When Netflix announced Regé-Jean Page won’t return for the second season of Bridgerton, fans were pissed. Some even declared they wouldn’t tune in for the new season. Page is in part what made Bridgerton one of Netflix’s most massively successful shows, with great acting chops and looks that’d even make Karens swoon. But despite how much attention Page got for his role in the hit Netflix series, the actor didn’t have the best time finding roles at the beginning of his career.
In The Hollywood Reporter’s big piece on Ray Fisher’s allegations of his experience on the Justice League set, Kim Masters writes that multiple sources told her that Krypton’s creators “were passionate about doing some nontraditional casting” and Page had auditioned for the lead role of Superman’s grandfather. But co-chairman of DC Films Geoff Johns allegedly shut down that idea, with the role going to Cameron Cuffe. His rep told THR that “Johns believed fans expected the character to look like a young Henry Cavill.”
On Thursday, Page took to social media, responding to Johns’ rep’s “clarification.” “Hearing about these conversations hurts no less now than it did back then. The clarifications almost hurt more tbh. Still just doing my thing. Still we do the work. We still fly,” he wrote.
The rejection makes no sense, given how superheroes’ looks and identities both on the page and onscreen are always evolving: Ms. Marvel has been a Pakistani American teenager since 2013; Marvel is about to introduce Aaron Fischer, the first gay Captain America, in a limited comics series. The magnitude of such representation has been proven by the successful introduction of Miles Morales as Spider-Man in Into The Spider-Verse and the late Chadwick Boseman’s ascent to superstardom via Black Panther. To say “fans expected” a character to look a certain way is caving to the type of entitled goons who threw a shit fit when Jane Foster picked up Thor’s hammer, or Idris Elba was cast as Heimdall.
But Page not being cast as Seg-El is probably for the best. Krypton didn’t become a hit and Syfy canceled it after just two seasons in 2019. With so many DC fans responding strongly to the decision to not cast Page in the series, perhaps there’s the silver lining that Warner Bros. and DC are working on a Black Superman movie, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and produced by J.J. Abrams. If Page gets cast in that, it’d be a perfect match and would be the missing piece in turning him into a massive star beyond his steamy Bridgerton role.