Firstly, I feel ambushed by the news. When Netflix announced in January that Bridgerton was renewed for season two, “Lady Whistledown” noted on Instagram that “the incomparable cast” would return to production in spring 2021. There was nary a mention of the fact that the most incomparable (and most frequently naked) member of said cast would not be among them.I have to wonder: whose fault, whose failure is this? Was it that Page—who went from sex god to star (hosting SNL, James Bond casting rumors)—became too big to return? This is taking me right back to Cousin Matthew (Dan Stevens) bowing out of Downton Abbey after just one season, or my mom’s trauma at the loss of David Caruso after just one year on NYPD Blue. Having no idea what truly happened behind the scenes, why couldn’t Page pull a Detective Stabler and see this thing through at least 12 delicious seasons?
Page is treating the news as routine and expected, as though viewers were always destined for this cruel fate. “It’s a one-season arc,” he told Variety. “It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end—give us a year,” Page recounted of the initial pitch from Shondaland producers. “[I thought] ‘That’s interesting,’ because then it felt like a limited series. I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit, and then the Bridgerton family rolls on.”The streaming giant, too, is explaining that Bridgerton is meant to focus each of its seasons’ romances on a dedicated member of the aristocratic family, writing on Instagram last week that all eyes will “turn to Lord Anthony Bridgerton’s quest to find a Viscountess” in season-two. Respectfully, which brother is Anthony again? Sure, the show is following the source material, the regency romance novels by Julia Quinn, in which book-one, The Duke and I, focuses on the Duke of Hastings and Daphne Bridgerton before turning to Anthony in book two, The Viscount Who Loved Me. But for a sensation of this scale—Netflix’s biggest show ever—could some plot twists not be hatched to accommodate the Duke’s return? Could a deal really not be brokered for so much as a limited-episode arc? Big Little Lies was just one book—but stretched out over two seasons on HBO.
Making Page’s absence even more gutting: his on-screen wife, Daphne (Phoebe Dyvenor) will return for season two. The show explains that she will remain “a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer—more intrigue and romance than my readers may be able to bear.” But who is Daphne, and what is Bridgerton, without Simon?It appears, at least publicly, that there is no bad blood between Page and the show. “It’s been an absolute pleasure and a privilege,” Page commented on the official Bridgerton Instagram about his departure. “Joining this family—the connection on and off screen, with our cast, our crew, all the incredible fans, has been like nothing I could have ever imagined—the love is real and will just keep growing.” Guess we’ll just have to find another gentleman to burn for, your grace.
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