‘Downton Abbey’ season 4 spoilers: Shirley MacLaine to battle Maggie Smith again

Downton AbbeyFor “Downton Abbey” season 3, much of the talk leading up to the show was all about the arrival of Shirley MacLaine in the role of Martha, and how she was poised to be a major rival to Maggie Smith’s character of Violet. However, we actually found this to be one of the bigger letdowns of 2012; while the legendary actress did a fantastic job in the role, we were expecting her to have so much more of a presence after she had been hyped up for such an extensive period of time.

Now, our expectations are set a little bit different for MacLaine’s return. ITV confirmed this weekend that Martha will indeed be a part of season 4, though it is unclear as to whether or not she will appear in more than just an episode.

MacLaine was not the only guest star revealed in Saturday morning’s announcement, either; in addition to confirming some of the other castings that we reported on yesterday (including a new love interest for Michelle Dockery’s Mary), the show’s British network announced that Nigel Harman will be playing the role of a valet named Green, and Joanne David will be taking on the aristocratic role as the Duchess of Yeovil. Harman will be tasked specifically with the challenge of being one of the newest members of the downstairs crew after the departure of Mrs. O’Brien, one known to be one of the series’ most-notable pot-stirrers.

What do you think about some of these castings, and do you hope that MacLaine has more of an opportunity to actually show off some of her talents this time around? If you watch to check out the first official photo of the new season (which puts Dockery’s character front and center), you can do so over at the link here.

Photo: ITV

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