“I don’t know that I expected this much of an explosion.”

Bridgerton fans were left devastated when the hit Netflix series confirmed that the show’s star Regé-Jean Page wouldn’t be returning for season 2 – and no-one was more shocked by the fans’ response to the news than Bridgerton boss Shonda Rhimes.
In keeping with the tradition of the book series by Julia Quinn, the show’s next season is set to follow the love story of Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley).
But the news that the Duke of Hastings himself was bowing out of Bridgerton crushed the period drama’s fans, and showrunner Shonda Rhimes admitted that it sparked the kind of reaction that she usually gets when she kills off a character.
“I was really shocked, because usually that happens when I’ve killed off somebody that’s been around for a while,” Rhimes told Vanity Fair. “Like, we didn’t kill him, he’s still alive!”
Related: Bridgerton star joins Marvel’s Chris Evans in Netflix film from Avengers directors
The producer extraordinaire went on to add that the devastated reaction to Page’s exit was an indication that the show’s creators had done their job right.
“[Regé-Jean] is a powerful, amazing actor and that meant we did our job – every season, our job is finding the right people and putting together this incredible, world-shifting romance,” she continued.
“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!”
Related: Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey teases more “steamy” sex scenes in season 2
In discussing his departure from the show, Page shared that he’d only signed up for a one-season arc, and later reports suggested that he’d ‘turned down’ the offer of returning as a guest star in season two.
While Rhimes later confirmed to Vanity Fair that the actor was invited to return for a season two cameo, along with a few other season one characters, she also stressed that Page had only signed a one-season deal.
“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,” she added.
“So there’s a lot of fantastically interesting talk that’s been going on, mainly cause I think people are having a hard time letting go.”
In some good news for Bridgerton fans, it was today confirmed that the record-breaking Netflix series has already been renewed for another two seasons, which means fans will get to see both Benedict and Colin’s stories if the series continues to follow the books.
Speaking about the two-season renewal, Netflix executive Bela Bajaria said: “Bridgerton swept us off our feet. The creative team, led by Shonda, knew the material and delivered a beautiful, emotional, romantic drama for our members.
“They have some exciting plans for the future, and we think audiences will continue to swoon for this show. We’re planning to be in the Bridgerton business for a long time to come.”
Bridgerton season 1 is now available to watch on Netflix. Season 2 is in production.
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