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Source: Bridgerton / Netflix

The Duke of Hastings is exiting the building.

It has been announced that breakout star Regé-Jean Page will not appear in the second season of Bridgerton. The news was shared on Friday, April 2, making it incapable of being an April Fool’s joke — in case that’s what you were thinking.

The news was met with some shock and sadness by fans of the show, while fans of the Bridgerton series of books written by Julia Quinn noted that the Simon Bassett character is primarily featured in the very first book, The Duke and I, matching up to him only appearing in Season 1 (though he doesn’t completely disappear from the series). In an exclusive interview with Variety, the actor said he knew he’d only be present in the first season of the Netflix series, which was one of the things that attracted him to the show.

“It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year,” Page recalled of conversations with Bridgerton producers. “[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.”

He clearly didn’t foresee the series being the huge hit it became, with Netflix announcing in January that after the show was released on Christmas, it became the streaming giant’s “biggest series ever.”

Despite that, Page is looking forward to seeing where the show goes without him, as it’s helped his star skyrocket and even nabbed him an NAACP Award recently.

“I have nothing but excitement for ‘Bridgerton’ continuing to steam train off and conquer the globe,” he told the publication. “But there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing.”

He shared a farewell message to devastated fans (somebody literally called the news “bulls–t” on his page) via Instagram.

“The ride of a life time. It’s been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be your Duke. Joining this family – not just on screen, but off screen too,” he wrote. “Our incredibly creative and generous cast, crew, outstanding fans – it’s all been beyond anything I could have imagined. The love is real and will just keep growing.”

As the next love story is developed in Season 2, will you tune in without your on-screen husband steaming up the screen?

While you ponder that thought, check out reactions to his exit below:

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