Shondaland’s Bridgerton turned out to be a massive success, breaking several records for Netflix and ultimately becoming the streaming service’s biggest show ever. The passionate love story between the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) and Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) is set against the backdrop of a more progressive Regency-era, and it is beloved by so many fans.
The first bad Bridgerton news dropped in mid-February. Bridgerton will get a second season on Netflix, but the newlyweds will not be the main characters of the upcoming romantic entanglements. It’s not going to be Simon “burning” for Daphne in season 2, as the action will focus on a different Bridgerton sibling, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey). That comes straight from the showrunners, who have also announced the actress set to play Anthony’s new love interest. At the time, we noted that Page and Dynevor would likely take a backseat, but we’ll still get glimpses at their relationship.
Now, there’s a new development on the matter that Bridgerton fans will absolutely hate — but Page fans who also follow the MCU closely might have a reason to be excited about this unfortunate Bridgerton revelation.
The Duke of Hastings is leaving Bridgerton, and this news comes straight from Netflix. Page’s Simon Basset will not appear in the second season, the streamer said, in the voice of Lady Whistledown:
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.
We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family. 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.
As Variety explains, the news shouldn’t shock fans who have actually read the Julia Quinn novels that inspired the series. The Duke’s story plays out in the first novel. Page confirmed as much to Variety, saying that the short-term commitment is what made the role so appealing. “It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year,” Page said of the early conversations with Shondaland. “[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.”
While some will be pining for the Duke in season 2, the fact that Page doesn’t have a contractual obligation with Netflix might be great news or the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Before the plot of Bridgerton season 2 was confirmed, a rumor said in late January that Page would be tapped to play the new Black Panther in Black Panther 2. A Hollywood gossip site that’s reportedly run by a lawyer who has inside access to all sorts of industry scoops posted this tidbit:
Which foreign born breakout star of that period streaming show is the early frontrunner to play this Marvel superhero? It will be an entirely new alter ego character not the one portrayed by the recently deceased actor.
Regé-Jean Page/’Bridgerton’/’Black Panther’/Chadwick Boseman
In mid-December, Kevin Feige announced that Marvel would not recast the T’Challa/Black Panther role, choosing instead to honor Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa legacy. The actor passed away last year after a secret bout with cancer, prompting fans to ask Marvel not to recast the MCU role, no matter how pivotal it is.
Feige & Co. did not specify how Black Panther 2 will deal with Boseman’s absence. The film will have to explain what happened to the King and why Wakanda needs a new Black Panther. Some rumors say that a brand new character might become Wakanda’s new protector, rather than the ones the public expects to take over — that’s Shuri (Letitia Wright) and M’Baku (Winston Duke). If Marvel had any talks with Page, everything has happened behind closed doors so far. The studio has yet to announce his involvement in the sequel, so the rumor above can’t be confirmed at this time. That said, the fact that Page won’t return for Bridgerton Season 2 does tell us that his schedule might be free for filming new adventures in Wakanda.
Black Panther 2 is expected in theaters on July 8th, 2022.