Now that audiences have had sufficient time to process the untimely and shocking death of Matthew Crawley on Sunday night’s season three finale of “Downton Abbey,” fans must be wondering what is in store for the fourth season, which will air in the United States in January 2014 and is currently in production in the U.K. Below is a quick recap of all the latest “Downton Abbey” news.
Show creator Julian Fellowes made it clear to the New York Times that the reason for Matthew’s death was due to Dan Stevens not wanting to continue working on the series. If Matthew’s death scene seemed to come out of left field, it was because Fellowes didn’t want the entire episode to focus on Matthew’s demise, and he had originally hoped Stevens would return for the first episode of season four. Alas, that didn’t happen, resulting in a death scene that was rushed, making it all the more devastating to audiences who had just been celebrating the birth of baby-boy Crawley.
When the show returns in 2014, six months will have passed since Matthew’s death, so the funeral will have taken place off-screen. Show producers are currently looking for Lady Mary’s new boyfriend, and as expected, the criteria for the new suitor are high. Although no one has been cast in the role yet, the current rumor is that Welsh actor Tom Ellis will be playing Mary’s new love interest.
And in what may be another devastating departure to the series, Julian Fellowes has said that if “Gilded Age” -- the series he’s working on for NBC -- is picked up the network, he may depart “Downton Abbey.” Although nothing is certain, it would be difficult to work on both series at the same time. Fellowes has almost solely written the entire series, so even if he stayed on at “Downton” in a supervisory role, it would mean a big change for the series.