The game is afoot, as Lady Whistledown might say.
Asked by the British GQ if the Duke of Hastings might show up after all, in some capacity, Page deferred, “You know I couldn’t tell you!” But when prodded further, he responded, “Isn’t there something wonderful about being surprised by what you weren’t suspecting?”
It was back in April when Lady Whistledown (ostensibly) tweeted that in Season 2 of the Netflix hit, “while all eyes turn to Lord Anthony Bridgerton’s quest to find a Viscountess, we bid adieu to Regé-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.”
Well, some fans were not having it, even though readers of the Julia Quinn novels know that Simon and bride Daphne are largely missing from the second entry, The Viscount Who Loved Me. Bridgerton EP Shonda Rhimes, juxtaposing that backlash with what she has observed over the years whenever ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy offed one character or another, told Vanity Fair, “I was really shocked, because usually that happens when I’ve killed off somebody that’s been around for a while. Like, we didn’t kill [the Duke], he’s still alive!”
Rhimes affirmed that Page had always and only been signed to a one-season deal, though he was invited to return for Season 2 cameos — reportedly at $50,000 a pop. (By some accounts, he declined since his character would not be the focus.) “[T]here’s a lot of fantastically interesting talk that’s been going on, mainly ’cause I think people are having a hard time letting go,” Rhimes said. “He’s a busy man!”
Whatever the case, Page earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, and will find out if he’s a winner later this month.