Fans of Netflix's massive hit Bridgerton are not pleased after the show announced one of its breakout stars, Rege-Jean Page, would not be returning for the second season. And they're making their displeasure known on social media.
"Dear Readers, while all eyes turn to Lord Anthony Bridgerton's quest to find a Viscountess, we bid adieu to Rege-Jean Page, who so triumphantly played the Duke of Hastings. We’ll miss Simon's presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family,” the show’s Twitter account posted, signed by gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, one of its central characters.
Page played Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings, in the series, set in the 1800s in London, and centred around the aristocratic Bridgertons, a family of eight siblings and their widowed mother. Much of the first season focused on Daphne, the eldest daughter played Phoebe Dynevor, and her romance with Page’s Duke.
While season one is loosely based on the 2000 novel The Duke and I by Julia Quinn, her follow-up novels each focus on the lives of the Bridgerton siblings.
While fans of the books were already prepared for the eventuality, the latest announcement doesn’t seem to have calmed the nerves of the show’s fans. One accused the makers of having lost the plot.
“Yeah you guys have literally lost the plot. And I mean this quite literally,” the fan posted.
Many said they were fans of the show because of Page.
"I get that this is because you guys are following the books, but you realise that Rege-Jean Page is one of the biggest reasons why Season 1 was such a huge success!? We watched because of him! There's really nothing to looking forward to now with future seasons,” another angry fan said.
Another fan credited Page’s “screen magnetism and charisma” for drawing her to the show.
“I only watched because if his on screen magnetism, charm and charisma. The other scenes were interesting but nothing compared to the scenes with him. Can’t see how it would have the same level of interest without him,” she posted.
One said Page was the best thing about the show.
The British actor has been one of Bridgerton's breakout stars, winning an army of mostly-female fans since the show premiered on Christmas Day last year. Created by Shonda Rhimes, Bridgerton has been a monster hit for Netflix, with a 82 million households having watched all eight episodes in the first month, according to Netflix. That makes it its most-watched original series ever.
A second season was announced in January, and will follow the love life of Lord Anthony Bridgerton, the eldest Bridgerton sibling, played by Jonathan Bailey.
Page, who was honoured at the NAACP Image Award for the role last month, had earlier said one of the reasons he took on the role was because of the short-term commitment.
"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 told Variety.
Some fans on social media even suggested their own plot lines, just so they could have more of the Duke of Hastings.
“You can't take him away. They have to visit on social events of the upcoming season and surely at upcoming family functions. We burn for more Duke time,” one user pleaded.
“We won’t get to see him be a good Dad. This is not good at all. They rewrote the first one to include many things that weren’t in the first book! What will Lady Danbury do? Who will Daphne interact with? No closure at all!,” another exclaimed.
One fan even suggested a meeting with the show’s Lady Danbury, who helped raise the Duke of Hastings, and played by actress Adjoa Andoh.
“I think we should press for a meeting with Lady Danbury. Surely, she can help us resolve this conundrum,” she posted.
On Saturday evening, Page responded to the announcement.
"Pleasure and a privilege! An honour to be a member of the family – on and off screen, cast, crew and incredible fans – the love is real and will just keep growing," he posted on Twitter.