R.I.P. Mark Darcy: New ‘Bridget Jones’ Book Kills Off Mr. Perfect

Bryan Enk
Movie Talk
Colin Firth
Colin Firth

Is Bridget Jones ready for widowhood?

Fans of the "Bridget Jones" books certainly don't think so, as the Twitter-verse is in an uproar upon the revelation that Mark Darcy, the knight in shining armor (or at least only mildly nausea-inducing Christmas sweaters) who proposed to our neurotic heroine at the end of "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason," doesn't appear in the latest "Bridget" installment because... he's dead!

News of Darcy's demise came via extracts from Helen Fielding's new novel, "Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy," that were published in The Sunday Times. The book begins five years after Darcy has died, with Bridget now the 51-year-old single mother of two children, Mabel and Billy. We find that bereavement hasn't really changed Bridget much, as she's still obsessed with aging (which might have something to do with her current passionate affair with a 29-year-old) and has turned her OCD attentions to texting and tweeting.

Bridget's continuing struggle with something resembling emotional growth comes as no surprise, but the absence of Mark Darcy certainly does. The cause of his demise won't be revealed until the book hits store shelves in October, though fans are already expressing their shock and dismay.

"Bridget Jones' Diary," which practically invented 'chick lit' as it chronicled the romantic pratfalls of a thirtysomething woman navigating the singles scene of contemporary London, was first published in 1996 and went on to sell over 15 million copies worldwide. The sequel, "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason," was published in 1999.

Mark Darcy became an even more popular character upon being portrayed by Colin Firth in the screen adaptations, "Bridget Jones' Diary" (2001) and "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" (2004). The former earned Renee Zellweger an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the title character, what Daily Mail refers to as "an everywoman for single girls; the patron saint of drunken wallflowers whose careers were going nowhere fast."

The casting of Firth as Mark Darcy in both films is something of an inside-joke, as Bridget in the "Edge of Reason" novel is obsessed with the BBC version of "Pride and Prejudice" ... and actor Colin Firth, who plays Mr. Darcy in that adaptation.

"Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy" will hit store shelves on October 15. No film adaptation has been officially announced, though we imagine you can count on it happening eventually ... and without too much if any Colin Firth, apparently.

Honor Darcy's Memory — Watch 'Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason' Trailer: