Why These Fan-Favorite Bridgerton Cast Members Left The Show

Unfortunately for "Bridgerton" devotees, not all the characters remain in the ton, season after season. Indeed, many of the show's most beloved characters have stepped away too soon. And, dear reader, it does bear mentioning that in some cases, that's even with fans desperately trying to change their fate. 

Let's begin with the most obvious of departures: Regé-Jean Page, who played the Duke of Hastings in Season 1. As many may remember, all hell broke loose when it emerged that Page would not return for Season 2, despite his character's arc being linked to just one story in the "Bridgerton" book series. Petitions ensued, and years down the line, fans have continued to wish for his return – but everyone's favorite rake has yet to resurface. 

It's worth noting that the initial reason for Page's departure was that the Duke of Hastings was never meant to return after his eventful first season. However, in wake of all the enthusiasm for him, rumors swirled that the queen behind the scenes, Shonda Rhimes, actually did invite him back. Nevertheless, the same sources also claimed that Page politely declined, to pursue other exploits. He's since told Vanity Fair that there wasn't much drama in the decision, other than the fact that his return wasn't ever part of the plan. Well, something tells us that if he made even the briefest of cameos at some point, it would be exceptionally well-received. 

Ruby Barker felt neglected by Shondaland

Like Regé-Jean Page, Ruby Barker's "Bridgerton" character, Marina Thompson, was only set to appear in one season of the show. Sure enough, after coming perilously close to conning Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) into eloping, a pregnant Miss Thompson ended up marrying the brother of her unborn child's late father. There were never plans to explore the character's marriage of convenience, and so, her exit was inevitable. She makes a brief Season 2 cameo in Episode 4, where Colin goes to check in on her out in the country.

Any chance of a bigger Barker return was likely nipped in the bud when Barker spoke out about her disappointment with Netflix and Shondaland. In a 2023 interview with "The LOAF Podcast," Barker noted the streamer and production company for not coming to her aid when she dealt with mental health issues after filming had wrapped.

"Not a single person from Netflix, not a single person from Shondaland, since I have had two psychotic breaks from that show, have even contacted me or even emailed me to ask me if I'm okay or if I would benefit from any sort of aftercare or support," Barker told the podcast hosts. The actress admitted one break came just after filming, while the second was just before Season 1's premiere. In the same podcast, Barker pointed out that while she did interviews around the time of the show's release, she only did them because she felt she had to, as she hoped for her career to continue. This podcast interview also came after her Season 2 cameo aired. It's certainly a heartbreaking parallel to Miss Thompson's final scene in the show, where she's resigned to cope with a fate beyond her control.

Sabrina Bartlett's character was never destined to continue

Another popular "Bridgerton" character to have left after one season was Siena Rosso (Sabrina Bartlett); the opera singer and girlfriend of Anthony Bridgerton. However, as readers of the "Bridgerton" book series know, Siena is not a major character in the novels. The series author, Julia Quinn, pointed out that the Netflix adaptation gave her more attention than the books ever did.

Quinn was rather happy with Siena having more air time than her books would suggest she would. "I thought it was nice. It just sets him up. It helps build his character in a way, to give it more depth than perhaps he got in the first book in the series," the author told Business Insider of Siena's prominence in Lord Bridgerton's love life.

As for the actor behind Siena, Bartlett was always well aware that her character wouldn't last more than a season. Even so, it's plain to see she loved the experience while it lasted. Speaking to "Lorraine," she gushed over being able to learn opera for the role, as well as the energy she felt while filming the season. "It felt really special making it ... It just had this sort of buzz in the air," she shared. In her time since "Bridgerton," Bartlett has gone on to star in "The Larkins."

Charithra Chandran could come back, someday

Charithra Chandran's "Bridgerton" character, Edwina Sharma was famously snubbed when Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) fell in love with her older half-sister, Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley). The two sisters ended up making peace, and Kate went on to marry Anthony and become the Viscountess Bridgerton. However, even with their reconciliation, Edwina didn't return for a second season.

In the book series, Edwina does not return to the ton. And, as Chandran told The Indian Express, she wasn't cast for another season in the show, either. However, that may have had more to do with the actor's schedule, as she was busy with another project. In fact, as many a "Bridgerton" fan has pointed out, there's a possibility Edwina may return in an unexpected way.

Some may remember that in the "Bridgerton" Season 2 finale, Queen Charlotte rather unsubtly told Edwina that she had a single nephew. Yes, gentle reader, that would be the same nephew audiences met during the show's first season, Prince Friedrich (Freddie Stroma). Notably, the prince's part was written specifically for the Netflix adaptation... and that means the fate of his love life is entirely up for interpretation. Many fans of the show have already taken to social media to create videos of Edwina and Friedrich together, so perhaps the show's creators will decide to give that some air time, and the diamond of the second season will once again grace our screens.

Freddie Stroma's return is also in the air

Speaking of Prince Friedrich, he became a fan-favorite after Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) informed him that she'd chosen to marry the Duke of Hastings. In fact, while there's no denying Rege-Jean Page's character has endured as the favorite of Daphne's suitors, many even complained that the prince may have been a better choice for the eldest Bridgerton daughter. 

As we've already said, with Friedrich never a character in the "Bridgerton" books, the return of the actor who played him, Freddie Stroma, is a little less clear-cut than some of the other cast members who left the show. There's a possibility the prince and Edwina will merely live on in the viewers' collective imagination. However, there's also a chance he could be back, at some point. 

Either way, Stroma isn't sure. Speaking to People in 2021, he explained that he was just as in the dark as the fans. Speaking of Season 2, he mused, "I have no idea whether they bring me back or not." The prince notably wasn't in the second season, but with Queen Charlotte dropping a hint to Edwina in that season's finale, perhaps they will make an appearance some time in the future.

Ruby Stokes chose to leave for another project

While many of the actors who've left "Bridgerton" have done so because their characters' storylines have run their course, the same can't be said for Ruby Stokes. In fact, Stokes was actually set to receive significantly more air time on the show as Francesca Bridgerton, but left of her own volition before that could happen. 

In January 2023, Stokes explained to What to Watch that while she loved her time on "Bridgerton," she felt she couldn't say no when an opportunity to be the lead of "Lockwood & Co" arose. "Leaving was always going to be a difficult choice, but something about Lucy [Carlyle] spoke to me. It was a chance to explore a very different character, and I've learned a great deal playing a young adult at the helm of a show," she explained. 

Of course, it bears mentioning that Stokes' time on "Bridgerton" was often characterized by, well, her absence. As the show's executive producer, Chris Van Dusen told TV Line in 2022, pre-existing contracts with another Netflix show meant much of the development of her character in Season 2 had to be rewritten. That said, Stokes' absence didn't go unnoticed. Au contraire, she joked in an interview with Variety that she'd seen copious memes poking fun at Francesca essentially being in hiding. Stokes has since been replaced by Hannah Dodd. As such, this is one cast member who likely won't be seen again in the ton, henceforth.