Downton Abbey Creator Defends [Spoiler]'s Death, Reveals Length of Season 4 Time Jump

Downton Abbey Season 4 Spoilers -- Matthew's FuneralDownton Abbey is making Matthew Crawley’s funeral a private affair — so private, in fact, it won’t even take place on screen.

Julian Fellowes, creator of PBS’ international phenom, tells the New York Times that Season 4 will pick up “six months later,” which means “we don’t have to do funerals and all that stuff. That’s all in the past by then.”

RELATED | Downton Abbey Season 4 Recap: Did You See Matthew’s Death Coming? 

In the present, Stateside fans of the show are still very much in mourning over Matthew’s untimely demise in Sunday’s Season 3 finale. For his part, Fellowes says he was left with no choice but to kill Dan Stevens’ beloved character off.

“In America, it’s quite standard for an actor to sign, at the beginning of a series, for five or seven years,” he explains. “The maximum any British agent will allow you to have over an actor is three years. And… Dan wanted to go. The show had been very, very successful, tremendously so, and [he was] being offered great opportunities.”

RELATED | Dan Stevens: Why I Left Downton Abbey

Fellowes adds that he asked Stevens to stick around through Season 4’s premiere episode (set to air in the U.S. in January 2014), so as to end the finale “on a happy note” with the birth of his and Lady Mary’s baby. “And then [we would’ve killed] him in the first episode of [Season 4.] But he didn’t want to do that,” preferring instead to make “a clean break.

“When an actor playing a servant wants to leave, there isn’t really a problem – [that character gets] another job,” he continues. “With members of the family, once they’re not prepared to come back for any episodes at all, then it means death. Because how believable would it be that Matthew never wanted to see the baby, never wanted to see his wife? And was never seen again at the estate that he was the heir to? So we didn’t have any option, really. I was as sorry as everyone else.”

RELATED | Downton Abbey Season 4 Scoop: Meet Matthew’s ‘Replacement’!

Looking ahead to Season 4, Fellowes teases that one of the overriding themes will be “the rebuilding of Mary… in a society that is changing,” adding, “We would see women’s roles in the ’20s as being very much behind women today. But it was a big advance on what it had been 30 years before. And that’s all explored.”

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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  1. Tekla says:

    Fellowes tanked the series. Any actor who is so integral to the series and then runs away from success should never be cast again.
    I’m finished with Brit TV.

    • Adam says:

      Fellows tanked the series? He had no choice but to kill him, have you never quit a job before?

      • Stacey says:

        Then recast the character. Yes the actor was popular. But there is a thing called recasting. If the character is a integral or a relationship. Try to recast. Killing should be the last resort. Yes they were a perdicament. But there were things they could have done before killing. Especially since they just killed off another character only a few weeks ago. It seems on this show, killing off the character is the first resort!

        • ben says:

          Recasting characters is a strange, and distinctly American, phenomenon.

          • TV Gord says:


          • DR says:

            indeed! wait…James Bond is American?

          • Jessica says:

            LOL, tell that to the 11 actors who’ve played that most quintessential of British characters, Doctor Who!

          • Jessica says:

            Mind, I generally agree with you that recasting isn’t a good choice (except on soap operas, which are their own beasts), it was just funny to me to read that when one of the most famous British characters ever has recasting BUILT INTO the story.

          • TV Gord says:

            James Bond is not a TV series. They recast everyone when there’s a new James Bond. As for Doctor Who, those are all different Doctor Whos, aren’t they? It’s not recasting when the story acknowledges that Doctor Whos change over time.

          • TV Gord says:

            Funny thoughts, though.

          • ben says:

            I’m glad people can only think of two examples which prove my point. I can think of so many TV shows in America where actually the very same character has been recast. In none of them did it work. In Doctor Who not only is it not a recast, but it’s a significant part of the charm. As for James Bond – movies have traditionally been a completely different ball game, although I have to say even they are evolving to the point where recasts may become jarring – The Marvel movies, for example.

        • megan says:

          Nah, recasting is almost universally a terrible choice. Viewers get attached to an specific actor in a role. Yes, occasionally you can reboot a film character with a new actor as time has passed (James Bond) but for a weekly series, unless changing actors is actually PART of the character (Doctor Who) recasting is always jarring.

          • Amy Robinson says:

            Yes of course no one wants to see a character recast, but isn’t it more jarring for the character to die altogether, and for the storyline to be held captive to the whims of the actors instead of firmly in the hands of the writer’s where it belongs? I could have endured the death of Sybil and still loved the show, but killing off Matthew the main love story around the whole show was unforgiveable. They should have recast him, they still could…say he had been knocked unconscious and was in a coma, whatever…

          • Yorkshirelass says:

            I was a huge “new” Dr. Who fan and fell madly in love with Christopher Eccleston, it took me quite a few months before I could tolerate David Tennant as the new Dr., when he left I totally lost interest in the series. I know that for long time Dr. Who fans the regeneration is part of the appeal but I just couldn’t get over the loss of MY Dr.

          • eric says:

            spartacus the series on starz was recast and it’s great…

        • Jon says:

          Recasting is the absolute worst idea imaginable and there is no place for it in a drama series.

          Dan made his decision and we’ll just have to deal with it. I think he will regret the career choice.

          • Cathy Carroll says:

            I truly hope that his “career” plummets..I think that his head must be swollen from his role as Matthew. I think that he has spoiled the whole plot of the story. Shame on him…I think he could have suffered tragic head injuries and facial damage. That way another actor could have taken his place..Not a big deal, however killing him off just 2 weeks after Sybil’s death was just horrible..Really looked like the writers ran out of story-line, so they just killed him…Done with Downton!!!

          • TV Gord says:

            Cathy Carroll, so much hate in your heart for someone you don’t even know. You should really do some self-examination, if you wish failure upon an actor who just decided to leave a TV show.

          • ben says:

            @Cathy Carroll – I’m sorry, in what world is ‘tragic head injuries and facial damage’ a less soapy or better outcome for the show? And how can you possibly say ‘it really looked like they are out of ideas’ when you patently must know for a fact, coming on TVLine, that this is absolutely factually incorrect.

            As for Dan Stevens, the actor, if his head is so ‘swollen’, why is he leaving the show to do something with a significantly lower profile?

          • Jan1 says:

            Thanks ben and TV Gord for calling out Cathy Carroll.

          • Ken says:

            Recasting would have been the correct thing to do.

        • Adam says:

          If he would have recast, you would be here complaining about how that happened…he finished his arc anyway, he fixed downton and created an heir…now we can move on there are other characters as well, quite a few actually to focus on

          • January Jones says:

            I’m with Cathy Carroll. I will never forgive Dan Stevens for leaving the show. His decision shows how little he cares for his fans. He’s an insensitive beast.

        • teevoz says:

          Totally ridiculous idea. We would no more tolerate a new Matthew than no Matthew. I remind you of Donna Reed as Miss Ellie when Barbara Bel Geddes was ill and had to precipitously leave old Dalllas. It was horrific.

        • LaurenMC says:

          Recasting is an awful choice. I thought we were done with that in the 90s.

        • kitti-kat says:

          I agree. I thought it was stupid to kill him off so soon after her sister died, and at just the most horrible moment storywise. It feels emotionally manipulative of the audience to see him with his wife and tiny infant one moment, and then lying under a car with blood dripping out of his head the next. And, it would have been easy to recast this character since we, the American audience, won’t see this series continue for another 10 months. And one more thing, this actor is not so unique looking or unique as an actor, so that if they tried, they could find another actor who would look the part, and be just as good (maybe better) actor as this guy.

          • Jan1 says:

            Funnily enough, it’s not all about “we, the American audience.”

          • Laura Azar says:

            I love Downton Abbey. I did not like Matthew being killed. I do think timing too was bad, right after Sybil.
            However, now we will see just how talented this writer is. How will the balance of this series play out?
            He has a huge task in front of him. If viewers don’t like what he comes up with, more than Matthew Crawley will be dead!

          • scooby says:

            That’s the thing, though, it wasn’t “so soon.” That’s PBS’s fault. They combined some episodes so the season was already shorter than in the UK. It was longer since Sybil’s death and the end of the season, plus the Christmas special was not their season finale. They had months between the season finale and the death of Matthew, and then it was a year later in Downton Abbey time. Over a year since Sybil’s death when Matthew dies. Not a few weeks later. It wasn’t Julian Fellowes’ fault. The show was more well-written than you understand it to be because the pacing was changed for reasons beyond his control.

          • Anna says:

            You’re right Kitti-kat. It’s a long time between series for us, and he had a contemporary enough look to be not so hard to replace. We Americans are indeed used to characters being re-cast, that wouldn’t have bothered me. But, I think once the “tension” of the drama is over, the will-they-or-won’t-they ever get married between him and Mary is now over. They couldn’t top that story line.

        • Amy Robinson says:

          I so so agree! The writers keep saying they had no choice, etc., but they do have a choice, they can recast! Yes of course it would take time to adjust, but if they did some brilliant recasting I think it wouldn’t work. You are right, when a character like Matthew is so very integral to the plot (I mean what was the point of the whole of season 2 to just kill him off one season later?) then you recast. The problem is that downton is being held hostage to the whims of the actors that have been made famous by it. I think they need to know that they aren’t irreplaceable, that if they decide to go that someone else may take their place and there is the possibility they might even do better at it! I still think its not too late for the writers to reverse what they have done. Bring Matthew back in season 4 with a new actor. Say he was in a coma from head injuries, and was just unconscious in the car scene…I am in such denial, sigh. I’ll never be able to trust the show again. I mean what is to stop things if Lady Mary marries again, from her love interest dying? By making the plot cater to the whims of the actors they’ve turned downton into a soap opera and lost half their fans. Come on writers, recast Matthew and bring him back!

          • Elizabeth says:

            We need to remember that we are viewing this show a year behind the English audiences. So whatever we would like to happen to Mary has already been viewed across the pond! Its a shame Matthew’s character was a breath of fresh air and reason! But after watching the final a second time, Matthew said so many sweet things to Mary that is was almost like he was saying goodbye! i think they could have put him in a coma for a while. Found someone who lookes similar and explained the facial changes were a result of the accident. But in the end, the actor playing Matthew made that character believable! But take note: many American actors get too big for their britches and leave tv sitcoms for the big screen and never make it. I do hope that does not happen
            to Dan Stevens. Never say never, someday Dan might want to come back. and the story line will be even more interesting!

          • John says:

            Agreed, Amy. All they have to do is have Matthew bandaged up in the hospital and when he returns to Downton it’s a new actor. What’s the big deal? It’s called acting. Great actors can handle this sort of thing. Otherwise, it appears that the show is irrevocably compromised. Downton viewers have come to expect top-notch drama, not melodrama and certainly not this ridiculous finale. What’s next, will Alfred “crash” into Mr. Carson in the hallway, sending both of them over the railing?

          • Katie Scarlett says:

            I agree! Re-cast Matthew. Actually, I’m hoping Dan Stevens will change his mind. It would be a lot of work, rushed work, and a lot of scenes (hopefully not ALL) would have to be RE-DONE, but it be SO WORTH IT, even with a new actor. This is such a shame. I’m still sick over it! … Something (different) did occur to me today, though, that Julian Fellowes might try: perhaps Matthew’s mother will change her mind about Dr. Clarkson. She’ll be grieving, and he’d be there for her in friendship, which he’d like to go further, anyway. Gosh, I’m trying to think of SOMEthing to soothe me. !!!

        • Carolyn Rashti says:

          I absolutely agree! What a horrible way to eliminate a cast member and a character whom most viewers loved. Of course life does deal cruel blows but was that way really necessary? And if it had to be at least the writer could have offered the public a chance, if even a brief one, to grieve. I was jolted and then infuriated. Remember when the public rebelled against the shocking killing of JR so much so that he had to be revived, though poorly I must say. Wouldn’t it be awful if history repeated itself. I am discouraged about watching the next episode.

        • Bee says:

          I totally agree … Why not recasting? Authors and producers have done a great harm to thr story. Very, very, very disappointing

      • meem says:

        But he DIDN’T quit the job, not technically. His contract was up and he chose not to renew. He fulfilled his obligation to the show fully.

        • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

          I’m sorry, but I really disagree. Acting doesn’t have the autonomy that most jobs have. It’s a highly collaborative endeavor. Moreover, it’s not like he was some mid-level cog in a corporate machine. He was a principal actor on a series that’s a popular and critical success. If he’s too flaky, bored, restless or whatever to finish what he starts, acting probably isn’t the career for him.

          • bunny says:

            What? Actors don’t have autonomy?

            “Most jobs have”? Talk to the Wal-Mart checker about job autonomy.

          • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

            @bunny: I don’t mean autonomy in the sense of not answering to anyone. I mean it in the sense of performing one’s own work independently of others. It isn’t essential that the checker at Wal-Mart interact and collaborate with her colleagues in the same way that Dan Stevens must interact and collaborate with his. Moreover, it’s disingenuous to compare a cog in the Wal-Mart machine to an actor in a principal role on a hit series — an elite “job” if ever there was one.

      • I agree, he (Stevens) had every right to quit.. even though I think almost everyone would agree it was a huge mistake. And if he wants a clean break… his character needs to go. You can not just recast the character of Matthew. He was too complex. Though I had read none of the spoilers and was very angry with the writers for what they did… with the new information regarding his quitting and wanting a “clean break”, I have to say the creators did what they had to do.. Stevens tied their hands.

    • Will says:

      He shouldn’t be cast again because he fulfilled his contract and chose not to renew it?

      And if Downton is the only British TV you’ve seen and you’ve chosen not to watch any more because one actor in one thing chose not to come back after he fulfilled his obligation, I feel sorry for you.

      • Cindy says:

        Yes, there are many wonderful British TV series; Thanks to netflix we’ve been able (we’re in the U.s.) to see ones that weren’t on PBS–most of the ones we’ve seen(we tried and didn’t care for Dr. Who–not our type of comedy or satire or science fiction. Fortunately, the actors remained –most of them have been comedy series–the British series are witty, unlike so many of our U.S. series; or things like–Lark Rise to Candleford (unfortunately, one of those characters left, sadly) and teh veterinary series (I forget the title. One of the things wer like best about the British series is the perfect recreation of time and place in series set in the past.

      • LeeAnn says:

        Originally the series was only to last three years anyway. It is not his fault they chose to extend it for profit. He had every right to move on. And frankly, I was a bit tired of the character and the relationship with Mary. So was he, apparently.

        I thought Sybil’s death was much more traumatic. I am glad we are skipping the funeral.

        • brandi says:

          I think they should hook up Tom and Mary make an interesting couple Mary couldn’t stand Matthew in the beginning they turned out to be soul mates they can’t keep her a widow or a spinster forever. Also easier to keep Tom and Sybil at Downton Abbey they can relate to each other better than anyone else can since they have been in the same situation. Some thing to think about.

    • Amanda says:

      I have a feeling you don’t watch much British TV then because high profile series are usually full of unpleasant character deaths and exits.

    • Elphie says:

      Seriously! What choice did he have? Really, there was no other way, anything else would have been an insult to Mary and Matthew’s love story. Having them break up wouldn’t have worked and would have left people more ticked off and Mr. Stevens did not want to continue with the role. He wanted to do other things (he’s on Broadway now), I get that. It’s no ones fault. Killing Matthew off was the best way. It’s sad and sucks for the story, but really there wasn’t much else that would have made sense.

      • parafighter says:

        I completely agree with you. I know this show is not reality but in real life bad things happen, people die. The people complaining they are done with Downton really bother me. Matthew wasn’t the entire show, don’t you want to see how Mary copes and grows not to mention how all the rest of the cast fairs? I think Fellows did the right thing. I also loved Sybil but would they have been able to develop the new relationship of her husband with the family? No I don’t think so…..JMHO

        • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

          I think for me the distinction is that I really invested in the CHARACTERS, not the ensemble or the performances or the concept (which is derivative). I think people that are looking forward to S4 are looking forward to the PERFORMANCES. But for me, no, I really DON’T want to see Mary or Isobel go through this. However “good” people may think it is for ratings or the show or Fellowes’ creativity (and actually I disagree on all those points, but let’s leave that aside for now) … for the CHARACTERS that I love? It’s isn’t good — it’s the worst thing imaginable. … The other thing often overlooked in all this is that DA was sold to us as one thing (and we bought into it) but it’s turned into something else entirely. I sympathize with Fellowes — and agree that given the choice of death or recasting or having Matthew abandon his family, I would choose Matthew’s death — but it doesn’t change the outcome. Regardless of the REASON, I was a sold a bill of goods. Downton was a noble place, a comparatively safe place. It wasn’t dark, it wasn’t cynical. And it’s not that I don’t LIKE dark or even cynical sometimes (e.g. I love Mad Men — always have, always will), but then at least I know what it is going in and I’m prepared to invest in it anyway (and for totally different reasons than I invest in a show like Downton). But that was NEVER Downton — not in tone, not in ethos. So they’ve created a real conundrum to which I don’t know if they’ll ever have the answer. OOH, I see them wanting to escape the heaviness of S3 and revert to the more optimistic DA of old (to me, this is what is primarily driving their search of another love interest for Mary — that and a fear that without having “romance” the show will tank) and they absolutely cannot do this after what transpired in S3 and maintain any continuity or integrity. OTOH, if Downton morphs into a truly dark and cynical universe… then it really is just an altogether different show — not the show that captivated us to begin with — and with all the other competition out there in terms of dark period pieces (Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones [in a manner of speaking], Borgias, etc.), I’m not sure it can really hold its own. I’m not sure that Fellowes can write that kind of drama successfully because, ultimately, that’s not really his aesthetic. He likes to use “dark” themes/events sparingly — as an element of surprise, as a catalyst for something else and in service of some greater good. There is no greater good in Matthew’s death. It’s just random, senseless destruction from which they have to find a way to overcome.

          • LeeAnn says:

            You know what was just as bad? When they promoted Sybil’s death episode as a happy birth episode and then killed her off traumatically on screen while her family and everyone watched. And people were NOT spoiled for that; they tried to hide it as best they could, to shock and upset people.

            People knew for months Dan wanted to leave. I knew he would die in the CS. At least we didn’t see HIM suffer.

      • Lauren says:

        For the life of me, I can’t figure out why people are so ticked off. We knew before the show started showing here in the US that Dan Stevens wasn’t coming back for Season 4. What where they expecting to happen?! Yes, it’s sad for Mary and their son and the rest of the family. That part I get. But really, it shouldn’t have been that big a surprise that he was going to die.

      • Cindy says:

        I agree. For those of us who love the show, while saddened by the tragic loss of Lady Sybil and Matthew, fell in love with, (these actors playing those characters). I don’t want to see any other actor play Matthew, it would be a loss to the “sweet love story”. Not a fan of recasting… I think they went in the only sensible direction. Also agree, the love story between (Lady Mary & Matthew), was very well written… She had her 1st great love, Matthew’s son/heir, securing the family home and jobs of the faithful Service staff, therefore the town, what a legacy to leave his son! Let’s see what is next for Lady Mary. There are other characters in the show who’s stories need to be told… Anna & Bates, are among some of my favorite characters. Who doesn’t want to see Lady Edith find her true love??? I love Downton Abbey… If I’m to complain about anything, it is that I have to wait so long to see what happens next, and I’m already dreading the end… I wish Dan Stevens the very best in his career on Broadway and hope to see more of him. Great show!

    • Cratloe says:

      It’s a TV show people!!!! Get a life!!

    • Tania says:

      Good lord, how old are you?

    • Tania says:

      Tekia and Cathy Carroll are prime examples of what I call the non-intelligent viewer. I’ll ask again with a slight alteration, seriously, how old are you two? It’s a TE…LE…VI…SION SE…RIES!!

    • sharon says:

      unloyal actors breed unloyal fans

    • jada meffen says:

      Mathew wwas the voice of reason the strong silent personality that kept the show together.
      He will be a verry hard act to follow.
      Hopefully Tom Branson
      will pick up that roll he deserves a stronger role

    • jackie2830 says:

      Oh come on, you know you’ll continue to watch. Life goes on. It was explained that in GB, they only sign on for 3 yrs., didn’t you read it? Plus, they’re continuing the drama so, hey, chill and get a grip! I sure hope Steven made a smart decision however…..remember the old David Caruso mistaken move on?

    • Dj says:

      Nobody tanked anything. Life is finally happening to the Downton Abbey clan because with the advent of the war and the world changing, they are finally living in it not on the fringes of it in a bubble. People die at inopportune times…Mathew died, life goes on. Can’t get anymore real than that. Well written and acted. I for one am looking forward to season 4. For the record, I agree with those who express disdain for the process of “recasting”, it never works (even for Bond). Some of those actors were horrible choices.

    • Dexie B says:

      Oh for Pete’s sake, GET OVER IT! Matthew is gone, it’s done, life goes on. If Shrimpy can put up with the shrew, I think we can deal with this – after all, he was just a bit too perfect. First, the miracle paralysis cure, then the perfect teeth (so NOT British!) and finally the lovely blond hair and pretty face. Matthew was the embodiment of Sephora and the MAC counter at your local Macy’s.

      I’m looking forward to Mary as she was originally written; a bit too smart and independent for her time, and completely unapologetic. Dan Stevens wanted to go and we should all just wish him well.

    • Dan says:

      A few weeks ago I read in a recent interview Maggie Smith claims to have never watched an episode of Downton Abbey. She said she didn’t think she would like what she saw. At the time I read the interview I didn’t know about the inappropriate decisions of the producer. I no longer have enough interest, loyalty and faith in the show to watch more.

  2. Adam says:

    I have a feeling that Dan didn’t inform Julian at the beginning of season 3 that he planned to quit as once reported. I don’t think that he would have killed off both Sybil and Matthew in a series of episodes. I do think that Julian at least seems more honest here. I don’t “blame” Dan or have anger, it’s a job his contract was up. But I did find it weird that they would both die and Julian just seemed fine about it before. Now saying at least he wanted Dan for at least one more but Dan said no seems more honest.

    • meem says:

      No, Fellowes knew from the start of shooting season 3 that Stevens was leaving. Apparently they tried to change his mind and were unsuccessful, which is probably why Matthew’s death was so sudden and badly written.

      • Susan says:

        Badly written? I don’t agree…he was ecstatic about his new baby boy and not paying attention to his driving…totally plausible i say “hurray for Julian Fellowes writing”!

        • TV Gord says:

          Agreed. Also, his main purpose in the storyline had come to its natural conclusion. He was pushing for fiscal restraint at Downton, and his father-in-law realized that Matthew was right, so now his impact on the family will continue. It seemed to be a natural progression of events to me. Frankly, I’m surprised by the level of anger I’m reading in some of the comments on here.

          • Jan1 says:

            I think people are upset at the character’s death and casting about to place blame for their feelings. It’s easier to be mad than sad.

          • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

            It WASN’T a natural conclusion. The natural conclusion was (eventually) for Robert to die and Matthew and Mary to become Earl and Countess — representing both tradition and progress (which have been the main themes Fellowes has bludgeoned us with from the beginning). What we were given in S3 was a watered down, patched up version of what Fellowes wanted and intended the show to be. Matthew’s death was the result of nothing but the crumbling of the fourth wall: a selfish actor wanted to take his ball and go home. That’s it. Period.

      • kate says:

        sudden and badly written? do you know how car accidents happen? SUDDENLY. and how do you badly write a car accident? there’s nothing to do “badly.”

      • Rowan77 says:

        I would hardly call it badly written. To those of use who watched in in December it came as a bit of a shock. They set everything up to finally be happy again at Downton Abbey (after Lady Sybill’s death) and then gave us a twist that people are still talking about.

        It’s one thing to be unhappy that a character you enjoy is killed off – it’s quite another to call it bad writing just because you’d rather the actor stayed on. Time to grow up a little.

        • Jan1 says:

          Well said.

        • LeeAnn says:

          To me nothing was happy after Sybil died because Tom was still miserable. And I thought the rest of the family recovered from that too quickly anyway. But whatever, it was still a good ironic twist. Especially for the self-satisfied Earl himself, who is about to get his real comeuppance.

      • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

        But he already had half the season written before filming on S3 started, which is when Stevens informed them he wouldn’t be back.

    • Elphie says:

      It was reported in American entertainment magazines that Mr. Stevens wanted to leave before filming started. And Jessica Brown-Findlay wanted to go as well. Wishing the career of someone would fail is selfish and in such poor form. They filled their obligations and didn’t renew their contracts and are both doing other work. Some people like a change if scenery. It’s their right to make choices on their life.

  3. Tinemi says:

    I’m going to miss Mathew (Dan’s character) but I agree that there was no other way to do this, and it is a challenge for Julian Fellowes to find another male lead that can have a relationship with Mary and that has the same (at least) chemistry with Michelle Dockery that Dan had. It will be interesting to watch. Matthew Crawley will be missed, but I hope that not for much longer.

    • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

      First of all, the new love interest is not going to be a “male lead.” This is the problem with the fallacy of “Matthew was just Mary’s love interest.” He wasn’t. He was integral to every other aspect of DA because he was the heir to the estate. This new love interest won’t be, *can’t* be — he simply cannot be integrated into the family and the DA universe in the same way Matthew was (this is part of what people mean when they talk about how this destroyed the narrative structure). The new guy is an outsider with no DA “cred” for lack of a better word. He’ll have no greater importance to the show than Lavinia or Carlisle (though I hope for Mary’s sake he’s a better man than Carlisle). … Second, there is NO WAY this guy is going to have BETTER chemistry with Michelle Dockery. That would be the equivalent of lightning striking twice and it just isn’t going to happen. They can hang it up now. And I think they’re finding this out as no one who auditioned in the first round (including Tom Ellis) blew them away. … Third, you say you hope Matthew won’t be missed “for much longer.” He JUST died — at the very end of the episode in fact. In the finale/CS, the family didn’t even know about it. How can it be “much longer” when it just happened? You don’t think it’s appropriate that a central character on the show for 3 seasons (which will be the period most people associate as the “real” DA or the “best” of DA) be mourned by his widow, his mother … you think it’s good storytelling just to pretend like he didn’t exist?? I definitely don’t.

      • LeeAnn says:

        Frankly, I thought their chemistry was sort of gone in S3 anyway. All he did was declare his love to her and validate her despite her shrewish behavior. I look forward to her journey in S4.

        The show is about the Estate, and to some degree Mary. There is an heir now. That is what she herself has always cared about most anyway.

        I can’t wait to find out who her new love interest is. Tom’s too, hopefully.

      • holybean says:

        Shanghledinlalaland, i really agreed with your analysis (except wishing DS bad luck in his career).
        Downton Abbey was very much a Matthew/mary story and now with Matthew’s dead and a new love for Mary, how is that going to work? Will this new love/husband move into Downton? Or Mary to move out with her son and heir to live with her new husband?
        Matthew crawley should not ever be forgotten or the whole 3 seasons would be wasted.

  4. Artemis says:

    It will take more than rebuilding to make Mary anything other than a thoroughly unpleasant shrew. Try an entire personality transplant. Or taking her off the show entirely. Now that Matthew’s gone, the only scenes in which she was even a little likable are gone too. She’s horrible, and I would love to see her gone with them.

    • Meg says:

      Agreed. In the first season, Edith was at least as unlikeable as Mary, so you could understand them as bickering sisters who do not get along. But now Edith is far more likeable, and it is just like Mary is a bully who mercilessly rags on her younger sister despite being a grown adult woman. Her snobbishness about Gregson was so gross. She is the worst.

      • Whatever says:

        I agree. It does seem that the characters have come full circle . In season 1 Edith was the intolerable shrew and Mary likeable now the roles have completely reversed.
        Mr Fellows had no choice but to kill Matthew off, I don’t blame him a bit. He couldn’t make the actor stay .
        I do wish Dan Stevens would of reconsidered though. Even tried to meet them half way maybe cut the number of episodes he is in so his work load would be minimal and he would be free to purse other opportunities yet still be associated with Downton.

        • wanda says:

          I do wish Dan Stevens would of reconsidered though. I don’t think that making people love and enjoy your work, involves disappointing them by going away for more money. During the showing of the Downton if he cared about his admiring public he would have made adjustments so that he could have both acted still in Dowton, and do other side acting jobs. I saw you in broadway, New York and enjoyed your acting. Now the money that I would have spent in the future to see you again in some other play….I WON’T!!!!! I would hate to buy a ticket to later find out your “killed off” or decided to work else where.

          • kate says:

            Dan Stevens owes you nothing. He fulfilled his contract. He wanted to do other things. If you want to hold a personal grudge against him out of sheer stupidity, go ahead. The only one you’re hurting is you.

          • Jan1 says:

            Well said, kate.

        • LeeAnn says:

          I always thought Mary was a self-absorbed little cow. Edith was bad in S1 but so was Mary. Now Edith has come through the storm and survived, has grown and done something useful. Mary is still a snobby, selfish, mercenary, cold shrew.

      • Lisa says:

        Matthew was the only thing making Mary even slightly human. I can’t imagine what her personality is going to become without him.

      • scooby says:

        Totally disagree. Gregson’s horrible for pursuing a woman trying to convince her family that it’s fine for her to end up with a man who can never marry her. He was after Edith’s title, not really her point of view for the purpose of selling papers before he met her. Rather unsavory if you ask me. Mary’s far more likable than Edith who is constantly trying to hook up with men to escape spinsterhood (remember that married farmer? and wouldn’t leave poor Strallan alone even when he tried to get out of it before he hurt her feelings) and who was willing to betray the entire family by telling about Pamuk. Mary’s done what exactly? She was pushing to save her home. How can anybody be blamed for not wanting generations and generations of family history to be sold to the highest bidder while people mock her father behind his back for the perceived failure. Matthew was honorable to a fault and I get why, and even Mary did really because she was willing to side with him there until the money was desperately needed. She didn’t want anybody discussing business while her sister’s body was barely cold in the house. She feels duty to her family, a quintessential older child. Edith never really has felt that duty, she’s been trying to find an escape for years and thinks this is her chance, married man or not. Jane Eyre she isn’t.

        • Olga says:

          Thank you! It is so rare in these threads to find someone who else likes Mary and defends her. She is the best character on the show, imo, but she gets so much hate.

          • Ladymary says:

            Yes yes yes! Lady Mary IS the best character on the show and she has defended her house, her family and herself! She is awesome! She rules! As the oldest daughter she does get jealousy from Edith as she is very beautiful and charismatic and by returning that with meanness it adds humour to the show and shows she will take no messing from anyone. I can’t believe throughout this I have not even mentioned the eyebrows!

        • monica4185 says:

          What is wrong with wanting to scape spinsterhood or a place where she doesn’t have a place? Who would want to be a spinster at that time? Edith isn’t appreciated by her family very much. Why should Edith have any loyalty to a family who doesn’t really care for her feelings?

          • LeeAnn says:

            Her family is horrible to her, Mary especially. She should tell them off to Eff off. I don’t care if it screws with their rep. They deserve it.

          • Ladymary says:

            Her family should not EFF off!!!!! She has been equally mean to them ESPECIALLY MARY THE GREAT back! I mean, what about exposing Mary to the whole world about the whole Pamouk business! Come on!

        • holybean says:

          Well said…Mary is complicated but totally lovable when one can see thru all that defensible cold exterior. Matthew saw thru her and loved her deeply. A man like matthew would not love such a cold woman if he did not see the real Mary.

    • Susan says:

      It wouldn’t be true to life is you didn’t have some disagreeable personalities.
      Also she wasn’t all bad. I’ll miss Mathew though he was so yummy and though he says he’s not upper class British.

      • Artemis says:

        It’s one thing to have a disagreeable character on a show if that fact is acknowedged, e.g. Thomas Barrow or Mrs. O’Brien. The problem with Mary is that she is a terrible person, but her faults are never acknowledged by the show. Men fall head over heels for her, she gets the happy ending (well, she would have if Dan had stayed), she is never dealt any serious blows or learning experiences–the other characters on the show get their just deserts based on their actions but never Mary.

    • B says:

      I disagree. Yes, Mary can be a bit cold, because she intentionally shows a carefree exterior to the world rather than showing her emotions. She reminds me quite a bit of Brennan on Bones, making decisions based on her own logic and not on feelings–her own or anyone else’s. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t care about anyone or that she’s a terrible person. There has always been more going on under the surface, and I’m surprised anyone who doesn’t see that bothers to watch the show at all.

      There’s been a lot of growth in her character, and I thought the final conversation she had with Matthew was a nod to that–that she wants to be the person she is with Matthew, rather than the person she is to Edith or whoever else.

    • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

      Ain’t gonna happen. Mary is the heart of the show. She’s Fellowes’ favorite character (though he likes Violet a lot too); he writes her with care and subtlety and nuance — he doesn’t do this with anyone else (at least not to that extent). There is a reason why Michelle Dockery was nominated for an Emmy, GG, SAG and CCA award this year. Yes, Dockery’s performance was fantastic but she also had better material than anyone else (sadly in S3 this isn’t so because he was hamstrung by Stevens’ decision to leave which affected her arc as much as his). … And I hate to break it to everyone who would like Edith to succeed in love (which includes me), that’s not going to happen either. Fellowes believes she’s the kind of person who attracts misfortune and he’s pretty much said he will continue to punish her character. Sorry.

      • LeeAnn says:

        She’ll never win an Emmy. She never had a shot against Danes and the show is past its prime now anyway. I think she’s a good actress, but not fabulous. And I hate how Fellowes worships her, because she is based on his wife Poor man.

  5. Susan says:

    Typos galore in previous post.
    It would not be true to life if you didn’t have some disagreeable personalities, also she did have a kind side.
    I’ll miss Mathew though he is so good-looking and though he says he’s not, so “upper class British”.

  6. Carol says:

    I’m far more concerned about Branson. I could see him stepping up for Matthew in running the estate. Perhaps he could encourage the Crawley sisters to have an active role in the family business? I think that conbined with women’s suffrage would be a very interesting storyline.

    • ashley says:

      I agree. This was a world where the well-to-do female’s job was mostly to be decorative and breed. The Stately Home way of life is going down fast and must evolve or die out and WWI showed these women that they were capable of more than their pre-defined roles. Drama is about conflict and these would be great conflicts to expore.

    • Debbie says:

      I agree. I was thinking that Tom would have to step into Matthews shoes for now.

  7. Mary Ann says:

    With the exception of Lady Violet and Lady Cora, I so like the downstairs better! Never cared for Mary from day 1….Edith has grown on me as I see her the victim of many heartbreaks…..Would like to see Tom’s position within the family grow and evolve more. Perhaps we will witness Lady Mary becoming a woman of the 19th century and her snobbery and caste ideology take a much deserved hit of real life – even in 1920’s-30’s UK. Mary, as written in the past, has been Violet’s Mini-Me.

  8. luvzkidz says:

    Guess I’m in the minority here: I thought the ending was dramatic, plausible, sad, etc., but
    how interesting, and for how long, could the story line have been if Matthew had lived? I truly liked Dan and his character and the calming effect on Mary, but tragedy does interrupt all our lives, so why not that of the Crawley’s?

  9. TV Gord says:

    I wonder if Mary and Branson will be drawn to each other, as they both struggle to raise newborns alone.

    • LeeAnn says:

      I could see it, but I hope they don’t hook up. It might sound weird, but they both deserve better. I don’t care much for Mary but she suffered a terrible loss, and Tom would not compensate for it. Not for someone as status-conscious as she his. And after Sybil, being with Mary would be like sleeping with an Iceberg.

  10. Sam says:

    If you’re getting emotional about only one character death in a series, you should watch Doctor Who where they already killed the new companion twice.
    But British television is extremely good, they have better story lines than the American ones at least even if the season length is half a dozen episodes or less.

  11. Susan says:

    I think if Mary and Matthew’s lovely marriage would continue, it would become stale next season and boring. As for Stevens, he had every right to leave and those people who are saying they will never watch again are just being silly. It is a tv drama, not your life so try to get over it. I think that Mary and Branson together is just not going to happen and seems too contrived for British tv.

    The relationship that I find interesting is Edith and the Newspaper man, who said that he had fought in the war. I like him! I think divorce laws changed in GB in the 20’s (I Googled it), so he might be able to get a divorce and then marry Edith. Maybe they will be in a position to change the laws, maybe she will just live with him and forget about protocol etc.

    Will Mrs. Crawley marry the doctor? Will Bates and Anna get pregnant? Will someone come to the US for a different life? Stay tuned!

  12. LaurenMC says:

    He had to die. There was no other way. I’m at least thankful that he got a nice ending with Mary and his newborn son, and died happy. If Shonda Rhimes were writing his end, he wouldn’t have seen his baby and probably would have argued with Mary before his death – because Shonda likes to kill off characters and then make it as torturous and awful as possible. At least Fellowes gave us a nice end.

  13. Leanne says:

    I was going to say that if people are to critiscise British TV,then take a look at Shonda Rhimes, who frequently kills off characters,sometimes without providing a future look. At least Julian Fellowes gave us a new baby and a new(?)Mary to look forward to. I agree that it seemed a bit soon after Sybill’s death, but oh well. Let’s not forget that there is a huuuge cast to develop and for us to watch, so let’s not be quick to say ‘Oh, I’m done with Downton forever.’ Keep writing,Julian.

  14. Drew says:

    British TV annoys me. The death wasn’t dramatic and powerful, it was just an excuse. It was all about the actor. British actors seem like whiners to a lot of people because the seasons are so short, it isn’t like their entire lives are invested, yet they always bail early. There is no point in investing in a British show, because the actors always want out and the whole point of the show is lost. It is frustrating to watch. Those actors would never survive working on American TV if that schedule is too much for them.

    It takes a certain investment from the actors to make a show work. If they don’t want to make that investment, they shouldn’t audition for television. That simple.

    That said, if they knew he would be dying, they should have written it better. It was horribly done, with no impact at all. Sybil’s death was very well done, but she wasn’t the center of the whole series. Matthew should have gotten cancer at the start of the season or something like that. Not three seconds tacked onto the end of an episode that really wouldn’t be all that different with the scene edited out entirely.

    • TV Gord says:

      Quite an emotional reaction for a death that had, “no impact at all”. I think you’ve proven that statement to be incorrect.

      • Drew says:

        No, my reaction isn’t a reaction to the death of the character. It’s about the actor and the writer… two of the last things that they should want me to be thinking about while watching the show.

    • LaurenMC says:

      Agree with what you’re saying about the actors, but disagree about Matthew’s end. It would have been torturous to watch him die ALL SEASON from some disease, especially since he was wounded for part of last season after WWI. It was better to have regular Matthew all season, to see him and Mary married for a while. Fellowes gave us as much Matthew as he could, which was smart, then killed him at the very end. Even though his death wasn’t as dramatic as Sybil’s, you know most of next season will be spent dealing with it.

    • Debbie says:

      Oh give it a rest wahhhh!!

      • Drew says:

        Perhaps I felt a need to comment on the episode for the same reason you felt a need to comment on my comment. I suppose one could say “Wahhh!!!”

        Wah indeed.

    • Scott says:

      British seasons aren’t all that short. US network seasons are too long. That’s why we end up with crappy filler plots instead of focusing on core stories, and cheap tatty looking episodes with minimal production values. British series can take 3-4 months or more to film 6-8 episodes (in advance) compared with the American 13 episodes (last minute) in the same time. Its also very rare that a British series will be taken off air for even a week, unlike the 1-3 months which is becoming the new American standard. Interesting that the quality cable shows tend to follow the British model.

  15. Tamim says:

    Here’s a question, did Matthew legally give all of his money to Downton, or did he symbolically promise the funds to the estate, but for all legal purposes the money goes to Mary? This could be an important plot device because if the money was legally entangled in the “entail” (is that the right term?) then the funds are in the control of Robert and eventually the baby. But if the funds are in Mary’s hands, then she will have to either passively allow someone to manage it for her, or she will have to step up and become the defender of Matthew’s dream. She has never really been responsible for anything, even during the war – I actually remember her complaining a lot. She’s always been a supporter of her father, even when she knew he wasn’t doing well, but her support of the way he runs things may change when his choices negatively effect her son’s future. That could lead to some interesting drama that would not have happened if Matthew were still around. IF Matthew had lived Mary could have remained a thorn for Matthew, but not have had to make any serious changes as a character. Because she now has this unwelcome and unexpected level of responsibility she could be forced to change (and hopefully for the better). I absolutely hate that Matthew is gone, but I am intrigued by the potential growth Mary may finally experience.

    • Debbie says:

      Excellent ideas.

    • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

      I really hate this notion that there’s no way to write a married couple that’s interesting …. And you know what? TPTB don’t really believe this either. Prior to Stevens’ decision to leave, Fellowes planned to give us LOTS of married Mary/Matthew. He wanted to show us a real marriage with tension and conflict but also love. Frankly, I think there’s a lot to explore within the boundaries of marriage. … It’s true that S3 was disappointing as far as the Mary/Matthew relationship went. But that was because Fellowes wrote the first half of the season intending to explore what happens when two people who love each other but come from very different backgrounds and perspectives actually have to be life partners … and then he had to unceremoniously shunt those plans aside and write “happy, happy, sappy” for Matthew/Mary in the last half of S3 in order to tie up Matthew’s arc and leave Mary and the viewers with the sense of a “perfect love” as he called it. (Besides, I don’t hear people yelling “split Bates and Anna” or “have Robert cheat on Cora again.” People like marriage more than they will concede.) To me, this is just a smokescreen for “what we didn’t want to happen happened and now we have to get in front of it and spin it.”

      • j mazerolle says:

        There is a way to write a married couple that is interesting. You just have to have a brilliant headwriter. Sadly DA does not…

  16. l2u9 says:

    I’m happy about the time jump, funerals tend to get the show in slow motion, now we’ll get to see a one year old Sybil (hope she’s a cutie) and six months all baby which is better than a newborn.

  17. kate says:

    I don’t get all the complaining. I’m sad Matthew is dead too, but there was no other way to write him out that would have made sense except kill him off. It wouldn’t make ANY sense that Matthew would suddenly never appear. This isn’t a comedy with running gags about someone who is always mentioned but never seen. And frankly, what’s the harm of it? The story might be interesting in a new way? Actors move on to new things. People, real and fictional, die. It’s just the way it is.

  18. Susannah says:

    I wonder if they couldn’t have just written that Matthew wanted to learn a new agricultural technique that would be beneficial to modernizing Downton but you could only learn that in Nebraska or the south of France, Australia, Canada, etc.
    That would have allowed him to leave the show but would have left the relationship in tact.
    Maybe Dan Stevens could have been persuaded to come back for the final episode.
    I guess Matthew’s death is for the best though since that will allow Lady Mary to move on and maybe have another romance. At least Michelle Dockery will have a strong storyline next year for her great acting abilities!

  19. Jj says:

    I can’t wait to see Dan Stevens’ career go nowhere. In 5 years he’ll be on Celebrity Big Brother.

  20. Tahlia says:

    Crap happens in life so why shouldn’t it on a TV show that is depicting life…why do we always have to have to be chasing rainbows and the happily every after story….who on earth has that in real life….don’t we want to watch a real life drama???? I enjoy the realness of the show….who wants a Disney ending??? any wonder so many people live with their heads in the clouds…what with fake magazine covers, plastic surgery and the like…I for one want reality….death happens!!!! Dan Stevens wanted out….good for him I wish him well in his future endeavours….recasting never works….I hate it when the US does that in their shows… in OZ we kill them off and create new characters….the Brits do the same….makes it more interesting instead of the same old same old….can’t wait for Season 4!!!!

  21. ann says:

    Well, maybe now Mary will get with Branson.

    • Broadwayfan says:

      Branson, in Mary’s mind, is still the chauffer. Only Edith, Lady Cora, and Matthew treated him like he really belonged in the family setting. Tom B. is too sweet. Not for the likes of Mary at all.

      • donna says:

        No, Mary treated branson like a brother after sybils death, and Edith barely talks to him, not in a mean way, she just doesn’t have any plot lines coordinating with him

        • Debbie says:

          Exactly, he is like a brother. Therefore it would be ludicrous to marry her sisters husband. Even though Tom has shown some vulnerability and loneliness ,I dont beleive that Mary is the one for him. Tom knows who he is and is still confortable in his old surroundings. Sybil was too and was willing to do whatever it took for her husband . Mary most certainly can not fill Sybils shoes. It’s not going to happen.

          • LeeAnn says:

            No, it won’t happen. When Tom is ready (hopefully in S4 sometime), he will find someone warm, spunky and progressive, like Sybil. Also pretty in a way Mary is not: she is pale and cool and skinny. I think he likes them curvier and more sensual.

  22. Debbie says:

    No Mary will not get with Branson. He loved Sybil who was not like Mary at all. She was sweet and demure. He is still in mourning. But I think they will support each other in a business sense to continue the upkeep of the home of the children.

  23. Lulu says:

    Why does Fellowes owe an explanation to anyone? It’s his show and he can write it any way he wants. He doesn’t write his scripts according to what the majority of fans wants. I am sad that Sibyl is gone, but it doesn’t mean that I am going to stop watching. It’s just a part of the show that a fan has to live with.

    As for Dan Stevens, he wanted to leave the show. He quit his job just like any other person who wants to go to another job. It’s a perfectly normal action by a human being. He isn’t married to Matthew and why continue in a character that is only going to do the same things over and over. How many times can we watch Matthew and Mary be torn apart and then get back together. It’s boring. Mary having to deal with the loss of her husband while raising a child will be interesting to watch. Having her bond with Tom over the loss of spouses will be interesting to watch. Seeing the family deal with the loss of yet another family member will be interesting to watch. Seeing Mary and Matthew argue yet again is like watching paint dry.

  24. I adored the character Matthew, but actors move on! However, I am looking forward to watching the show move in a hopefully, exciting direction. A new love interest for Mary has been chosen, and he is tall, dark, and handsome.

    Lady Mary is indeed her father’s daughter, but she needs a man, who loves her, but is willing to stand up to her. It will be interesting to see how she handles raising her son, as well as inheriting the wealth that will keep Downton Abbey on top.

    I was tired of watching Lady Mary and Matthew argue, and Matthew giving in with goo-goo eyes to his school boy crush.

    • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

      But that absolutely WAS Matthew in S1 especially, but we saw glimpses of this in S3 as well (some done well, some NOT AT ALL). The last episodes were sappy because Fellowes wanted to leave them in a state of bliss rather than discontent. But the beauty of Matthew/Mary was that they could disagree and often did and that was part of what drew them to one another. They’re never going to be able to recreate that with someone new. It’s foolish to try. And maybe they recognize that themselves, since the only things they’re really looking for in her new suitor are “pretty and posh.” That doesn’t scream complex, nuanced, epic love story to me.

  25. I’m glad I took advantage of reading the spoiler alerts so I knew ahead of time about the impending tragedies and can feel some detachment now about the actor’s decision to leave the series. o I understand people’s frustration with this latest plot twist. For my part I would not have been bothered if the role of Matthew had been recast. Maybe the artistic angles don’t bother me as much and I will also say that the role of Rose in the British comedy, “Keeping Up Appearances” was recast.

  26. kitti-kat says:

    I watch Downton Abbey, and I rather enjoy it, but, make no mistake about this, Downton Abbey is really a poor imitation of “Upstairs/Downstairs”, which aired on Masterpiece Theater in the 1970s. Now that show was television at its very finest.

  27. Dvb says:

    So upset & sad to see Mathew had to go but let’s just be thankful we have season 4 to look forward to!

  28. Susan says:

    JF has said that actors on British tv only sign typically for 3 years, and Sybil and Matthew did not renew. As for British tv, they often have 3 seasons, then nothing for 2 years, then a few more seasons. They don’t see the requirement of continuing a show consistently. The perception is different. JF has said that Dan wanted to move on and that he understood, as JF did the same thing when he was an actor. He said that season 4 will start 6 months after the death, so the funeral and aftermath will not drag the drama down, which it would. Invariably, all the comments are because it is so good, not predictable, and not stereotypical. The cast is so vast and varied that I probably will not miss Matthew at all, to tell you the truth. Besides, I love the downstairs people (Daisy, Mrs. Pattmore, etc.) and would not mind seeing more of them.

  29. Broadwayfan says:

    When Sybil died they gave Tom a year in that jump to the final episode. (BTW, that scene with Mrs. Hughes was so dear! I had DVRed the show and ran that back several times)
    It seems that 6 months isn’t very long for Mary to refuse to even THINK about looking at a man.
    Matthew was the love of her life. They have, as Mary said, “done their duty”. There is a male heir for Downton. I know Mary is a character we all want to watch, but I think a man should wait.
    Let’s give Edith something besides old men, and married men!

  30. jjovana3 says:

    Death of Matthew is going to be very bad for Mary. That relationship and her marriage to him is her ONLY redeemable quality. Mary is quite terrible human being and extremely unlikeable. I hope she does NOT regress back or hook up with Branson. Just because they are both widowers and single parents, doesnt mean they have to get together. If that happens, I truly quit Downton. Its extremely out of character for both.

    Im hoping and crossing my fingers Fellowes can get Richard Armitage or Tom Hiddleston as new love interest for Mary. CROSSING MY FINGERS :)

    • LeeAnn says:

      I don’t think Mary/Tom will happen.

      Mary has had some good moments, mostly her support of Tom and Sybil. But God, as even Matthew knew, she can be “horrid” and often is. She is hugely self-absorbed, chilly and snooty. Her softer moments redeem her, then she goes right back to being a shrew. I am so tired of it.

  31. Julia Belisario says:

    I loved Mathew & hated to see him go. But, the timing was perfect to kill of Mathew! After all this is a drama, and the characters of Lady Mary & Mathew were just too perfectly entwined NOT to have something this dramatic occur. Somewhat like our Southern heroine Scarlet O’Hara!

    This just serves for more dramatic developments for Mary.

  32. Jb says:

    Well reading this article helps to ease the pain of Mathews sudden death just at the brink of happiness for all on Downton. Sure wish he would have agreed to stay for 1 or 2 more episodes, but such is life. I think those who remain angered probably do the same in real life. Thay have difficulty accepting and adapting and so rail against all they think “Is not right!!” We’ll I say, learn the lesson , deal with what is, and carry on, as there is much more of life to come. Can’t wait for next season, and I’d love it if UK and US can watch at same time, so their would be no spoilers…either way, we’ll survive!

  33. judithbarbour says:

    Sorry about typos….IPads are wonderful, but the auto-corrects often change words that shouldn’t be changed ( like we’ll should have remained well)

  34. Ginger says:

    Just simply stop watching Downton Abbey. That will help writers and actors learn to pay more respect to a building story line and the audience that is following that story line.

  35. Pj says:

    It’s just a story. Do you all exhibit this much concern for real issues?

  36. Mary says:

    Love the show. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. And if you like it, do. My money is on more people will watch it, making it a huge hit!

    • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

      No. More people aren’t going to “start watching” because of Matthew’s death. People will either stay loyal to the show or leave. But I don’t think DA will ever see that 8.2 million mark again.

  37. brandi says:

    I wonder if Tom and Mary got together they both have something in common and definitely have a reason to become closer and bond over and who would understand what each is going through more than each other? the “you have no idea what I’m going through” syndrome wouldn’t apply here Matthew and Tom were becoming closer who better to help each other raise their kids and keep Tom at Downton Abbey? Or do a version of DALLAS “it was all a dream” episode if Dan Steven’s could come back- when Matthew’s mother gave birth to him there was a twin his mother didn’t know about she had a very difficult delivery, cesarean section yada,yada- she was out of it. i know it is a very far reach but it would make for good drama. Love to see how that would go over with the family- Mary didn’t care for Matthew at first but she did fall madly in love with him and i don’t think Matthew and Sybil would want them to be alone forever just a thought….

    • bunny says:

      I do not see that happening. She’s the mother of the heir to the title/estate. I do not see her dirtying her hands by mixing with the help.

  38. Emilyweasley says:

    Hey guys remember its one year later too. I don’t know if you mean two weeks for you but if you do, sorry!

  39. bunny says:

    I think they should have just offered to pay him more to return. Greed is a powerful motivator, after all.
    But I also agree with other commenters that he wasn’t that unique in looks, personality or acting ability that he couldn’t have been recast or the entire character written off. The Mary/Matthew romance storyline was done, after all.

    The problem with this past season was so much of it was rushed, not interesting or not adequately fleshed out. Take the Mrs. Patmore “romance” in the last episode. What was the point of that? That greasy greengrocer guy was no catch and the audience wasn’t even given a moment to get to know whatever redeeming qualities he may have had before he was proposing and groping another woman. I’m guessing they were just trying to fill some minutes. The same goes for the maid/Branson would-be tryst. Pointless. And that reminds me, the Mrs. Crawley, Dr. What’s-his-name romance of the last episode? Where did that come from? It’s like JF thought up too many “good” romantic conversations to fit into his other throw-away romances for the evening.

    I certainly hope next season is better quality than this one otherwise this series, just like Fonzie, has jumped the shark–even if the dresses are pretty.

    • j mazerolle says:

      As much as I liked Dan Stevens as an actor, NO actor is unreplaceable. Matthew could have left for a while and a new actor could have replaced him. Storyline should always prevail on actors decisions to leave…

  40. bunny says:

    Oh, yeah. And another silly unrealistic construct. What’s with the servants attending the Highland dance? Didn’t they just have some kind of servant’s/master’s dinner a la Boxing Day last season that was supposed to be the exception to the standard separation of the classes rules? Suddenly Anna’s taking Highland Reeling lessons from the daughter of the house? Please!

  41. Susanna says:

    Mary must stay alone because there is no one that can fill the place of Matthew he was the love of her life and what about her son wil mary allow someone else than Matthew raise there son. And yes the could have been recast Matthew something like he had the car accident and his face was dammiged., so than replace him.

    • bunny says:

      Mary will not stay alone. Why? Three words: Lady Mary’s eyebrows. There are freaking websites that sing the praises of her eyebrows, for Chrissakes! She is the most obsessed with character in the entire cast. If she doesn’t have a romance, she has nothing–because she’s a woman in the 1920’s. She can’t be the hostess of the house–Mamma. She can’t be the dowager–Grandmamma. And she’s already said she doesn’t approve of a woman getting a career. All she’s got left is some kind of romantic liaison.

  42. Cali says:

    Personally, I am done with the show. Matthew’s character was pivotal to the story. I don’t like recasting, but I think with some ingenuity the writer could have come up with a story to bring a new actor. Dan’s facial features and voice are not that distinctive. With the right hair color and make up someone like Benedict Cumberbatch or Ethan Hawke could play Matthew

  43. Susan says:

    Ok, let me get this straight. People are mad that an actor wanted to leave (maybe he has to strike while the fire is hot) and that without this actor, in an ensemble cast, they are just fed up and will not watch. This is a drama, a high brow soap opera: it is light, frothy, with a British edge. British shows do not always follow the contrived, unrealistic, lightweight arc that American shows typically do. Irony, nuance, and complexity are more prevalent.

    If you cannot recognize that it is not your American status quo, and are mad that they are not replacing him, then I don’t really think there is any hope. They cannot replace with another person, as that would not be acceptable to the vast majority of watchers. Secondly, so he is killed off-much better than the unrealistic he has gone away. He would not have left his baby and Mary. It would make no sense. Why is everyone so afraid of a person not coming back?

    There are so many wonderful characters on DA, but JF does not have to please me. I will watch it no matter, and I know he will create scenarios that I cannot imagine. That is what makes it so fun to watch. It is somewhat unpredictable.

    • shanghaiedinlalaland says:

      Dan Stevens’ irons aren’t hot … more like lukewarm at best. … Further, using your own words, how does “light, frothy” describe S3?? Let’s see: threatened financial ruin, cancer scare, jilting at the altar, exile from the motherland, prostitution, giving up a child, death in childbirth, grief, possible destruction of a marriage, affairs with married men and a wretched car accident on what should be the happiest day of one’s life. Does that about cover it? What exactly screams “light” or “frothy?” And that’s exactly the problem: that would describe S1 and even S2 to an extent. Even though S2 covered the war, it wasn’t really dark. There was angst, but it came largely from internal forces. In S1 and S2, there was humor, there was optimism; there was a sense that everything would be ok and even when it wasn’t — like William’s death — it was noble, it was for some higher purpose, it had MEANING. In S3, there was very little of that. … I also take exception to the idea that because a show is British it is “good” ipso facto. There are great dramas in American TV now. They may not be your cup of tea (and they certainly are different from DA — at least the DA we fell in love with). And that’s sort why I think this paradigm shift is going to be so hard for DA to overcome. S3 was dark and dark really isn’t in DA’s DNA. It can’t compete IMO with Breaking Bad or Homeland or Man Men — shows that are TRULY dark. It’s competitive advantage was its wit and poetry and optimism and gentility. Take away those qualities (which S3 did), and you have just another gloomy manor house drama like the many before it — none of which captivated audiences like DA (and certainly not on this side of the pond).

  44. Desiree says:

    The onslaught of new ‘female’ characters is the most annoying part to me. The entire show centered around the character bonding between Mary and Matthew and the ‘romance novel’ scenes and mystery that they two delivered. They need another LEADING MAN …and I mean QUICK…..AND the new HEIR child better be speaking and extremely charasmatic SOON. LOL

    • LeeAnn says:

      Why does everything have to center around Mary? It is an Ensemble show. They won the SAG for Best Ensemble. Michelle hasn’t won any of the US awards for individual acting.

      Mary on her own is boring and not very likable. I like to see all of them. Her too, but not JUST her, all the time.

  45. Susan says:

    While I think that DA is a light soap opera, I think it is extremely well done and absolutely wonderful. I love it and the characters. I just think that the show is not ruined by not having one of the actors come back, as it is an ensemble. I completely understand why actors would want to leave and more power to them. They will bring on a new love interest for Mary, Edith is going to have a relationship with the newspaperman, and Branson is going to meet someone new. Maybe someone downstairs?

  46. tr says:

    I think a perfect replacement for Maggie Smith would be Patricia Routledge

  47. Justin Newton says:

    Any chance of bringing matthew back as a zombie?

  48. Tina says:

    FYI the actress that played Sybill also asked to leave as she had a few movie offers, as well as, other work. It should also be noted that British dramas tend not to last for more than 2 or 3 seasons. Very rare that they do. British actors often see acting as an art they mix it up. Tv, movies, and Westend or Broadway which is what was was and is committed to doing a production in. I think it is nice to end shows at the creative top and before they become stagnant and stale. Kudos to the actor for taking a chance and to the show to write out actors and move on.

    • shelvy says:

      Its just plain proof British producers are plain stingy…by putting Dan/Matthew dead. They don’t want to spend extra penny for the one who brings so many viewers. Sorry to say, none of the actors or actresses were hot except for Dan. Not to mention,the story is another proof of how stiff brits are. They just can’t show their feelings. Too much camouflage, “read between the lines stuff”. That’s why, British tv series shouldn’t be more than 2 seasons…we’ll pass out watching them…out of boredom.
      As for Dan…he is a sight for sore eyes. I don’t mind watching his whatever movie/series.

  49. rich plodzien says:

    I love reading the vacant logic of otherwise intelligent people, who argue into the night, over the justification of completely disrupting the excellent development of a very succesful, extremely popular story line, simply because one of the main charactors quits.

    Apply your logic to this: Rembrandt is in the middle of one of his most stunning masterpieces. He calls it “Study in Blue”. Trouble is, he runs out of blue paint, and, the paint supplier tells him he can’t get anymore blue paint. So, following this flawed logic, Rembrandt simply kills off the blue, right in the middle of his “Study in Blue” masterpiece; decides to make do with other colors, leaves the viewer to interprit how to make sence out of a broken work. Shame on you, Rembrandt, for not planing ahead by securing enough paint to finish what you started.

  50. David says:

    Way to ruin the season finale with this headline. Spoilers are not needed in article titles. Especially when a simple “Downton Abbey” google search brings up this article.