Spoiler Alert: If you do not want the new season of Downton Abbey to be majorly spoiled for you, get off the Internet...stat! The following article contains lots of spoilers, so don't read it and then complain in the comments, 'cause you've been properly warned!
Downton Abbey just got a whole lot less handsome, people! After weeks of speculation, it has now been confirmed that Dan Stevens, who plays fan favorite Matthew Crawley on the PBS drama, will not be returning for season four. U.K. viewers were in for a Christmas shock when they turned into the show's holiday special only to see—major spoiler alert!—Matthew die.
In an interview with the U.K.'s Telegraph, Stevens opened up about his decision to exit the incredibly popular series...
"We were always optioned for three years…And when that came up it was a very difficult decision," Stevens explains of his choice to leave the show. "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," he said. "It is a very monopolizing job. 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."
As for his final episode, Stevens admits, "It was very emotional shooting the end of this series, because those guys are like family. We have been living together for three years and have been on the most amazing journey." Stevens adds, "I don't think any of us, with the possible exception of Maggie [Smith], have had this kind of explosion in our career paths, and may never again. It has been so bizarre, and only those who have been through it can understand it."
So what's next for the actor? "I genuinely don't know exactly what is around the corner," Stevens, who is currently starring on Broadway opposite Jessica Chastain in The Heiress, says, "but I hope it will be something a little bit different."
Downton Abbey returns to PBS on Jan. 6.