Bridgerton producer Shonda Rhimes has been left "shocked" over the uproar following Rege-Jean Page ’s exit from the hit Netflix drama series.
Fans of the steamy period drama went into complete meltdown earlier this week when it was announced that the heartthrob, who played Duke of Hastings Simon Basset, will not be returning for the second season.
While others are devastated by the news, Bridgerton boss Shonda can’t quite get her head around why everyone is making such a big deal about the actor’s departure from the show.
Sharing her thoughts for the first time since the news broke, the producer hinted that although Rege-Jean has decided to part ways, for now, he may make a return in the future.
“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,” she told Vanity Fair magazine.
She went on to gush over Rege-Jean's incredible acting career, and the dazzling roles which he’s set to bag after his unforgettable appearance on the Netflix drama series.
Shonda explained: “He’s 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.
“I don’t know that I expected this much of an explosion.”
It comes after it was reported that the actor left the show over a "disagreement with producers".
Hollywood insiders claimed that Page isn’t returning as the Duke because he didn’t like what the producers had planned for his hunky character.
"Regé is not coming back to Bridgerton because of creative differences with [executive producer] Shonda Rhimes and her team," the source told Page Six.
“He 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."
The source added that he "has been inundated with offers for other interesting and challenging leading roles".
They continued: "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."
Instead of Bridgerton, Rege-Jean will be starring in upcoming movies The Gray Man and Dungeons & Dragons.
The Mirror has contacted a representative for Rege-Jean asking for comment.