But — no matter! — the time is nigh, and we shall soon get our due. In the meantime, executive producer Shonda Rhimes opened up about the series' immense (like, immense immense) success — as well as how she felt about a certain duke's departure (aka the one, the only, Regé-Jean Page).
News of the actor's departure rocked the internet, especially for fans who weren't familiar with the book series, in which the duke's storyline is wrapped up in the first novel.
In a new profile for Variety, Shonda said the show invited Regé-Jean back after "everybody lost their minds" about his departure. But don't hold your breath for a cameo. "Rightfully, he said, 'I signed up to do this one lovely story, this closed-ended storyline. I’m good!'" she said. "And I don’t blame him for that. I think that he was really smart to leave the perfection as the perfection."
And while Shonda understood his decision to leave the series, she was shocked at how it went over for fans. "I don’t think I expected everybody to have such a reaction to it. My assumption of what people knew of romance novels was … I overestimated a great deal."
However, she gets where stans are coming from: "People’s attachment to couples is real — I mean, I know that better than anybody,” Shonda, who created Grey's Anatomy, shared. "And I think that means success. But I do understand their despair."
Plus, there's another very practical reason why Regé-Jean won't be gracing our screens as the duke ever again. "He’s an enormous star now. As I like to say, the idea that we would write Regé to stand around in the background doesn’t make any sense at all to me. 'What would he do?' is what I like to say."
In fact, Regé-Jean previously said that part of the role's appeal was its short-term commitment. "'It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end — give us a year,'" he told Variety, recalling the first conversations with Bridgerton's executives, who had approached him for the part after he wrapped the drama series For the People (which was also ShondaLand-produced). "[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."