Sorry, fans of Dan Stevens; despite so many of us holding out hope that the actor could change his mind at the last-second, it is starting to become more and more clear that he is not going to be a part of “Downton Abbey” season 4 … at least as a full-time actor. (Warning: the following contains spoilers for American readers. Keep going at your own risk.)
This new report comes in via TVLine, which does not really give a reason for this decision on Stevens’ behalf, save for saying that the actor could theoretically change his mind at some point between now and when the series will begin shooting new episodes in February. The actor has been spending time on Broadway in “The Heiress” this fall alongside “The Help” star Jessica Chastain, and it is believed that the actor’s biggest reason for wanting to scale back his role as Matthew is merely so that he can pursue more opportunities in America.
What is also forgotten in the midst of all of this chatter is merely that Stevens does so much more than just act. He is also a writer and editor, and trying to function a full-time job as an actor on a show (even one as high-quality as “Downton Abbey” is) may be a little much for him while also trying to manage a junket, judge novels, and pursue his literary passions.
The one thing we are trying to stress here simple: this does not appear to be about money. Usually when you hear this sort of chatter about someone possibly leaving a show, there are questions about whether or not it is due to someone hoping to secure a massive raise. In this case, it may just be that he wants to try some other pursuits in life, and is willing to take the risks that come along with it.
Our guess at the moment is a rather simple one: if Stevens’ character is not written out during the Chirstmas special (which you can watch the trailer for here), we will probably see Matthew make an appearance or two during season 4 so that his story is tied up. He seems like a classy guy who has nothing but respect for the series, so we can’t see him bailing on the show without making sure fans are satisfied first.
If you want to read our exclusive interview with Jessica Fellowes about her new book The Chronicles of Downton Abbey, you can do so here.