Gasp! I know that title is enough to send even the less avarice fans of the international sensation Downton Abbey racing for the smelling salts, right? But it would appear that actor Dan Stevens, who plays fan favorite character Matthew Crawley, is not coming back for the fourth season of the acclaimed mini-series.
Okay, breathe! Catch a breath, fans, as the news is disappointing to say the least, but there is one silver lining – he may not be there on a full-time basis, but it’s possible he could be around at least a little bit. (Okay, perhaps that is wishful thinking on the part of this diehard ‘Downton Abbey’ fan).
But, according to a report at TV Line, Stevens did not renew his contract for seasons 4 or 5 of ‘Downton Abbey’, leaving fans wondering about the fate of the heir-apparent of the Crawley family legacy as well as the fate of one of the most beloved couples on the small screen right now – he and Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery).
Before season 3 of ‘Downton Abbey’ is even set to premiere here in the United States, Stevens is appearing on Broadway in a revival of the play ‘The Heiress’, starring alongside much-in-demand actress Jessica Chastain and legendary actor David Strathairn. He also appeared in the campy box office film ‘Vamps’ that starred Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter (‘Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23′).
Earlier in the year series creator Julian Fellowes stated that, “a lot of stuff started up because he’s going to be on Broadway, but it’s a limited run. But everyone pounced on that”. So, it is anyone’s guess at this point whether the role of Matthew Crawley will be recast or what other option will be taking given this latest development.
‘Downton Abbey’ will be back for its third season starting on Sunday, January 6 at 9/8c on PBS.