(Warning: spoilers ahead!) The good news about “Downton Abbey” just keeps coming in, and this time, we can take some solace in the fact that Dan Stevens and Jessica Brown Findlay are the only major cast members saying goodbye to the show after three years.
Speaking to TVLine at the 2013 Golden Globes on Sunday, executive producer Gareth Neame confirmed that Maggie Smith will indeed be back as the Dowager Countess Violet in season 4 of the show. This is a role that has already won the actress a tremendous amount of acclaim, including both an Emmy and a Golden Globe within the last year without really having to take part in a significant amount of the show’s story.
Why wouldn’t Smith want to take part in this series? The answer to that question is very much unclear, but her future was in doubt for much of the past year. She had only contracted herself for the first three seasons of the show, and as recently as a few months ago there was still no word as to whether or not she wanted to make herself available for anything. The advantages to Smith taking part in the show were obvious, as this was a role that allowed her to stay home in Great Britain while also getting quite possibly the biggest spotlight of her decorated career. However, there were questions about whether or not she wanted to leave herself open to do other projects, as the 78-year old actress is still incredibly active with other projects and roles, including work in theater and TV.
It is likely, however, that Smith’s deal is only for the fourth season, which means that we could see this entire process happen again next year if this is not the end for “Downton Abbey.” Given that British series do tend to end before they grow stale, we would be stunned if the show lasts beyond a fifth season.
What more about when “Downton Abbey” season 4 could air in America? Be sure to check out the story over here.