‘Downton Abbey’ EP Defends Season Finale Death: Why He ‘Had To Die’

Plus, what's to come of the victim's spouse in season 4? (Warning: spoilers ahead!) "Why?!" That was the word on every Downton Abbey fan's mind — well, the U.S. fans anyway — when one of the show's main characters was killed in a car accident on the Feb. 17 season finale. And "why" is the question executive producer Gareth Neame answers in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly. As it turns out, the explanation is two-fold.

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Downton Abbey Matthew Death

First and foremost, Dan Stevens did not re-up his contract for the show’s fourth season. Gareth says the creative team was given enough notice to write Matthew out of the show, but due to the epic nature of his relationship with Mary (Michelle Dockery), there was only one way for him to go.

“We weren’t really faced with an alternative storyline, because I think audiences would not have accepted Mary and Matthew becoming estranged,” Gareth explains. “It was too big a journey that the audience had been on with this relationship. The idea that he would go off on the journey and she wouldn’t go with him, or the idea that he would leave her or she would leave him, I think that would have been so disappointing and unbelievable to an audience. The only course open to us was that the character had to die.”

Needless to say, recasting was also not an option.

Season 4 Spoiler: What’s Next For Mary?

Now that Mary is a single woman again — this time with a baby and a late husband — everyone wants to know what will become of her. Gareth promises that “the destiny of Mary and her child is a big spine of the new season,” but plays coy when discussing Mary’s romantic future.

“Inevitably that means she’s got to, at some point, [find a] new man,” Gareth explains. “She’s an eligible young widow. So we shall see.”

HollywoodLifers, have you come to tearms with Matthew’s death? And would you like to see Mary move on with someone new? Drop a comment with all of your feelings!

Entertainment Weekly

— Andy Swift

More on Matthew’s Downton Abbey death:

  1. ‘Downton Abbey’ Season Finale Recap: Death Takes Another Crawley
  2. ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 4 Scoop: How Mary Will ‘Move On’ From Matthew

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