Kim Kardashian among mourners as Rege-Jean Page leaves Bridgerton – The Guardian

Large parts of the internet were in mourning on Saturday, over the news that Rege-Jean Page, the breakout star of Netflix’s Bridgerton, will not return for season two.

Posting news of Page’s departure on social media, the makers of the hit series adopted the style of Lady Whistledown, the gossipy narrator of the series, which is set in Regency England and gained swift notoriety for its steamy sex scenes, often featuring Page.

“While all eyes turn to Lord Anthony Bridgerton’s quest to find a Viscountess,” the note said, “we bid adieu to Rene-Jean Page, who so triumphantly played the Duke of Hastings. We’ll miss Simon’s presence on screen.”

That was a reference to Page’s character, Simon Basset.

Heartbreak emojis filled the comments below the post. Celebrities were among those saddened.

“Wait!!! WHAT????” commented Kim Kardashian.

Shonda Rhimes, whose production company Shondaland created Bridgerton, paid tribute to Page, reminding fans: “He’s just waiting to be binge-watched all over again.”

Page played a central role in Bridgerton as its resident heartthrob. In December last year, he told the Guardian it was “a glamorous, ambitious Cinderella fantasy of love and romance” and saluted its colour-blind casting.

“We’re seeing this Regency romance through a feminist lens,” he added, “examining what masculinity means for a broken antihero like my character and how he can then allow himself to change and be loved.”

This week, Page told Variety he knew his time on the show would be short-lived. His character was always meant to experience “a one-season arc”, he said, adding: “It felt like a limited series. I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit and then the Bridgerton family rolls in.”

Netflix has reported that Bridgerton is its most-watched series ever, 82m households having watched it within 28 days of release.

The Duke of Hastings was Page’s breakout role. He went on to host Saturday Night Live and is set to appear in a Netflix spy thriller, The Gray Man, alongside Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. He is also set to take a lead role in a film adaptation of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game.