shonda is an executive producer on the show. in an interview to variety she talked about the fans being upset with the actor not returning for the second season:
- I was really shocked [by the fan reaction], 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! [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. I don’t know that I expected this much of an explosion, given that every book [in the Bridgerton series] 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? We gave them their happily ever after! And now we have this next couple coming. And so yeah, I was like, whoa!
- We made a one-season deal with him at the beginning of season one. 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. So 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 later clarified to variety that Page was invited to return for season two cameos, along with a few other season one characters outside the Bridgerton family.