Exclusive

Downton Abbey Season 4 Casting Scoop: [Spoiler]'s Getting a New Suitor!

Downton Abbey Season 4Unless you want to risk doing a spit take with your afternoon tea, American fans of Downton Abbey may want to skip over this story. The rest of you, however, will be keenly interested to learn that, in Season 4, Lady Mary will be getting a new…

Last chance to look away!

Boyfriend!

As you may have heard — certainly if you’re overseas — Dan Stevens, aka Matthew, bowed out of the hit series at the end of the third season. And, since Lady Mary wouldn’t be Lady Mary without a gentleman by her side, the show is looking for a (naturally!) handsome thirtysomething actor to come courting as Lord Anthony Gillingham.

RELATED | It’s Official: [Spoiler]’s Returning to Downton Abbey For Season 4!

From what we gather, her would-be suitor is not only a looker, he also has a winning personality. (So winning, in fact, that there’s already talk that he could return for Season 5!)

Abbey EP Gareth Neame told TVLine in a recent interview that Steven’s exit created a “dramatic opportunity” for Michelle Dockery’s alter ego, adding, “In any relationship drama, the will-they-or-won’t-they is always more interesting than married couples. So actually what we’ve been able to do is reset [Lady Mary]. She has to start again, and that will be much more interesting.”

What do you think? Could any chap ever replace Matthew? And if so, who? Since the show is likely to hire a Brit, Henry “Superman” Cavill comes to mind. And so does Orlando Bloom. But, given their movie-star status, they might be a bit pricey, even for the Crawleys. Sound off with your picks below!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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349 Comments
  1. TMW says:

    Cavill and Bloom are way too high profile now-couldn’t they bring Charlie Cox back?

    • I’m sure you’re right about Cavill and Bloom but I really wish you weren’t.

    • wordsmith says:

      They could probably get Rupert Friend. With the right hair and makeup he’s a dead ringer for Bloom.

      • mantua says:

        Excellent idea and anyone who saw The Young Victoria knows he can pull off charming, charismatic and swoonworthy effortlessly and since Homeland only shoots a few months a year and so does Downton, he could be on two great shows at the same time. Now THAT would be great. Also , Bradley James could be great too, maybe even Tom Sturridge. Too bad Hugh Dancy already has Hannibal and Matthew Goode is busy with features.

        • kim says:

          Ohhhhhhhhhhhh Canada here — Matthew Goode all the way — he is the sexiest man I have ever seen — oh my!

          • Catherine says:

            Another Canadian voting for Matthew Macfadyen who played Mr. Darcy in 2005 film “Pride and Prejudice”. He is a dream come true….and was a little like Mary in that version of the movie based on the book by Jane Austen. I’m ticked off with Dan Steven’s decision to quit the show. He has take a huge risk in his career. Who will manage the Estate now?

    • lindsaywhit says:

      Yes – Charlie Cox would be perfect! The sweetness of Matthew, BUT with enough “breeding” to keep Lady Mary from being so obnoxiously condescending. (BTW, am I the only one who would like to see Lady Edith get a proper beau as well? Maybe even before Lady Mary?)

      • Snsetblaze says:

        You are not the only one that thinks Lady Edith needs a beau.

        • BeeePee says:

          I like the idea of Lady Edith being a rebel single lady all her life. Woman can be fulfilled without a man. I had three great aunts, all with PhDs, who lived happy fulfilled lives.

          • Misti says:

            I would be perfectly fine with Lady Edith being a rebel single lady for her entire life if that was what she wanted, but it is clearly NOT what she wants, and my heart breaks for her.

          • David Francis says:

            Wow, P.H.D. what more can be said.

      • Clawson says:

        Lady Edith should get a proper beau! I can’t wait to see where her story line goes. She deserves to have something nice happen to her now.

        • nancytill says:

          I agree, she has been a victim of family put-downs. When is someone in the family, besides Matthew, going to stick up for her and encourage her. She’s so much nicer that Mary, she deserves a nice guy and a great career. You go, Edith!

        • corrie kosugi says:

          uhhh….Lady Edith is a bitch! I would be happy to see the others just mess with her just as they have been!

    • auggiedoggie says:

      please let it be ~ BEAN!

    • Ann says:

      How about Rupert Penry-Jones from Persuasion?

    • Anita Purcell Peterson says:

      True true…..what about Tom Hiddleston ( from War Horse). He and Michelle Dockery even did a photo shoot together for Town and Country magazine and looked great together. Or Lee Pace ( Lincoln) who is wonderfully accomplished in many genres.Acting, singing , dancing.

    • betty says:

      please does any one know when season 4 will start ?

  2. Giovanna says:

    Gabriel Macht (harvey from SUITS) would be awesome…i can see him walking around downton gardens , using the same clothes and hairstyle :p

  3. Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

    At least they wrote him off the show in the most permanent way possible so he couldn’t come crawling back. I guess there will be somewhat of a time lapse between seasons since she just had a baby?

  4. Templar says:

    First, let me say that almost anyone could have replaced Stevens, including Heydon Prowse who’s acting style he may be channeling. As to who might come on board as the new suitor, I’d consider Jamie Dornan, [unfortunately they’ve already used Theo James], or Warren Christie.

  5. Annie says:

    No…too soon. No. Matthew was Mary’s other half. I’m not fine with this at all.

    • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

      So sign our open letter. Link is in a comment I left below.

    • Dee says:

      I agree. We are so upset with the ending of season three here in US. Terrible. We may not watch next season because they are killing off all the good people.

      • Betty Johnson says:

        Totally agree-hard enough to get over Lady Sybil’s death. Matthew had connections with everyone in the show practically and so many at Downton looked up to him. May not watch next season. Too sad that he died-anyone but him! Spoiled the whole show!

        • Dianne Shanley says:

          I have the 3rd season DVD and, while I wanted to wait until the 2/17 showing, I couldn’t and watched aheadof time. It was so upsetting about Matthew that I didn’t sleep well after seeing the show. I’m over it now but have all sorts of questions, the least of which is how Mary will survive her loss. What will happen to Downton. Matthew was the driving force (and the financial and legal expert) of the triumvirate. Has he left enough of a blueprint for how Downton goes forward? Will Mary carry it through – she certainly is strong enough but does she have the education for it? I won’t boycott the show. There are too many delightful possibilities — but I will still miss Matthew!

          • magicdancer says:

            I did the same as you….watched the DVDs because I couldn’t wait. And I have the same questions as you about who will run Downton now that Matthew’s gone. I guess it will have to be Robert and Tom since they understand the direction in which Matthew wanted to take Downton. It would be great if Mary and Cora got into the act, too. That could happen, especially with Mary, because the times are changing.

      • c.kosugi says:

        I so agree! I almost thought of protesting by not watching anymore after Lady Syble (sp ?) and then sweet Mathew!……especially to kill him off just hours after his baby, his heir, was born ? I t tore my heart out ! they didn’t give us viewers enough time to just enjoy their story line as a new family …it was all too quick ! I’m all for drama, and keeping things fresh, but you can still achieve that with out killing off ALL the beloved characters! ….ARE YOU LISTENING DOWNTON WRITTERS? ….Of course, I am going to watch, but I am very frustrated by their decisions ! Do they ever listen to what their viewers have to say ? I hope so… If they get the train back on the track, they could have many seasons to come with very loyal viewers! It’s hard when you get emotionally invested in the characters life and story line :) …..I have to remind myself …”it’s OK, it’s just a story” :) I just love, love , love it !!!!!

        • magicdancer says:

          Dan Stevens quit the show. That didn’t leave Julian Fellowes (or his writers) much choice. They couldn’t very convincingly pretend he’d gone on a long trip. Same with the actress who played Sybil. She wanted out, too.

        • angie says:

          I agree, but I will not be watching. The series could have survived the exit of Dan Stevens by recasting Matthew, but it will not survive the loss of Matthew. Of the three major romances the show created – Matthew/Mary, Branson/Sybil, and Bates/Anna – only one has survived, the boring one. Matthew/Mary was the heart and soul of DA. JF has made a fatal error in not doing a recast.

          • Dom says:

            I disagree, there is NO ONE who could have been properly recast for the role of Matthew. It’s better that they killed him off so we get some kind of closure. Dan Stevens was perfect for the role and anyone else trying to step into his place would have been a hollow replacement that never could have done justice to the original Matthew/Mary coupling. It just would never have been the same.

          • angie says:

            I guess that’s why they make chocolate and vanilla! There have been many successful recasts. People get used to the new actor. Stevens was good, but his style began to wear thin for some of us. Put Colin Firth in that role, and just watch the chemistry! Even a complete unknown would have been better than this. For me and many others, the destruction of the Matthew/Mary love / life story will bring the end of DA. We shall see.

          • LeeAnn says:

            I know. The one couple who are not sexy and dull as dirt survives. I know the two actors wanted to leave the show, but they didn’t have to kill Sybil. They could have at least written off her and Tom to a happy ending. Her death was so tragic it traumatized me and I couldn’t enjoy the rest of the season, except some of the acting.

          • Amy says:

            Right… because it would have been fair to Allen Leech to write him out of the show? Essentially firing him? Just because Jessica wanted to leave? Yes, I hated how she died. It was horrible and traumatic. However, writing them both out of the show just to give Jessica a graceful way out would have been a horrible decision. This way, they still have Branson (who the Earl is going to need now more than ever without Matthew) and they have Sybbie too.

      • diana wigan says:

        I’ll watch anything with Rupert Penry-Jones in it. I’m not devastated by Matthew’s death – just furious with Dan Stevens for quitting. Lady Mary would be lucky to get RPJ. I can’t believe people are saying they won’t watch it. Who do they think that’s going to hurt?

  6. Heather says:

    Neil Jackson!

  7. JennaD says:

    Lee Pace, with an accent? Though I just assumed they’d hold off on viable outside suitors, to somehow eventually get Branson & Mary together.

    • Tami says:

      Well, even if Branson and Mary are the final plan, something else will have to trigger it first or it’s just too convenient. I think it might be interesting if Mary relied on Branson for all things domestic – Being a Daddy, Discussing the operation of Downton Abbey, etc. Meanwhile new guy gets all the benefits of being the Romantic Beau. Then Branson gets jealous of the romance role of the Beau while the Beau gets jealous that Mary relies on Branson for all things practical. Hopefully a shirtless fight will ensue…

      • Lane says:

        Make this happen!!

      • Kathleen W says:

        Tami, that is genius
        I think you have a future in nighttime period drama writing!

      • SMRS says:

        Great idea! At first I didn´t like the idea of putting Mary & Tom together! But what I really don´t like is Mary without Matthew!! She (we) need time to mourning! In the end, she will need to go on with her life! So your plot is interesting! It could become natural to see her trust and rely on Tom!!

      • Val says:

        Brilliant idea! Hopefully Lord Fellowes takes notice.

      • Buckeyenv says:

        Mary is too much of a snob to ever see any potential in Tom – she might learn to accept him as Sybil’s husband and baby daddy – but she will never look any further. It’s more likely that Edith would fall for Tom. I’d love to see Mary finish her mourning and decide that she doesn’t need a man in her life – take over Downton and run in when her father passes away

        • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

          Right on! Or inherit it outright if the entail can be broken one day.

          • monica4185 says:

            Mary can’t inherit and the entail is irrelevant now, since Mary had a son, who is the heir now. Lord Grantham only needs to live long enough for the baby to grow up so he can take over.

          • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

            @monica4185- You’re assuming that her son will inherit one day, that some contest to the title won’t re-emerge (as with fake!Patrick of S2). Moreover, WWII is looming for the next generation; many young men died at Dunkirk and elsewhere … and by then the inheritance laws will have changed. Hopefully the series won’t go long enough to cover the later interwar years, but who knows? As Fellowes said himself recently, Downton is sort of its own beast now and is beyond the control of any one person.

      • Chicago7 says:

        Sorry, I just think that Mary and Branson getting together sounds like bad fan fiction. Mary isn’t like Sybil was. Mary is too class conscious, like her Grandmama the Dowager Countess.

    • Lynn Harpell says:

      Branson and Mary would be brill! The cousins could be raised as siblings, although it would be spicer if Branson and Mary had a series of suitors before realizing they need to save Downton and each other.

    • Sally says:

      Branson, no no no!!! In Mary’s mind he will always be the ex chauffer!

  8. maddie says:

    Richard Armitage!

  9. Templar says:

    Is Bennybatch [Benedict Cumberbatch] too big a celebrity to do it?

    • rowan77 says:

      The UK doesn’t view TV acting the way they do here in the US. TV is not considered a lesser medium and doing a show like Downton Abbey would be a nice addition to anyone’s list of credits.

      And Cumberbatch is too busy, I would think. They’ve had to push back Sherlock way back to accommodate his and Martin Freeman’s busy movie schedule.

    • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

      LOL, this is a joke, right? Yeah I’m sure the TPTB are falling all over themselves to offer a job to the guy who called DA “f***ing atrocious.”

  10. Sarah says:

    It’s hardly casting scoop – you don’t name anyone who’s been cast. This is just a repeat of things said last week and the week before by Neame.

  11. kris says:

    How about Matthew Goode?

  12. Leslie says:

    JJ Feild, PLEASE!!!

  13. reddevil93 says:

    Richard Armitage! I know he’s busy being Thorin Oakenshield in the Hobbit but I’m sure he could drop by on Downton Abbey sometime :)

  14. Nathje says:

    Ooooh it’s a shame he’s already in ripper street, would have loved Matthew Macfadyen as Mary’s suitor :)

    • Tess says:

      IMO not handsome or suave enough.

    • Lynne says:

      Yes on MM! Or might Clive Owen be up for a bit of TV slumming?

    • Ella says:

      I though of Matthew MacFadyen, too! He’s a great actor and would be so much fun to watch!

      • cp1945 says:

        He was also incredibly sexy as Tom in MI-5. He played a smaller role in Frost/Nixon that ended with a streak into the Pacific I will long remember. I can only hope Downton is in his future.

    • Nichole says:

      Me too!!! He would be perfect, the character sounds very different to Mr Darcy so shouldn’t be too many comparison issues there, plus he’s such a good actor that even if they where alike, I’m sure he would make them seem very different!! Perhaps given the limited episodes of both shows, he could still do both, Ripper Street would be close to rapping if it hasn’t already and the next season of DA won’t start shooting for a month or two at least. Here’s praying he will!!! :D

  15. jpop says:

    Richard Armitage! Without the dwarf costume of course.

  16. shanghaiedinlalaland says:

    I realize we (DA bloggers/fandom) are tilting at windmills here, but there’s an open letter we’re circulating to TPTB on S4 romance: http[://]www[.]ipetitions[.]com/petition/open-letter-to-julian-fellowes/. If you’re against Mary moving on too soon or ending up w/ Branson, please sign to show your support. A longer version/analysis appears off of my LJ at shanghaiedinla[.]livejournal[.]com (with another link to the open letter/petition from there). WARNING: BOTH VERSIONS CONTAIN S3/S4 SPOILERS.

    • JJ says:

      That’s ridiculous. A season of Mary grieving wouldn’t be fun or interesting to watch. Also keep in mind there will most likely be a time jump. It’s not like they are going to have her burying Matthew and the next day hooking up with a new guy. How about trusting Julian to write his own show?

      • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

        Yeah, tried that and voila … we ended up w/ S3. Don’t get me wrong, I primarily blame Stevens; I realize JF’s hands were tied … but what was the point in selling M/M as soulmates, if she’s going to move on almost immediately to someone else? Is 6 mos or a year all it would take for you to get over the love of your life? It’s not about being “fun” to watch, it’s about being true to the narrative vision we all bought into and to Mary’s character. … if you just want a romance fix, go watch GA or DOOL.

        • Claire says:

          Yeah, but it’s obnoxious how you’re judging a storyline before you even see how it plays out. It’s like you’re assuming she’s gonna be jumping into bed with this new guy by the middle of ep2

          • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

            Not necessarily that she’ll be jumping in bed with anyone … just that she won’t be given the narrative space to grieve in a way that honors the M/M and the Downton we fell in love with. And I think the fact that the casting call has gone out this soon means that he’ll be introduced relatively early. For example, Lavinia, Carlisle, Vera (Bates) in S2 were cast in early February of that year. And all of them were introduced in the first or second episodes of that series.

        • JJ says:

          It’s not about a romance, it’s about her having another suitor. A woman of her standing, of her age, and of that time wouldn’t remain a widow for the rest of her life. Mary was introduced as a woman who was well aware of the intricacies of the upper class society and as a strong woman. It wouldn’t be true of her character to have her broken down. She’d pick herself up and make sure she and her son were in the best position possible. If you’re concerned about soulmates, it sounds like you should be the one watching DOOL.

          • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

            Did you even read the letter? Obviously not. I’m not suggesting that she be alone for the rest of her life — just that she actually grieve her husband whom she loved completely for a sufficient amount of time. Hey, I’m not the one who wrote them as soulmates, that was JF. Look at all the iconic scenes he gave us, drumming it into our heads over and over that they were MEANT TO BE. Can’t just pretend that didn’t happen. S3 was a paradigm shift in terms of structure, tone, etc.; can’t turn back now. They wanted to go dark, so they have to own up to those choices. (And LOL, can’t recall “soulmates” being something heralded by soaps, which aim to have as many characters as possible hook up w/ one other.)

          • JJ says:

            there is no genre of television that uses the term soulmates more than soaps do.
            And regardless of how much a couple is meant to be, if one of them dies, it doesn’t mean the other’s life is over. Do you seriously want to spend an entire season of Mary grieving and that’s it for her character?

          • C.A. Russell says:

            I missed the ending of season 3—how does Mathew die??? Is the baby born before his death?
            Is

        • ben says:

          I trust Julian Fellowes to write his own show. If you don’t, and the show is ruined for you, then stop watching. I thought Season three was fantastic – albeit that the unintended ending was not. Seasons of Downton are often intended to cover a long period of time – after all, we have had ten years go by through three seasons. Three years per season-ish. That’s time for someone to move on and find a new partner, it happens in real life. I very much doubt Mary will be engaged by episode two and married by season end. Quite the contrary.

          This is not me saying that I think it’s the better decision. But I do believe the people who are creating the show are the ones who get to pick the direction. It’s their story, not ours. The idea of an open letter to contradict what has openly been declared as the direction of the story strikes me as entitled and arrogant.

          • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

            TBF, the letter was written and posted before this was announced (though there was speculation). And the version we’re circulating for signature focuses on our feelings as viewers not on character analysis/meta. … But regardless, we’re the consumers: we have the right to be “entitled.” What would DA be without us watching, not to mention its elevation into the zeitgeist due to fandom’s use of social media? If the emperor has no clothes, I’m “entitled” to call it. It’s called free speech. … To your point about the timeframe of the show, 3 years is an average and it’s only that high because S2 started with a 2-year jump and spanned 4 years after that in order to cover WW1. S1 covered about 2 years. S3 covered about 18 mos. S2 was the anomaly. Based on S1 and S3, I think it’s likely S4 will be about 1 1/2-2 years. DGMW, I’d be much happier if it did span 3 years and she doesn’t get involved with him until the end. That might be ok. But based on past seasons, I don’t think that’s the timeframe we’re looking at … and given the timing of the casting notice — it’s still pretty early — I think this guy is going to show up pretty soon (no later than mid-season). … And in the end, I probably will stop watching and so will many others, but I’ve invested in these characters (and in this show) and I care about what happens to them in canon, because that’s what we’ll be stuck with for posterity. I’d rather the ending of a show I used to love not leave me bitterly rolling my eyes or laughing hysterically because it all came unraveled when a couple of actors decided to leave.

          • Amber says:

            I agree with you Ben, I like JF writing and it’s fun to see the plot unfold in the episodes

    • C.A. Russell says:

      What letter are you referring to????

      • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

        I wrote an open letter to Fellowes that a few of us (bloggers/fandom) were behind. You can find it off one of my LJ posts: @ shanghaiedinla[.]livejournal[.]com/939[.]html.

  17. Stella says:

    pretty much disgusted that in so few months she is made to move on from the love of her life. out of character.

    • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

      So sign our open letter. Link in the comment just above yours.

      • Stella says:

        Done. Seriously, not only it’s too soon to be believable, this guy is already too perfect to be true: handsome, winning personality. Yawn. Whatever, nothing will ever beat Mary and Matthew love story that unfolded in the seasons when the show was still good.

        • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

          If it’s not too much trouble and you’re so inclined, we could use the help in getting out the word on social media. Thanks!

        • I think Julian Fellowes is an excellent writer and in whatever direction he takes the show the story will be grand. I am so happy to see quality programming I do not care how he writes the script. We were unaware of “Downton” until season 2. It did not take us long to catch up and we were very excitedly waiting for season 3. They could not force Dan to stay with the series nor did they want to with the many opportunities he was being offered. The ending was sad but in television things have a way of grasping your attention and moving right along. I look forward to seeing whatever is written into the script as we count the weeks until season 4. I intend to purchase this whole series to keep. We watch the episodes more than once and each time are aware of something which slipped by us. Dame Maggie is an absolute “hoot” with her funny “”quipes”. What a wonderful actress she is. I love history and the writing of this period coincides with my Grandparents time and the time when my Dad was very young. Our family was and is poor as “church mice” in comparison but my paternal grandparents had a lovely country home here in Tennessee. He was a quite successful farmer for some time and built several beautiful houses around 1900-1920 himself with help. I was born to my parents when they were 40 and never knew my grandparents when they lived in such a fashion. I see some of the joy of beautiful things in this story which I still enjoy. I am a grateful “southerner” to travel to this time period in my imagination. I have English, Irish Scottish and German ancestry but I know more about my English ancestry. My husband has the same mixture but fancies himself a Scot to the core.
          Julia B.

    • Claire says:

      There will be a time jump of 6-8 months, plus we don’t know when the character will be introduced!

      • JJ says:

        Yes. I can’t believe how much people are over reacting with this ‘too soon nonsense’. There will no doubt be a time jump. There has been numerous times throughout the series.

        • Claire says:

          Yeah, and even for those who still think it’s too soon, I doubt he’ll be in the first ep, or that Mary will react fondly at first. People just need to chill and watch, Fellowes knows how to write Mary better than the other characters on the show.

      • Stella says:

        She was written so in love with Matthew for so long, for years… and now in six months she’s already over him? I think it’s desperately out of character.

        • Claire says:

          I mean, how so? We don’t know how she will react to this suitor, we don’t know anything about him except his name and his personality right now. By my guess, it will take awhile for her to warm to him. We don’t know until we watch. All I know is that Mary as a character was never one to stew in grief, one of her prime traits is her pragmatic nature to move on with life. I look forward to seeing how Fellowes advances Mary in this new situation.

          • Stella says:

            Well, the spoiler says “a new boyfriend” not just “a suitor” so… and I am perfectly conscious that she will move on eventually, I am just saying that a few months to forget Matthew are almost offensive, after how much in love they were written. You can look forward this, I don’t.

          • JJ says:

            yes because Michael’s use of the word boyfriend on this website will determine how Julian writes his scripts? Again, wait until you actually see it how it unfolds before complaining.

          • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

            But look at the only scenario by which we can compare it: from 1914-1916, she didn’t move on AT ALL. Look at how devastated she was by Matthew’s engagement to Lavinia. It wasn’t until then that she TRIED to move on, but she didn’t really. She never loved Carlisle and never seriously regarded him (except as her jailor, LOL) because she was still in love with Matthew. We all know Mary is pragmatic, but she also loves deeply; she isn’t shallow. And for someone who loved as she loved Matthew … it’s going to take a long time to heal if they write her in character … plus she has a son to raise (hello, can’t be living it up at parties or jazz clubs in London every night unless he plans to write her as an absentee mother). Instead they seem to be set on giving us a rushed, cliched romance in a desperate grab for ratings (which at the end of the day, won’t succeed). This time next year, my prediction is DA will have fallen out of the zeitgeist.

          • tina says:

            I totally agree with you Claire,as a DA fanatic I was pretty bombed of the ending of the Christmas S3 special,but it was Dan’s decision to leave.Let us just trust the brilliant writings of JF and the marvelous acting of Michelle Dockery.At least something good is comming out of this because this will be Mary centric and that means we will have more time to see Michelle Dockery,she is the main reason that I watch DA.Hopefully the guy they pick to replace Dan will have the same on screen chemistry with Michelle.

      • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

        Is 6 or 8 mos sufficient to get over the love of one’s life? Is even a year or two at the most? Branson wasn’t over Sybil after a year. … Sure, if they stretch S4 over 3 years and he’s introduced at the very end, then maybe ok. But the fact that S3 spanned less than 2 years and the fact that the casting call is going out this early leads me to believe that’s not what they have in mind.

        • Tess says:

          Don’t forget that Matthew changed and he and Mary were not getting along as well. She may be quite turned off by his personality shift. Easier to get over someone who is no longer the person you fell in love with,

          • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

            Did you watch all of S3? If you did, you’d realize your comment is off base. They couldn’t be more blissfully happy in the scene before his fatal car crash. So, no, it SHOULDN’T be easy for her. … Besides, since when does disagreeing over things — even important things — translate into not loving someone??

  18. Paige says:

    I don’t think that she should have a serious suitor. I think a string of possibilities would be more interesting. But since they’re doing it anyway — JAMIE BAMBER!!!!!!!!!!!!! He’s a looker and can do suave very well. I still remember the towel scene in BSG!

    • beatriceblythe says:

      I would also be fine with THIS.

      • Bella bursak says:

        Hard to imagine Mary will look for another man so soon…after such love she lost.She ,most likely,would need more time.But ,no matter how we comparing what happening to real life,it is not.it is a great masterpiece and the creator will find a way to continue the episodes.

  19. JJ says:

    For people complaining that it’s too soon. keep in mind there will probably be a time jump between Matthew’s death and season 4.

  20. Scott says:

    Lee Pace would be perfect!

  21. Roberta says:

    I think Richard Armitage would be great but i dont think he could ever be…
    maybe it will be a non famous actor…

    • Annie Blue says:

      I do believe an excellent and best choice for the new romantic lead for Mary and who actually would have made a great Mathew character himself –

      is ANDREW BUCHAN…

      He was the Barrister William Garrow in BBC 18th century series Garrow’s Law….. A wonderful actor with the depth and honesty in his acting style that would be wonderful. Also he is married to Amy Nuttall (cast in Downton Abbey as the maid with illegitimate child) – He has that certain something…..and the right age – also tall with a charming smile.

  22. Susan says:

    Rupert Penry Jones; Desmond Harrington; or Rufus Sewell, I know he is older but she was engaged to an older man before and he oozes sex appeal

    • beatriceblythe says:

      Oh my gosh, Rupert. I would love it if they did that.

    • ben says:

      Rupert is almost TOO cliche, and Rufus is I think too untrustworthy – I don’t think he could pull off a character that you actually trusted and felt was safe for Mary. The only way I can see them successfully replacing Matthew long term (and, of course, assuming that this courtship is intended to be a success, not a failure) is to have someone who is equally unassuming and genuine. You bought into the fact Matthew was great for Mary precisely because he was guileless and true. That’s what she needs again (even if he is quite different in other ways).

      Damian Lewis would have been a great one too, but he seems to be otherwise engaged.

    • terry freas says:

      Oh yes Rufus Sewell would bring a new mix to that attitude of Mary.
      I think it will be a big time jump (up to 5 years) when the S4 begins. The Great Depression which began in the USA in Oct. 1929 has not even happened yet. And it affected the whole world. Then with the rise of fascism in Europe by 1939 and WW2 begins, not everyone will live forever.

  23. Lefty says:

    6 months to a year would have been more than enough time in the ’20s for someone to ‘move on’. A young single mother of high standing (ie Mary) would have been encouraged to remarry asap. It wouldn’t have been about grief or mourning, but about the idea at the time of ‘how can she cope without a husband/father for her child!

    • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

      She doesn’t need a husband for that. She has the entire support of an aristocratic family, who thanks to her late husband, is flush with money again. And we can presume she’s now of independent means as well. In terms of a “father figure” she has her father, she has Branson — and though I don’t want the pair of them to end up together, I do think they will be surrogate parents for their children. Her father and brother-in-law will certainly love her son more than some stranger (and LOL, most stepfathers have SUCH a good reputation for loving the children of another man!) And legitimacy certainly isn’t an issue, so what’s the rush? … Also, you’re talking about “marriage” as if they’re all the same. Many people then didn’t marry for love and it wouldn’t be unusual for them to move on quickly. But Mary did. Forget about the circumstances — that’s superficial stuff. Think about the core of who Mary is and her true emotional compass. It’s contrary to what we know about her to have her move on so soon. Again, compare it to her conduct during those two years she and Matthew were estranged — which is something tangible in canon for us to go by. Even once he was engaged, she couldn’t truly move on. … Oh and BTW, Michelle Dockery, who understands her character better than anyone, is on record as saying that she doesn’t think Mary can move on quickly because Matthew WAS the love of her life.

  24. Drewer says:

    Yeah Lee Pace would be good. And if he were just a little older, I’d love to see Mathew Lewis do it, he turned out to be so hot when he grew up.

  25. Kro says:

    Bradley James!

  26. Song4Ten says:

    David Tennant. Yes, he’s slightly out of the mid-30s, but he doesn’t look it and he’s perfectly marvelous with a “winning” personality!

  27. beatriceblythe says:

    Tom Hiddleston is still doing indie films. Maybe we could talk him into this. PLEASE??

  28. Nicola says:

    Richard Armitage would be perfect! They would look amazing together and he has a strong enough presence that he would be more than a match for her. He is also completely different from Dan Stevens/Matthew which is important. Rupert Penry Jones could also be great.

  29. Lane says:

    Omg relax! Perhaps this new guy isn’t serious. Mary’s not going to just take the first suitor that comes along. But the whole point of her storyline is to watch her struggle with finding a new life with Matthew gone. It’s suppose to be difficult that’s why it’s a drama!

  30. nikki says:

    hopeless to dream – but Ewan McGregor????

  31. Templar says:

    How about Jonathan Firth?

  32. LeeAnn says:

    They aren’t going to let either Mary or Tom grieve for two seasons. Who wants to watch that? Mrs. Hughes gave Tom the okay to move on in the CS. Mary won’t marry New Guy anytime soon, but she is a wealthy titled widow and she will have suitors. And she might not marry for love the second time.

    I don’t think Tom and Mary are end-game, though. They are just WAY too different and want different things, especially in terms of world view. But I hope they will become close and I bet there will be some UST.

    Who will they bring in for Tom? I thought maybe Rose, but she is so young. Maybe the new nanny?

    • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

      Mary wouldn’t be grieving for 2 seasons. Matthew didn’t die until the final scene of the CS. He was around for all of S3. So we’re only talking about S4 … and frankly, it doesn’t matter as much to me how many episodes and seasons pass before she becomes involved with someone new as it does how much canon time passes. I would feel better about having a jump of 2 or 3 years and introducing someone early (with the courtship to come to fruition towards the end of the season) than I would introducing someone late but having only 1 year or 18 mos gone by. I want to see consistency and continuity and honoring what M/M meant to Downton: the narrative, the show, each other, the family at large and us, the fans.

  33. TMW says:

    Rupert would be too cliche plus he’s already juggling TWO series now. Richard Armitage and Matthew Goode are the best choices so far. Why can’t he be Scottish and be played by Henry Ian Cusick?

  34. domna says:

    I thing Mary and Tom should get together and raise the kids together that could be a long slow romance

  35. Liz Morse says:

    What about Charlie Cox from Boardwalk Empire? His character just died this season.

    • Snozbock says:

      Charlie Cox was in Season 1, possibly the first episode or second as a potential suitor for Mary. He ended up being Thomas’ lover, using Thomas to spy on Mary et al re inheritance.

  36. LeeAnn says:

    Charlie already played a different character on Downton.

    Dominic Cooper?

    I don’t want Tom to fall in love with Mary. She is so different from Sybil, it makes no sense. I can see friendship, respect, understanding….not love. Or marriage. Or mutual interests aside from the kids. Nope, I can’t see it. He needs to leave Downton one day and do his political thing, not just stay there helping her run it. It goes against his beliefs.

    • Tami says:

      While I do have a soft spot for a potential Tom/Mary relationship, I think this is the most logical reason to NOT have one. A relationship with Mary would probably trap him at Downton and prevent any serious political aspirations… (but I reserve the hope that they at least have an ill-advised affair, then come to their senses)

      • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

        I agree, but I don’t think JF cares that much about Branson’s characterization. I do think he cares about Mary’s and that’s the only thing I’m clinging to… because Mary believes in the aristocracy and she has to now continue to fight for that way of life — that hierarchy — as she’s raising the future Earl. She has a vested interest in the status quo; Branson is the antithesis of that. She would no more consider marrying a former chauffeur than she would cut off her right arm, even if she has accepted him and cares about him. … But the more I hear about TPTB’s plans for S4, the less confident I am that they will do justice to JF’s original vision and the characters we know and love.

        • Shannon says:

          Well since JF is still writing the show, however he writes it, it will be to how he thinks his characters would behave according to his original vision. Also i think only the first few episodes will be set 6-8 months later and then they’ll be another time jump which should allay the fears of people who think she will move on from Matthew too quickly. Of course I understand that for some fans it’s important to see the full grieving process but this being a tv drama it’s just not going to happen that way, most of her grieving will be done off-screen. But i think she will always be shown to consider Matthew the love of her life, and a part of her won’t ever recover. I do disagree with you slightly about Mary’s views on the aristocracy; i think she has a very sardonic approach to it, on one hand she’s very much a product of it and has been brought up with that mindset, on the other hand i thinks she’s very aware of its faults and prejudices but above all she’s very practical about life and it suits her too much to try and change it.

          • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

            I agree about Mary’s views on the aristocracy. But my point is, she literally CAN’T reject it because she’s fighting to preserve it for her son. … Once she married Matthew, she felt that she had come full circle and embraced it as her destiny. Now it’s been taken away again, but she still has to fight for her son’s interests. And we know Mary values family and loyalty and the survival of Downton above all else.

            And again, regarding the time jump, I don’t expect to see the full grieving process (we can’t anyway since it’s starting 6-8 mos ahead). I could live with an S4 that introduces someone a couple of years after Matthew’s death and depicts a cautious Mary eventually getting involved with him after several months, so that it’s closer to 3 years before there’s anything romantic and maybe another year after that before they actually marry (which probably wouldn’t take place in S4). I just can’t see her after barely a year saying “ok there are other fish in the sea.” Even for someone pragmatic, it doesn’t work like that; grief and the process of letting go isn’t rational. To show her full speed ahead with another man after a year or even two makes her character appear not pragmatic but shallow. And the show resolutely showed us in S2 that she isn’t. Consistency and continuity is all I ask.

  37. Linderella says:

    Matthew Rhys or Jamie Bamber?

  38. AT says:

    As upsetting as it is that Matthew and Sybil won’t be around, I’m interested in who they cast for this. Some ideas: Richard Armitage, David Tennant, Matthew McNulty, JJ Feild, Toby Stephens, James Murray, Rupert Penry Jones, Ioan Gruffudd, Joe McFadden, Alessandro Nivola, etc…There’s a lot of great British actors out there, so they should be able to find someone good!

  39. Chana says:

    Eric Bana!

  40. cjeffery7 says:

    though it’s obviously not going to be the case, i would love for some american gent swoop in and woo mary. it would be like the opposite of cora’s story. but that’s very american-centric of me. can’t stop me from writing a fan fic about it though! LOL

  41. gg says:

    Do you people watch Downton Abbey? It skips years ahead at a time

  42. Rachel says:

    Charlie Hunnam. He’s English, hot, and thirty something. If the shooting schedule didn’t conflict with Sons of Anarchy he’d be perfect.

  43. Tania says:

    Richard Armitage!

    Although, as I like Edith better, I would prefer they cast him as her beau instead.

  44. Hugh Grant! Although he’s more a fiftysomething actor than a thirtysomething.

  45. Leslie says:

    How about one of the Merlin boys… Bradley James or Rupert Young?

  46. Cher Ada says:

    Clive Owen, perhaps? He’s just handsome enough without being a “pretty boy”, and he’s got the “gravitas”, I think.

  47. Shay says:

    Douglas Booth.

  48. Cher Ada says:

    I just looked Clive Owen up, I had no idea he’s as old as he is, 48…but somehow, I still think he would be suitable for the role.Or how about having her find herself an American boyfriend, THAT would be interesting!

  49. oh please please Richard Armitage!

  50. Shay says:

    Or…how about adding a “Yank Cowboy” suitor in the mix? (As Lord Grantham himself once suggested….) Someone with All-American good looks like Casper VanDien, Chris Carmack, etc…..