Daphne will remain a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer – more intrigue and romance than my readers may be able to bear.”

SPOILER: The reason the Duke of Hastings isn’t in Bridgerton season 2 is revealed in the first scene of the second season when Daphne Bridgerton, the Duke’s wife and the mother of his son, August, explains that he couldn’t be there for her sister Eloise Bridgerton’s debut because he was at home taking care of their baby. In an interview with TV Line in March 2022, Bridgerton executive producer Chris Van Dusen revealed that the Duke of Hastings still exists in the Bridgerton world but isn’t shown because season 2 centers on Anthony Bridgerton’s love story and he isn’t a blood relative of Anthony like Daphne is. “We do reference Simon,” Van Dusen said. “In the very first scene of Season 2, Daphne mentions she left her husband and baby at home [to be there for Eloise’s debut]. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out in terms of Rege being a part of the second season, but he will always be Bridgerton‘s Duke. He’s not going anywhere in the world of the show. And just because we don’t see him, it doesn’t mean that he’s not there.”

Why isn’t Regé-Jean Page in Bridgerton season 2?

"Bridgerton"
"Bridgerton"

Why isn’t Regé-Jean Page in Bridgerton season 2? In an interview with Variety in April 2021, Page explained that—because of the way Bridgerton is structured (season 1 followed Daphne Bridgerton and the Duke of Hastings, while season 2 followed Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma)—he only signed on to play Simon Bassett for one season. “It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year,” he said. “[I 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.” He continued, “One of the things that is different about this [romance] genre is that the audience knows the arc completes. They come in knowing that, so you can tie people in emotional knots because they have that reassurance that we’re going to come out and we’re going to have the marriage and the baby.” He also confirmed to Variety that he didn’t want to return for Bridgerton season 2 because he thought Daphne and Simon’s arc had completed in season 1. “I have nothing but excitement for ‘Bridgerton’ continuing to steam train off and conquer the globe,” he said. “But there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing.”

In an Instagram post at the time, Page called his experience on Bridgerton the “ride of a lifetime.” “The ride of a life time. 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,” he captioned a series of photos of him on set with three heart emojis.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Page was offered an opportunity to return as a guest star for three to five episodes in Bridgerton season 2 for $50,000 an episode (which would have paid him between $150,000 and $250,000 in total), but he declined the offer because of his rising film career, which includes a role in the Russo brothers’ Netflix movie, The Gray Man, opposite Chris Evans, Ryan Gosling and Ana de Armas, as well as the upcoming Dungeons and Dragons movie with Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez and Justice Smith. The magazine also reported that Page saw an increase in film offers after Bridgerton season 1, which led to him guest hosting Saturday Night Live in February 2021.

The magazine also reported that Netflix knew Page had signed a one-season contract with Bridgerton, and that the show always planned for season 2 to be based on Julia Quinn’s second book, The Viscount Who Loved Me, and revolve around Anthony instead of Simon. However, when Bridgerton became Netflix’s most watched original series after its first season premiered in December 2020, sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Netflix contacted Page in January and February with an offer to return for season 2, even though the second season never had plans to include Simon. Because of rising film career and Simon’s small role in season 2, source told The Hollywood Reporter that Page decided to decline the offer. Phoebe Dynevor, who plays Simon’s wife Daphne Bridgerton, did return for Bridgerton season 2, however, in a much smaller role.

In an interview with Variety in May 2021, Page confessed that he wasn’t nervous about leaving Bridgerton, despite how much the show did for his career. When asked if he was nervous about leaving the show that made him a star, Page responds: “Not at all, because that’s what was meant,” he said. Simon was this bomb of a one-season antagonist, to be reformed and to find his true self through Daphne. He continued, “I think one of the bravest things about the romance genre is allowing people a happy ending.” Page also told the magazine that his “phone was across the room” when news broke he wouldn’t come back to Bridgerton. Bridgerton executive producer Shonda Rhimes told Variety that she wasn’t upset with Page’s decision to leave the show. “We’re used to speculation and drama when I kill a character off of a show, but this was different,” Rhimes said. “Regé was just doing what his character was written to do — ride off, alive, into his happily ever after.”

Rhimes also told Variety in 2021 that she doesn’t expect Page to return to Bridgerton in the future as the next seasons of the show will follow other Bridgerton siblings and it wouldn’t make sense for Page to come back. “I don’t think so,” she said. “And here’s why. He’s an enormous star now. As I like to say, the idea that we would write Regé to stand around in the background doesn’t make any sense at all to me. What would he do? is what I like to say.”

Bridgerton is available to stream on Netflix. Here’s how to read the Bridgerton books for free.

"Bridgerton" Books
"Bridgerton" Books

Bridgerton Books by Julia Quinn

Buy: ‘Bridgerton’ Books by Julia Quinn $62.99

For more about Bridgerton, read Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton book series. The book series—which consists of eight main books, one epilogue and four prequels—follows the Bridgertons, a well-respected, upperclass English family of eight siblings and their widowed mother during the Regency Era of England. Each of the books is centered on a different Bridgerton sibling—Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth—as they search for true love. The first Bridgerton book, The Duke and I, followed the love story between Daphne Bridgerton and the Duke of Hastings (a.k.a. Simon Bassett) was the inspiration for season 1 of Netflix’s Bridgerton TV series. The second book, The Viscount Who Loved Me, which followed Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sheffield (renamed Sharma in the Bridgerton show), was the inspiration for season 2. The third book, An Offer From a Gentleman, follows the relationship between Benedict Bridgerton and Sophie Beckett, and will likely serve as the inspiration for season 3. The main eight Bridgerton books are available on Amazon for $62.99, which savers fans about $30 from purchasing each book individually.

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