Breakout star Regé-Jean Page broke the internet — and hearts — when he confirmed his Simon wasn't returning to Bridgerton.

Alas, Page only signed a one-year contract and has moved on to new projects.

But Simon and his duchess, Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), are still very much a part of this world in season 2, even if we don't see as much of them.

Bridgerton Season 2
Ruby Stokes, Phoebe Dyvenor, Will Tilston, Florence Emilia Hunt, Ruth Gemmell, Luke Thompson, and Jonathan Bailey on 'Bridgerton'
| Credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix

"Daphne remains a vital part of our story. She's now a devoted wife and, of course, still a loyal sister to her seven siblings," says creator Chris Van Dusen, who teases season 2 will see Daphne help her brother Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) navigate the social season. "It's a bit of a reverse of their season 1 dynamic, in terms of Anthony sticking his nose in Daphne's business. Now Daphne gets to stick her nose in his."

Adds Dynevor: "Daphne has become the adult of the family. She's found what she's looking for — she's had a baby, she's a wife and mother. There's a real confidence and womanhood about her this season."

As opposed to last season, where Daphne was a naive young woman and Anthony her worldly elder brother, now the tables have turned. "She's running the family because she's the one who's settled now," says Dynevor. "She is the rock of the siblings in this season, which is quite nice to play. Daphne's leading the way in terms of knowing what love is, what it means, and what marriage means, and she's trying to pass on that knowledge to Anthony."

Bridgerton Season 2 first look
Phoebe Dyvenor as Daphne and Jonathan Bailey as Anthony in 'Bridgerton.'

Somehow we feel like he won't be particularly amenable to her advice, especially given his propensity for throwing his weight around as her elder brother. But Daphne is well-positioned to help Anthony as he becomes the central figure in this season's action. "Daphne has a really good knack of not only empathizing with people around her," says Dynevor, "but also seeing their blind spots. She did it with Simon, and now she's doing it with Anthony."

Season 2 will also see the Bridgerton brood journey further afield to their country home, where we'll see a new side of Daphne, frolicking with her family and playing a competitive game of Pall Mall (more commonly known as croquet). "Daphne's a lot looser," Dynevor notes. "She comes back to the house quite free and ready to have fun and let her hair down a bit. The country house definitely brings that out in her and everyone."

Fans of Page still hold out hope he might pop up for a cameo during this family adventure, though Page firmly denies any rumors of that ilk. So, we'll just envision Simon off suggestively licking a spoon somewhere.

A version of this story appears in the March issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Feb. 18. Don't forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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