Downton Abbey fans across the United States are facing withdrawal today as they experience their first Sunday without the mega-hit series, but director Julian Fellowes has put forth some clues as to what they might look forward to next seaon, according to the London Telegraph and other news sources.
Many fans were left depressed and shocked and vowed to abandon the show when they learned in the Season Three finale that romantic lead Matthew Crawley played by actor Dan Stevens was apparently killed in an automobile accident. Fans were allowed to be happy for a few brief moments last Sunday evening when Matthew and wife Mary celebrated the birth of their son and heir to Downton Abbey.
Unfortunately, Matthew evidently becomes distracted on his drive home as he leaves the hospital and is involved in an accident with an oncoming truck on a narrow English road which winds through the countryside. The word "apparently" killed is operative here because the scene fades out with Matthew lying on the ground after the accident. Fans aren't told in the final episode if he is actually dead or if he survives.
However, Director Julian Fellowes has informed fans via the London Telegraph and other news sources that Matthew is indeed dead and that wife Mary will be transformed from wife to widow when the fourth season commences.
Fellowes and wildlly popular actor Stevens have explained to their fans in Britain and the U.S. that the true cause of death of the show's leading man was the actor's decision to appear in a Broadway play "The Heiress" with actress Jessica Chastain and possibly two movies. Stevens is working on a movie about wikileaks founder Julian Assange and is reportedly in line for a role in a movie co-starring with Liam Neeson after that.
Many angry fans upon hearing the news on both sides of the Atlantic have expressed their displeasure via e-mails which ask "why couldn't Matthew survive the accident and be on a business trip" or "why can't Matthew simply divorce Lady Mary?" Or another favorite fan scenario has been, "Why can't some other actor be recruited to play the role of Mathew?"
However, Lord Fellowes, as he is referred to by the Brits, is the sole decisionmaker on whether Matthew lives or dies. Sorry, fans. And Fellowes' response is well, not good for Mathew surviving the car wreck.
The director and writer of the series told the London Telegraph that "nothing is harder to dramatise (British spelling) than happiness."
He says Matthew will not survive the accident because portraying a contented marriage between Lady Mary Crawly, played by Michelle Dockery, would have been boring to the shows millions of fans around the globe.
Fellowes has no hard feelings toward Stevens decision not to re-up for a fourth season, saying he was "very sorry" that the actor was exiting the historical drama aired by PBS in the U.S., according to an interview published in the London Telegraph.
Downton Abbey fans can take some solace in the fact the series which is produced originally as part of the British Masterpiece program, won the best drama series ensemble at the 19th Screen Actors Guild Award in Los Angeles recently.
Fellowes' British creation defeated Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, Homeland and Breaking Bad to take home the honors.
The show is so popular that librarian Melinda Creech at the Armstrong Browning Library at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, actually found a connection between poet Robert Browning and Highclere Castle, the home of Downton Abbey. She found several letters in the largest Robert Browning library collection in the world which showed Browning visited several times with the Lord Carnarvon family in Highclere Castle.
Fellowes has revealed next season (Season Four) will take place during the 1920s and will include several new faces. He also confirmed American actress Shirley McLaine will probably return.
As for this Sunday evening, fans of Downton Abbey suffering withdrawals from not being able to watch their favorite show, may want to watch the Oscar awards ceremony from LA. Or they could e-mail Lord Fellowes in England and ask that he re-consider his decision to kill poor Mathew Crawley.
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