Bridgerton fans are still mourning the fact that Regé-Jean Page won't be returning for the show's second season — but producer Shonda Rhimes doesn't think it's a big deal.
The TV executive recently spoke out about Regé-Jean's departure, explaining that it was the plan from the start.
"We made a one-season deal with him at the beginning of Season 1. 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," Shonda told Vanity Fair.
While Shonda confirmed that Regé-Jean had been invited to appear in Season 2 cameos, she shut down rumors that were circulating regarding his decision not to return.
"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," Shonda said.
Shonda added that she was "really shocked" about the response from fans, since it's something that usually happens only when a character is killed off.
"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," Shonda explained.
She added that she also didn't expect "this much of an explosion," since the Bridgerton series features a different romance in each book.
"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. And so, yeah, I was like, 'Whoa!'" Shonda said of the response.