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Downton Abbey will return without one of its most prominent members in Season 4. Last night’s Christmas special, which aired on ITV in the U.K., ensured that the rumors have all been true and Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley on the hit show, will be leaving for good. Don’t read ahead if you live in the States and want the episode to be a full surprise, because there are some major plot spoilers in the following paragraphs.
When rumors first began surfacing that the young man might leave the series, those rumors stated that Stevens might leave at the end of Season 3 or sometime early in Season 4. As it turns out, Stevens has a play in the works (which will also star Jessica Chastain and David Strathairn), and so the end of Season 3 was a convenient time to kill him off. Yes, you heard me right. Downton Abbey took a plunge and killed Crawley off in a car crash while his wife was having their first child. Talk about devastating.
Crawley told the Telegraph that it was a tough decision to leave the show, but, ultimately, he feels like it was the right decision.
“We were always optioned for three years. And when that came up it was a very difficult decision. But it felt like a good time to take stock, to take a moment. From a personal point of view, I wanted a chance to do other things.”
Still with two major characters lost during Season 3 and Maggie Smith still mum about whether or not she will return to the hit series, Season 4 is bound to look a little different than its earlier counterparts. As challenging as that may be for the writers, I bet they’ll find a way to make thing as compelling moving forward.