‘Downton Abbey’ Season 4 Scoop: How Mary Will ‘Move On’ From Matthew

Thu, December 27, 2012 12:27pm EDT by 108 Comments
Downton Abbey Matthew Dies
Courtesy of ITV

Spoiler alert: Stop reading if you don’t want the latest ‘Downton Abbey’ twist spoiled. It’s a life-ruiner, folks.

Downton Abbey fans’ dreams for the future were shattered when Dan Stevens confirmed he wouldn’t be returning to the show for its fourth season, thus leaving Michelle Dockery‘s Mary without her other half. Dan’s final appearance on the show aired Dec. 25 in the UK, and broadcaster ITV released a super spoiler-y press release about his departure the following day.

Update: Read Our Recap Of The Season 3 Finale!

“After three successful series and two Christmas editions of Downton Abbey, Dan Stevens decided not to renew his contract beyond the initial three years he had been contracted,” the statement read. “We wish him every success for the future. Michelle Dockery will be returning to her role as Lady Mary in series four which begins production in February.”

“Over the last three years, audiences across the world have been captivated by the ups and downs of Mary and Matthew’s relationship, culminating in their wedding,” the network continued. “Fans have enjoyed what has become a solid and loving marriage. It is for this reason that the Producers decided Matthew and Mary could not simply be estranged or parted, resulting in his untimely and tragic death at the end of the Christmas episode.”

The statement also gave fans a glimpse of what’s to come when the show returns with new episodes in 2013:

“In the next series, alongside all the usual drama, comedy and romance involving the much loved cast of characters, viewers will see Mary adjusting to her life and attempting to move on without the man she loved.”

Matthew Crawley’s Tragic Fate:

Fans’ minds were blown when news first broke that Dan was considering leaving the show, mostly because no one could fathom how his character could logically be written out without causing Downton to jump the shark.

Well, we finally got our answer Dec. 25 during the final moments of Downton‘s Christmas special, A Journey To The Highlands, when — spoiler alert! — Matthew’s car collided with another vehicle, leaving him dead and bleeding in a ditch. It was pretty brutal.

Adding to the tragedy of it all, Mary had just given birth to their son.

Dan Stevens’ Official Statement About Leaving ‘Downton Abbey':

“We were always optioned for three years, and when that came up, it was a very difficult decision,” Dan admitted to the UK’s Telegraph. “But it felt like a good time to take stock, to take a moment. From a personal point of view, I wanted a chance to do other things.”

“It is a very monopolising job,” he continued. “So there is a strange sense of liberation at the same time as great sadness because I am very, very fond of the show and always will be.”

He also lamented the end of Mary and Matthew’s fan-favorite storyline: “After everything we have been through it will be sad not to see the relationship continue.”

Sad indeed.

Watch Matthew Crawley’s final scene on Downton Abbey below, then drop a comment with your thoughts on the show’s future:

ITV press release

The Telegraph

— Andy Swift

More Downton Abbey on HollywoodLife.com:

  1. ‘Downton Abbey’ Creator Reveals Prequel Plans For Robert & Cora
  2. ‘Downton Abbey’ Stars Get Glam In Vintage-Inspired ‘Vogue’ Germany Shoot
  3. ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 3 Trailers Reveal New Couples & New Tragedies

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ALEXANDRA

Posted at 3:28 PM on January 16, 2013  

OMG i wanted to cryyyyyyyyyy!!! it was so shocking… aaaah how could he do that, leaving, it was all about Matthew and Mary.. :(

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skippysmom

Posted at 8:44 AM on February 19, 2013  

Good bye to matthew. I thought he was a terrible actor or he had a terrible writer. He always looked goofy and brooding. The show needs a shot of energy.

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Robert Smith

Posted at 9:14 PM on January 13, 2013  

i heard he is going to broadway in new york….we will never hear from him again…he made one heck of a mistake.

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Nancy

Posted at 11:09 PM on January 12, 2013  

It’s just what’s to be expected-favorite characters written out permanently by death when the actors playing them want to move on. Too much to hope for a contract for a few recurring parts to keep viewers happy! Sybil and Matthew were my favorites too- so sad that the actors’ other pursuits completely cut out any further work on Downton. Seems like a bad move on both parts- the actors and the producers. The only way to keep Downton from turning into a complete soap is to keep the good and upright characters, not kill them all off. Now it’s up to Anna to save Downton’s dignity.

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Liesel

Posted at 10:21 PM on January 9, 2013  

Reading here I just found out that Sybil was also killed off and she was one of my favorite characters too. The worst news is that Mary and Tom find comfort together. I hate when they put a brother-in-law and sister-in-law together and Mary and Branson are so different. As for the criticism of Mary, I disagree. She is so smart and delivers a line almost as good as the dowager duchess. She is a gem imo and what is wrong with being white? Pale skin is healthier for a white person that tans that cause your skin to wrinkle and can give you cancer.

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Anonymous

Posted at 9:56 PM on January 9, 2013  

Truly sad…I watch for the love Matt and Mary! Now a beloved character departs, is this turning into American Soap Opera…seems like it

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Ces

Posted at 12:58 AM on January 9, 2013  

It’s definitely sad, but I will still watch the show because I’m interested to know what will happen to all the other characters as well and how they will deal with the loss. I’m a Mary-Mathew fan, but I’m also the fan of Downton as a whole. Despite it leaving a big hole (Mathew’s death), I’m still very much interested in how they will fill it. I think all the other characters are worth following too so I’m still excited for the next installment.

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Maria Antonieta Rodrigues de Ayala Monteiro

Posted at 4:45 AM on January 8, 2013  

I love the story and events presented, as well as the characters performance. Reality of life is shown as behaviour of human beings with their mistakes and consequences they have to carry. Edith, Thomas and Ruth represent three aspects of reality in this world. All the events were very well connected.

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Maria Antonieta Rodrigues de Ayala Monteiro

Posted at 4:33 AM on January 8, 2013  

The death of Matthew is a turning point in all the series events. It changed completely the aim and interest one has on seeing Downton Abbey. He and Mary were the key of the events, were a model, and everything goes on around them.

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gizmolebrat

Posted at 11:30 PM on January 7, 2013  

I loved Dan Stevens in this series……………but, the beauty of Downton is the ever changing story……….doing the unexpected, with Matthew’s and Sybil’s death. My suggestion, look to Matthew Macfayden. He is great at period drama, and who could forget him in “Pride and Prejudice”. He would be a great match for Lady Mary.

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manado

Posted at 11:22 AM on January 7, 2013  

nice posting. let me share this. thanks

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Molly

Posted at 10:17 AM on January 7, 2013  

In reading the comments, I am wondering how people know Mary became pregnant, etc. I saw no episode about that.

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rosemama1

Posted at 1:52 AM on January 13, 2013  

It was talked about in the episode 8. Mary was explaining to Matthew about her sfertility and small surgery and that the doctor said they should expect to be pregnant in the next 6 months. Then in the opening of the Christmas Special, she talked about her pregnancy and traveling. It would have been more enjoyable if they didn’t rush it and just shove it into one episode though.

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HalleysFifth

Posted at 5:54 PM on January 3, 2013  

Is Lady Mary supposed to be beautiful or hot-looking? Sorry, I don’t think so. None of the daughters are “all that.” In fact, the whole show is seriously short of female lookers.

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Molly

Posted at 9:39 AM on January 7, 2013  

American television has reduced all women to the level of S@#T… For once, there is a show where the women are ladies and a jerk complains. There are plenty of other cheap, disgusting shows for you to turn into… leave us this one to treasure….

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Susan

Posted at 11:53 AM on January 7, 2013  

Agreed. Mary is dreadful. And in this latest installment, she looks dangerously thin suggestive of an eating disorder. Maybe someone should tell her about Karen Carpenter. Mary presents as a beauty with deathly white skin hanging on a skeleton. Rather scary actually. Her face lacks character for the sensitiveness of the part to boot. It’s just all around bad casting. No wonder Dan Stevens would die to leave her.

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Dulce Araújo

Posted at 9:02 AM on January 2, 2013  

Péssima ideia , Dan , abandonar a série. Estragaram Tudo. Podem esquecer a época 4, Péssima escolha da guionista e do protagonista. Fecharam o encanto.

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Patrick

Posted at 9:07 AM on December 31, 2012  

I really am surprised that Dan Stevens has decided to leave after three seasons. It would make more sense if he was leaving after five or ten seasons, but not three. My coworker at DISH and I think it must be a very exhaustive show to leave after only three seasons. I can’t wait to catch season three on my DISH Hopper. I can record the whole season and watch when it’s convenient for me. The Hopper will stream content to four TVs simultaneously, so I can watch in peace while my kids watch cartoons in the other room.

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Susan

Posted at 12:01 PM on January 7, 2013  

Actually people who work on daily soap operas work much harder than the yearly work of the Downton Abbey cast. They make it seem as though they are producing Gone with the Wind every year. Frankly I’m tired of it. They really ought to learn how to film this quickly as a regular show and stop making it seem like some cutting edge endeavor that is barely achieved every year. I think it only show the immaturity of the producers etc. to trumpet their yearly essay while real talents write two books a year. With Dan Stevens leaving, so am I. Long overdue anyway – tired of them keeping audiences waiting 12 months at a time when it is perfectly in their capability to NOT do this. Good heavens, many people don’t even live long enuf to watch the next installment. They can go to the dogs now for all i care – making a mountain out of a mole hill with every season.

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A

Posted at 5:19 PM on December 29, 2012  

Here’s a tip for you, Andy Swift; Don’t put a major spoiler in the title. It renders your spoiler alert in the opening paragraph utterly useless. Most people do not like to have the whole experience ruined by a careless journalist.

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Andy Swift

Posted at 2:35 PM on January 4, 2013  

How she’ll “move on” isn’t really a spoiler. Dan Stevens confirmed he was leaving the show, so it’s safe to assume she’d have to move on.

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Molly

Posted at 10:16 AM on January 7, 2013  

Not everyone knows Dan Stevens is leaving. And A is correct… Why put a possible spoiler in the title?

 
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ruth naismith

Posted at 11:57 AM on December 29, 2012  

I just hope it isn’t a usual pitch whereby they start filming season 4 when the baby is due to start Eton, missing all the life in between! It was bad enough when Mary was pregnant at the beginning of the christmas episode

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L.Sweat

Posted at 8:55 AM on December 29, 2012  

Blah. I’m not watching anymore. I couldn’t disagree more about how they wrote him off… the producers could’ve and SHOULD’VE written him off in another way. Disappointing. Downton has nosedived off the cliff of unhappy endings.

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Joanna

Posted at 9:45 AM on December 29, 2012  

You’re right! Killing two major key stars just when they find happiness has become a pattern for this show with the same plot theme. Similar circumstances of losing a parent right after childbirth. Fellowes must be doing another Fall of the House of Usher in his own British norm. I am certain a lot of viewers will drop this show from their TV sets to avoid aftermath of nightmares. Fellowes must be running out of good will towards his characters. What a pity! I really thought Downton would bring rays of sunshine instead of stormy gloom. But the creator is stretching his luck for commercial reasons. Not surprised if the ratings go down down down. .

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lili2

Posted at 9:58 PM on December 29, 2012  

Downton has become a house of orphans. Fellowes should have a plane crash on the house, kill everybody and end the series instead of dragging the story out. Mary and the babies can emigrate to America , they have suffered enough . Unlike Fellowes , I do not like a story of babies losing parents right after they’re born without them having a memory at all of their parents. In season 4 he might introduce a character form India or Africa for diversity or some equal opportunity crap and end it hastily to finish production deadline. He might kill his characters this time with AIDS, SARS or Swine flu. No more Robert or Cora prequel or an American Gilded Age.

 
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Joanna

Posted at 4:26 AM on December 29, 2012  

Julian Fellowes has just ruined all his hard work. Time to close the curtain on Downton. Nobody could take the place of Dan Stevens. Fellowes should just put his pen down and forget Season 4. Time to retire, Julian!

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lili2

Posted at 10:04 PM on December 29, 2012  

It’s not really about Dan,IMO. It’s the Matthew character and how badly he was written off when he and Mary were supposed to be the Downton future. Robert and Cora were not even the story anymore after season1.

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GaryDTW

Posted at 11:01 PM on December 28, 2012  

Haven’t viewed it yet…sure wish this could be a dream sequence…a true nightmare! Sorry to the other cast of characters; however, the show will never be the same. Why, oh why?

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URMS

Posted at 4:18 PM on December 28, 2012  

I AM SO DISAPPOINTED ; SO VERY DISAPPOINTED. I AM NOT SURE IF I CAN WATCH THIS AGAIN. WHY DID HE HAVE TO DIE???????????????

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Maria

Posted at 2:28 PM on December 28, 2012  

bad choise…..i think is one big lost….:(

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Lady Mary

Posted at 6:10 AM on December 28, 2012  

They didn’t have to kill him, Downton has been completely ravaged by predictability, I am truly addicted, but honestly, i’ll find it difficult to watch after this.
Someone needs to remind Julian Fellowes it’s not a soap. Can’t we just leave happy couples be? Who’s next? Anna? It’s turning into a Downton hit list.
It was a mistake to kill of Sybil & Matthew, honestly, one or the other, not both of the show’s favourite characters.
You’ve ruined my life.
yours: Mary Crawley.

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Mari

Posted at 10:46 PM on December 27, 2012  

Dan stevens.. you kill probably the most beautiful couple on TV… congrats!

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A

Posted at 3:06 PM on December 27, 2012  

WHY DAN STEVENS???WHY????WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DO THIS TO US?????????? Ugh Matthew Crawley was one of my favourite characters as was Sybil and now they both have died. It’s hard to imagine Downton Abbey having the same magic without the love of Matthew and Mary filling the screen. It was so soon too. Maybe if he had only stayed on for one more season. Plus, both Matthew and Sybil died right after they had a baby. It just seemed like both deaths were too similar. It would have been better if Matthew had seen his son grow up a little bit. It just seems too similar to Sybil’s death.

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Downton Grabbey (@RachelBSexRiot)

Posted at 12:35 PM on December 27, 2012  

What about Mrs. Crawley and Dr. Clarkson though? That’s what I wanna know….

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michaeld1993

Posted at 4:23 AM on January 1, 2013  

I have seen season 3 and its a great season even with two main characters dyeing yes it is sad but Jessica brown findlay wanted to do other things and Dan Stevens is also. It was not julian fellows fault that they wanted to pursue other things yes he killed them both off in a manner that was very bad but that does not mean the show is no longer good. I support the show still and will gladly watch when the 4th series comes out. All the luck to both Jessica and Dan in their Pursuits of other work after Downton

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TurkishHorse

Posted at 9:13 AM on January 7, 2013  

I will still watch it. At the rate things are happening, maybe its MARY CRAWLEY and TOM BRANSON who are the OTP and soulmates on the show, finding comfort in each other’s arms after a very similar sad experience and having to cope and live in the same roof.

 
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Karyn

Posted at 6:37 PM on January 13, 2013  

Sorry – I misspoke earlier. It’s not Patrick – it’s Peter. He was there such a short time I forgot his name!

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