Big Bridgerton news dropped on Friday: Regé-Jean Page, the breakout star of season one, will not return for season two. The duke is done. Many people are heartbroken, even though I previously mentioned that Simon and Daphne are not main players in the second book, which features Anthony as the romantic lead. Still, it is interesting that Phoebe Dynevor, the duchess herself, is sticking around for season two as “Lady Whistledown” noted on Twitter that Daphne will “remain a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season”. There is definitely a conversation to be had about men breaking out of romantic roles while the women they work with get left behind (see also: Noah Centineo and Lana Condor; Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles; Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes). Page is out here booking major movie roles and hosting SNL while Phoebe Dynevor gets to date Pete Davidson. These are not equal opportunities.


I’m not really surprised, though, that Page is leaving the show, or to learn, as per Deadline, that his contract was only ever for the one season. In the Bridgerton books, the spouses are generally disposable after their book is done. The siblings stick around for each other, but their spouses more or less fade into the background. And don’t start yelling at me about Pall Mall, I KNOW Simon is part of the annual game, but he’s hardly indispensable to that scene. They can play Pall Mall (croquet) without him. We do know the identity of one key Pall Mall player, though, as Charithra Chandran has been cast as Edwina Sharma, Kate’s younger sister and the latest “diamond of the first water”, and Rupert Young is joining season two as “Jack”, a new character written for the show. This has to be the mysterious Featherington heir, right? I get it if Page was your season-one fave and you’re bummed that he won’t be back, but I am ready for Bridgerton season two. Bring on Kate stepping on toes and people getting dunked in the Serpentine! Also, if Bridgerton CAN’T work without a single person from the ensemble, then it has some pretty big problems. This is sort of an anthology, the cast will shift each season. It has to be able to survive adding and subtracting from the cast each time out.


I’m not even sure this rules out Page ever returning to the show, though. I suspect COVID might be playing a role here. Filming for season two is imminent, and this announcement dropped on Friday, which could be a classic news dump OR they’ve been trying to make Page’s return happen and it just didn’t come together at the last minute. COVID is making productions, like everything else, much harder. Page has two upcoming film projects, The Gray Man, which is filming now, and then Dungeons & Dragons, which is expected to shoot later this year. Meanwhile, Bridgerton will be filming all spring and summer. Previously, it would not have been a big deal to hopscotch from set to set, country to country, and film as needed. This year, that is much more challenging with travel restrictions and quarantine rules. I just won’t be shocked to learn they were trying to make at least a cameo happen and between Page’s schedule and all the travel issues, it just didn’t pan out. Maybe he could still pop up later at some future Bridgerton wedding. Or maybe he’ll be too busy being James Bond. Who knows.