When Bridgerton returns for its second season there will be a major cast member, and budding star absent from the proceedings. This isn’t usually the case with hit shows like this one, considering oftentimes it’s the stars who made it a hit, to begin with. Bringing back major cast members is just a foregone conclusion. But not this time and not with this show. The Netflix hit has made a decision and Variety is reporting that Rege-Jean Page won’t be back as Simon Basset in the second season. More than a few fans are going to be disappointed with the decision.
Rege-Jean Page played the wildly popular Simon in the first season of Bridgerton. He was at the center of the arc for the season that involved both him as the Duke of Hastings and Daphne, the fourth child in the titular family. They spent much of the season in a will-they-won’t-they fashion that was at the center of the plot arcs. For Page, it was a breakout role that landed him as one of the most popular characters on one of the hit shows of the fall. But through an Instagram post from the show’s official account, they made it clear this was the end of the line for the character.
According to the post, while Rege-Jean Page will exit the production, his now-wife Daphne played by Phoebe Dynevor will stay on in her role. In many ways, this makes sense with the story now shifting away from Daphne but remaining in the Bridgerton family. Having her be on hand for the new season of courtship and lending her *expertise* if you will, does have a certain place in the story. Whereas with Simon, we seem to know his ending now with very little else to mine in way of stories.
Apparently, this was all part of the plan with Rege-Jean Page and his role on Bridgerton. He told Variety in an exclusive interview that he knew this was a one-and-done role from the beginning. It was clear the script, from his character’s perspective, only needed one season for the beginning, middle and end to the character. So he isn’t going out with any resentment. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. He says the definitive nature of the role and the timeline is what had him take the part to begin with.
As far as Bridgerton Season 2 is concerned, the story will now shift to Jonathan Bailey’s Antony, the Viscount of Bridgerton. He’ll be looking for love this time around and the show has already cast Simone Ashley as the lady he’ll apparently be courting. In this way, the show is following the books on which it is based. Julia Quinn’s novels all follow different characters and the next one is The Viscount who Loved Me. Hence the pivot in stories.
The first season of Bridgerton was a massive hit for Netflix and when it was all said and done it ranked as the biggest series in the history of the streaming platform. It was viewed by a reported 82 million households in its first month of release. That is now the high water mark for Netflix and why the second season is so hotly-anticipated. But it will be without Simon this next time around, moving the story in a different direction.