The showrunner, whose production company Shondaland is behind Bridgerton, was asked about Page’s exit – and the ensuing “outpouring of grief” – in a new interview with Vanity Fair.
“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!” Rhimes, whose creations include Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, said.
She called Page “a powerful, amazing actor”, adding: “I don’t know that I expected this much of an explosion, given that every book [in the Bridgerton series, on which the show is based] 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?”
Rhimes also explained that it had always been the plan to have Page star for just one season as the Duke of Hastings – although according to Vanity fair, she “later clarified that Page was invited to return for season two cameos, along with a few other season one characters outside the Bridgerton family”.
Bridgerton, based on Julia Quinn’s series of novels of the same name, began airing on Netflix in December 2020 and has been renewed for three more seasons, for a total of four planned instalments so far.