Downton Abbey Promotes Teen Firebrand to Series Regular Ahead of Season 4

Downton Abbey Lily James Season 4Downton Abbey taketh away and now Downton Abbey giveth.

Lily James, who made a guest appearance in Downton‘s just-wrapped third season as Violet’s rebellious great niece Rose, has been upgraded to a full-fledged series regular for Season 4, TVLine has confirmed.

RELATED | Downton Abbey Boss Defends Matthew’s Death, Reveals Length of Season 4 Time Jump

James’ upgrade, which was first reported by, comes as Downton looks to fill the void left by departing castmembers Dan Stevens (Matthew) and Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil).

The seeds of Rose’s more permanent stay were planted at the end of the show’s Season 3 finale, when her shrewish mother OK’d her daughter’s wish to relocate (at least temporarily) to Downton.

VIDEO | Big Bang Theory Star Reacts to Downton Tragedy, Offers Advice to Lady Mary

Rose’s liberal attitude toward sexuality should liven things up at the staid estate. “We’re entering a more modern age, the post-war into the 1920s and all things that came from that,” exec producer Gareth Neame told the site, “a slightly freer world and women having more freedom.”

In other Abbey-related comings and goings, a show rep denies a report out of London that UK actor Tom Ellis is joining the show as Lady Mary’s new love interest. According to sources, the pivotal new role has not yet been cast.

Thoughts? Looking forward to spending more time with mischief-makin’ Rose?

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  1. Leah says:

    Ehh. I really wasn’t interested in her.

  2. Beth says:

    I don’t like Rose. Downton has a way of making my feelings on characters change, though. I used to hate Edith, now she’s a favorite.

  3. Monica4185 says:

    I liked Rose,I’m looking forward for her to give heart attacks to Lord and Lady Grantham. Maybe she can corrupt Edith.

  4. Magically Suspicious says:

    Bleck. I didn’t like this character at all. She’s a very poor substitute for Sybil.

  5. Amy says:

    I like Rose. Granted, she doesn’t make a great impression in her first appearance, but she was more likable in the Christmas special. She may be a bit on the wild side, but she does seem to be really sweet (I mean, she did take the time to teach Anna to reel). I think she’ll be able to bring a little life to a house that is grieving the deaths of Matthew and Sybil.

  6. girlwiredin says:

    and cousin Oliver has arrived, shame……

  7. Josh says:

    Oh boy… Cousin Oliver :P

  8. Simon Jester says:

    We knew this from the Christmas special, which explicitly said she’s going to live at Downton.

    • TV Gord says:

      Yes, but we know now that she’s sticking around. She could have just gone to Downton for one episode and flamed out, only to be sent back home. Now, we know she’s staying.

  9. Alichat says:

    I liked Rose….but in small doses. I’d like her character more if Matthew were still around. The interaction between them at the jazz club in London was superb. It was a chance to show a more commanding Matthew, but still relaxed and caring Matthew. Perhaps she won’t be as bad in season 4….I did like her teaching Anna to reel, and seeing her relationship with her mother did soften her and make her sympathetic.

  10. Drewer says:

    Haha, when I first saw this headline, I thought, “who is Teen Firebrand, that’s a terrible name!”

  11. TV Gord says:

    Well, this should help to usher Downton into the “modern” era (relatively speaking). I think this will bring a new energy to the show! I have a feeling if Jimmy thought fighting off Thomas’ advances was a challenge, he’ll be just as nervous when Rosie gets a look at him!

    I like the bond that has been initially developed between Rose and Violet. She’s a wild child, for sure, but she still has respect for those who command it. I’m looking forward to all of the many ways she can change the dynamics at Downton!

  12. Elaine Bondra says:

    Will someone please explain to this clueless person why people are calling Rose “Oliver”? I did like her better in this last episode & her relationship with her mother explains a lot. Teaching Anna to reel does make one think she’s got a good heart too. It will be good to have young blood upstairs too. I won’t be disappointed if this Tom Ellis doesn’t become the new Matthew. I’ve seen pictures & he didn’t impress me. I know that makes me sound shallow, but I wish to see at least the same level of gorgeousness maintained. Dan Stevens set the bar high & we fans (& Mary) deserve nothing less.

    • Russell says:

      Oliver was the young cousin they introduced on the Brady Bunch that came to live with the family in the later years to provide a youthful spark to the aging show. It was a disaster.

    • Jlonnie says:

      Oliver is a reference to the Brady Bunch. Cousin Oliver was a new character brought in for the final six episodes of the Brady Bunch. It is funny but not applicable here.

    • TV Gord says:

      In the final season of The Brady Bunch, when all of the kids were getting too old. they brought in Cousin Oliver (Robbie Rist) to try to have a cute kid on the show again, but he was an obnoxious little character that most fans instantly disliked. Now, he’s as infamous as the phrase, “Jump The Shark”, and many people believe he put the final nail in the coffin of that show (although I disagree…it had run its course, by then). :-)

  13. Elaine Bondra says:

    Does anyone else wonder if the ersatz Patrick Crawley will make a return to re-stir the pot?

  14. TVpage says:

    Maybe the Tom Ellis character will be the love interest for Rose.

  15. ddd says:

    I just want Edith to find some happiness for once!!! I have lately been thinking that maybe she could be with Tom…

  16. Uzi says:

    I like the character of “thoroughly modern Rose” and look forward to her scenes with the Dowager. I’m also wondering if the grieving Isobel will take her under her wing…two generations of feisty, indedendent women. That would be fun to watch!

  17. mrwiseman says:

    Yes things were becoming more liberal in the 1920s and 1930s…but liberal back then would look outrageously conservative today. I hope to heaven that TPTB don’t pretend that suddenly in 1923-1925 etc. that suddenly women could take lovers and no one cared much…nonsense! Girls like that were still considered immoral for quite a few years to come…
    So let’s not pretend that the 1920s are suddenly 2013!

    • Jan1 says:

      There’s no indication that will happen.

      • BonesForever says:

        I don’t know about that. They seem to indicate that Edith is contemplating becoming Gregson’s lover. She’s already rebelled against some strictures of her father. So I could see them thinking that Rose could run off the rails without major repercussions from society. I don’t like Rose all that well. The reel with Anna was a nice blip, but she’s pretty ornery. I still think Edith is pretty whiny still too, so she hasn’t truly won me over, though I do have some sympathy for the poor girl now. I don’t know how I feel about where they’ll be going next season, but I hope we have a little more happiness. This has been an awfully dark season, other than Bates and Anna’s reunion.

  18. Maria says:

    Glad to see her, just as long as they don’t make her the “new Sybil” and try to pair her with Tom.

  19. Loni says:

    I don’t like her character at all. I just thought she was really annoying.

  20. Whatever says:

    I’m luke warm on Rose, time will tell…
    Sorry, Tom Ellis would not cut it for Lady Mary or the show. They are going to have to A LOT better.

  21. Amanda says:

    I didn’t like Rose at first either but the Christmas special changed my mind. I’m looking forward for her character to show more of the Jazz Age. Plus, it still looks like Tom Ellis is going to playing Mary’s new love interest. The UK sites reporting it were the same ones whofirst reported the rumors of Dan leaving last fall. I’m totally on board with him coming on the show too.

  22. Wendy says:

    Second rate Sybil. No, thanks.

    They killed off one character with modern ideas (not that they had much of a choice, I suppose), and now they’re trying to replace her by casting a poor imitation. The difference is that Sybil had strong beliefs on things that mattered, e.g. women’s suffrage and the equality of people regardless of class, and the courage to back them up–case in point, marrying Branson–while Rose is a flighty child who just wants to have her own way in everything. She doesn’t have meaningful ideas–she wants new clothes and to have affairs with married men. Which is her right, but as the recipient of Sybil’s legacy, her characterization is unfortunate and disappointing.

    • kate says:

      how do you figure it’s going to be a poor imitation, if it’s an imitation at all? and Rose might change once she’s away from her parents, who were terrible. you have no idea what her beliefs are, she’s been on screen for all of, what, 30 minutes? give it a chance before declaring her a bust. jeez.

    • Bob says:

      Let me guess. She’s going to become a love interest for Branson. Uggghhh.

    • LeeAnn says:

      Rose is not as serious or selfless as Sybil, but she was an exceptional young woman. I think Rose deserves a bit of leeway, because she is young. She grew up with a hypercritical mother, in the shadow of War and with parents trapped in a loveless marriage. That had to be tough for a spirited and fun-loving girl. If her current interests are pretty dresses and frivolous rebellion, what of it? She just needs some time to sow her wild oats and enjoy a bit of freedom.

      She struck me as a bit reckless and even silly, but essentially sweet, warm-natured and friendly. She doesn’t have her Cousin Mary’s stiffness and snobbery. I think she has potential, and will grow and blossom while living with the Crawleys. The essential ingredients of a decent, loving young woman are there and it will just take time and experience for her to mature.


  23. Andie says:

    I don’t mind the character. However, I hate the way she wears she hair and how frizzy it is in the front. I know this is completely superficial but it really distracts me.

    • LeeAnn says:

      That was a wig. Her natural hair is dark and they wanted her to look less like the Crawley girls (but let’s face it, they really mean less like Sybil). Anyway, she is dying her hair for S4 instead so hopefully it will be more flattering in terms of color and shape.

      I liked her a LOT more in the CS. I think she will mature at Downton, maybe after getting into some mischief. Like Mary and Pamuk. And I would like her to become a love interest for Tom because God knows that guy needs some joy and fun in his life. She would bring it.

  24. PFitzDC says:

    Ugh. Do we need more unpleasant characters? Really, Julian Fellowes?

  25. Pride Abbey says:

    Fairly sure she’ll be the new love interest for Branson…

  26. kate says:

    I didn’t like her at first but found her much more sympathetic in the finale, and she may be much better as she’s away from her cray-cray mom. I look forward to seeing how she develops.

  27. Shay says:

    Definitely not “pro-Rose.” She just doesn’t add much to the overall storyline….simply another BYT waste-of-space so common to that era and always over-utilized in ’20’s period pieces. (Maybe it’s also that this particular actress is plain annoying, not appealing????) At any rate, the image of “Downtown” is one of class, genteel dignity and yes, even upstanding morality (Save for Mr. Pamuk, Thomas and Ethel!)…let’s not trash it up tooo much! As for “Lady Mary’s” new man, not so sure about Tom Ellis….really not the right physical type for her, and everytime I would see him, all I would think of is “Miranda” chasing after her “Gary!!!!” (Most unsettling…..)

    • LeeAnn says:

      Apparently Tom Ellis has not been cast in the role after all.

      They’ll find something to do with Rose. She’ll rebel and then get tamed, just like everyone else on this show. Morality hadn’t really changed that much in the 1920s and she’ll discover that she can’t get away with too much.

  28. BonesForever says:

    They should cast Ioan Gruffudd for Lady Mary’s new love interest. He is one hot potato! And he’s played sophisticated Brits before in period pieces–look at Forsyte Saga and earlier in Horatio Hornblower! He plays the refined gentleman very well. Mmmm–I’d be a Downton fan forever if they cast him!

  29. Helen says:

    I really wasn’t a big fan of Rose

  30. Helen says:

    I don’t like the idea of bringing in Rose just to add some youth to Downton.

  31. Gerry says:

    In the end I’m sure the only character left alive will be Edith.

  32. enya727 says:

    I hope rose doesn’t become branson’s love interest. I think that would cause more friction in the position he has just fought so hard to earn in the family.

  33. Karen Seamons says:

    Since Shrimpy’s estate will be sold, have David Tennant (“Dr. Who”), a Scot, buy it, then Rose and Mary can both fight over him.