Last April, the news broke that Regé-Jean Page wouldn't be returning in his role as Simon, the Duke of Hastings, to the hugely-popular series Bridgerton.
Page's shocking exit from the period drama was so heartbreaking to viewers that fans even threatened to boycott the second season if he really weren't to return.
Now, ahead of the upcoming second season, TV and film fans are wondering what caused the actor to leave the Netflix show.
Why did Regé-Jean Page leave Bridgerton?
He knew his role in the series would be short-lived:
Regé-Jean Page admitted to Variety that he always knew his role in Bridgerton would be a short-lived one.
"It's a one-season arc. It's going to have a beginning, middle, end-give us a year," he told the publication.
"[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," he continued.
Page explained that the series, which is based on Julia Quinn's best-selling book series, is essentially a vignette that focuses on each sibling's love life individually. Hence why it seemed plausible for Simon and Daphne's love story to be told in just one season.
He said: "One of the things that is different about this [romance] genre is that the audience knows the arc completes.
"They come in knowing that, so you can tie people in emotional knots because they have that reassurance that we're going to come out and we're going to have the marriage and the baby."
Page told the publication that he'll still be supporting the show from the sidelines, adding: "I have nothing but excitement for Bridgerton continuing to steam train off and conquer the globe.
"But there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing," he added.
He was never expected to return for a second season:
Back in April last year, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Regé-Jean Page was never intended to appear in the second season of Bridgerton, anyway.
The publication reported: "Sources say the production reached out to Page's camp in January or February with an offer to return-after he and the show broke out-even though plans for season 2 never included his character, Simon."
Page then supposedly refused the offer so that he could focus on other projects, having just completed production on The Gray Man and was due to begin filming for Dungeons and Dragons which is now set for release in 2023.
Bridgerton's executive producer backed his decision to depart:
Bridgerton's executive producer Shonda Rhimes later told Vanity Fair that page only signed a contract for the first season, but Page Six reported that he departed the show over "creative differences".
Netflix, Rhimes and Page, however, did not confirm if this report was true.
On 13th April, Rhimes made light of Page's departure in an interview with Vanity Fair, saying: "We didn't even kill him!"
She also credited the actor's work on the show following the boycotting threats from fans: "[Regé-Jean] is a powerful, amazing actor and that meant we did our job-every season, our job is finding the right people and putting together this incredible, world-shifting romance."
The producer also added that the focus on the second season was going to be shifted away from Page's character, anyway. "I don't know that I expected this much of an explosion, given that every book [in the Bridgerton series] is a different romance.
"What would be the ever-after of this combo? I mean, really: What would Regé-Jean do, you know what I mean? We gave them their happily ever after! And now we have this next couple coming."
Season 2 of Bridgerton is hitting Netflix on 25th March.
Topics: TV and Film, Celebrity, Netflix