Just a little while ago, there was a rumor circling the Internet suggesting Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens would be making his exit from the popular PBS series. Well, I hate to break it to you, but it would appear those rumors, as much I was hoping for the opposite, turned out to be completely true. Dan Stevens is leaving the abbey and will not be a series regular when Season 4 begins filming next year. But the original rumor suggested he would be returning for at least the Season 4 premiere, so we likely haven’t seen the last of Stevens just yet. And just because he’s departing doesn’t mean his character, Matthew Crawley, will be done with the series as well.
As reported by TVLine, Stevens was among a large portion of the cast that chose not to re-up for Seasons 4 and 5 back in March, but I don’t think anyone was ready to seriously predict Stevens would be leaving. At the time it seemed like it was because of Steven’s commitments to Broadway, at least that’s what Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes said in regards to the matter. Now we’re in this rather dismal place where Stevens has flown the coup and we have to ask ourselves, “What will happen to Matthew Crawley?”
There are always several ways to handle to the departure of the cast member. Often the simplest form of fixing this issue is to write the character out, preferably in such a way so that they can come back in the future should the actor decide to return. But the death of a character can be helpful if you want to avoid any troubles down the road. A less used method is recasting. A different actor could take over where Stevens leaves off. It’ll be jarring at first, but if the right actor is found it won’t be such a blow. But don’t count on that option. Fellowes has said he can’t see a recast as something that would happen.