*Shonda Rhimes says she’s “shocked” by the dramatic response over Regé-Jean Page’s “Bridgerton” exit.
In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Rhimes addressed the reaction to the actor’s recent departure from the show.
“Usually that happens when I’ve killed off somebody that’s been around for a while,” she said of the fans reaction, adding, “we didn’t kill him, he’s still alive!”
We previously reported, Netflix and Rhimes’ Shondaland announced Page’s exit from the hit Netflix series earlier this month, with the show’s character Lady Whistledown sharing the following update:
“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?” Variety quotes.
Pleasure and a privilege! An honour to be a member of the family – on and off screen, cast, crew and incredible fans – the love is real and will just keep growing ❤️💫 https://t.co/YBk4RvKNpx
— Regé-Jean Page (@regejean) April 2, 2021
Rhimes said Page’s exit after the first season of the show was planned from the beginning.
“That was the plan: come and do one season as the duke,” she said. “Anything else that was extra and wasn’t really the plan when we started wasn’t the plan when we finished.”
She later confirmed that “Page was invited to return for Season 2 cameos, along with a few other Season 1 characters outside the Bridgerton family.”
“There’s a lot of fantastically interesting talk that’s been going on,” she added, “mainly ’cause I think people are having a hard time letting go.”
Meanwhile, according to Page Six, Page left the show over “creative differences” with Rhimes. The actor “wasn’t happy with what was planned for his character for Season 2, which would have kept him a player but not the focal point of the show,” a Hollywood source told the outlet.
“If you look at all the big names who have left [Rhimes’ hit show] ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ in the past, you see you don’t disagree with Shonda, nobody is bigger than the show,” the insider added.
The Hollywood Reporter said Page “was offered an opportunity to return as a guest star in three to five episodes of Season 2 — at a rate of $50,000 an episode — but declined for a multitude of reasons,” which included “an awareness that Simon would not be a focal point in Season 2.”
Meanwhile, “Bridgerton” has been renewed for a second, third and fourth season.