Shonda Rhimes Addresses Rumors Regé-Jean Page Left Bridgerton Over 'Creative Differences'

 Shonda Rhimes attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on February 09, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.
Shonda Rhimes attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on February 09, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.
Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images)

My Dearest Reader,

‘Tis I, Lady Welpington of The Root, here with a bit of news that has caused my royal feathers to be ruffled in the most upsetting way.

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It seems a daily news site from across the pond is spreading word that our beloved Duke of Hastings aka Regé-Jean Page has decided to bid adieu to the Bridgerton ton because of “tensions over creative differences” with the show’s executive producer Shonda Rhimes. They profess, per a “Hollywood source,” that Page was upset that his character would no longer “be the focal point” in the upcoming second season and that he would instead only be relegated to a “player” in the overall storyline but not the central focus. They even went so far as to frame this “revelation” in the form of a question, which read: “Did the Duke of Hastings Get Too Big for His Britches?”

Egad! Where is the decorum??

*Deep, heavy, disgruntled Negro spiritual sigh*

Though we all are very much aware of the real reason behind His Grace’s departure, in a new interview with the House of Vanity Fair, Lady Shonda Rhimes is clearing the air once and for all. In conversation with fellow Bridgerton producer Duchess Betsy Beers, Rhymes explained:

“We made a one-season deal with him at the beginning of season one. That was the plan: come and do one season as the duke. Anything else that was extra and wasn’t really the plan when we started wasn’t the plan when we finished.” [Rhimes later clarified that Page was invited to return for season two cameos, along with a few other season one characters outside the Bridgerton family.] “So there’s a lot of fantastically interesting talk that’s been going on, mainly cause I think people are having a hard time letting go.”

When asked about the online discourse about the ton from fans who were heartbroken and utterly devastated at the news (myself included), Lady Shonda said:

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 him, he’s still alive! [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. 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.

He’s amazing, but that’s our job and something that Betsy and I have been doing since—well, God, has it been 20 years now?—is finding guys. I mean, hopefully ladies too, but finding men that our audiences find devastatingly attractive and they become incredibly overly attached to, and they get enraged about when we move them about in any way.

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Beers added, “It’s delightful that fans were so invested in his character, and he’s a wonderful actor and a terrific guy. I just want to say that. Okay? He is.”

I’m not sure what has gotten into people coming for our dear Duke lately—let us not forget the horrendous report just last week that alleged His Grace’s presence was passed over for a role on the short-lived Syfy series Krypton due to the color of his skin, and now this distasteful news the very next week. But rest assured, my dearest reader, if there is anyone who intends to bring truth to these scandalous tales—it is I.

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I should like to think us all most anticipatory and excited over whatever Page’s next moves are, whether that be his upcoming film about a Gray Man, his duel in Dungeons & Dragons, or perhaps even potentially a stint as the next 007. But for all the haters who wish to speak ill of him, allow me to leave you with a bit of friendly advice: keep the Duke of Hastings’ name out of your mouth. Respectfully.

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Wherever His Grace’s next adventure takes him, I, as well as all the welps in Welpington, will continue to wish him much success and enduring splendor. Until next time, my most steadfast reader.

Yours truly, Lady Welpington

DISCUSSION

Here, here....Lady Welpington;  thank you for such fine reporting!