It's been less than a week since Bridgerton fans across the world checked their calendar to see if it was still April Fools' Day.
Netflix and Shondaland put out a joint statement just days ago, confirming that scene-stealer Regé-Jean Page would not be returning for Bridgerton Season 2.
“Dear Readers, 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,” the message began.
“We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family,” it continued.
“Daphne 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.”
Now, The Hollywood Reporter is shedding light on the exit, revealing that Page turned down a multi-episode guest spot, with a rate of around $50,000 per episode.
Page has booked several new roles over the last year and has been vocal about joining Bridgerton because of the limited nature of Simon and Daphne's love story.
“It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year,” Page told Variety.
“[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.”
Page played Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, the male lead of Bridgerton Season 1, opposite Phoebe Dynevor's Daphne.
Viewers fell in love with the pair, and it was revealed shortly after its debut that it had blossomed into Netflix's biggest series ever.
A second season renewal quickly followed, as well as the announcement that the new season would follow Lord Anthony Bridgerton's (Jonathan Bailey) quest for love.
Simone Ashley (Sex Education) was later announced to be the female lead for the second season, which recently kicked off production in the UK.
Charithra Chandran, Shelley Conn (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Calam Lynch (Dunkirk, Derry Girls), and Rupert Young (The White Queen) were all added to the cast earlier this week.
The cast also includes Nicola Coughlan (Penelope Featherington), Claudia Jessie (Eloise Bridgerton), Ruby Barker (Marina Thompson),Adjoa Andoh (Lady Danbury), Golda Rosheuvel (Queen Charlotte), Luke Thompson (Benedict Bridgerton), Luke Newton (Colin Bridgerton), and Ruby Stokes (Francesca Bridgerton).
The cast is rounded out by Will Tilston (Gregory Bridgerton), Florence Hunt (Hyacinth Bridgerton), Ruth Gemmell (Lady Violet Bridgerton), Bessie Carter (Prudence Featherington), Harriet Cains (Philipa Featherington), Polly Walker (Lady Portia Featherington), Ben Miller (Lord Featherington), Kathryn Drysdale (Genevieve Delacroix), Sabrina Bartlett (Siena Rosso), Martins Imhangbe (Will Mondrich), and Lorraine Ashbourne (Mrs. Varley).
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.