Downton Abbey, Michelle Dockery

Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE

Fans who are just getting over Matthew's (Dan Stevens) death on Downton Abbey better buck up, because come season four, you will definitely feel the aftershocks.

The cast of Downton Abbey and executive producer Gareth Neame hit the TCA stage to promote the new season, and the issue of how Matthew's death will cause ripples in the new season was a hot topic.

"The death of Matthew really affects the whole family," Laura Carmichael said, while Michelle Dockery admitted that when she first heard about Stevens' departure, she was worried.

"My first reaction was 'Oh crap, where can the story go now?" she revealed. "But it opens up a new chapter. Initially I was concerned, but now I'm not."

The most heartbreaking sound bite came from Dockery, too, and it was regarding the son of Mary and Matthew.

"You don't see much interaction between the baby and Mary. She looks at him and sees Matthew," Dockery said. Heart, meet knife. And twist.

But a bouce back might be coming for our dear Mary, because Dockery spilled that she will have "more than one love interest" this season.

Don't want another Dan Stevens situation? Don't worry, Dockery assured everyone that as far as they know, "we're all doing series five next year."

"I'm now eying the fifth season and what those stories potentially would be," said Neame. "I think the show has a lot further to go. We want to make it and we want to make the show people around the world love. When we feel it's had its time, hopefully we'll know that before you guys do."

Ready for more tidbits about Downton Abbey? Of course you are:

Jim Carter, Downton Abbey


Time Frame Check: Season four takes place starting in Feb. 1922 and into Spring/Summer 1923. But Neame's timeline stops short of a big historical event. "I don't think we'll go on to the Second World War," he said.

Thomas' Storyline: Matthew's death isn't the only thing that'll stir things up on Downton Abbey. "It's going to be a complex world with Thomas (Rob James-Collier) going forward," Neame previews, adding that Sarah's exit will cause a "shakeup" with his story. "But he's always going to have that core thing of wanting to be in control, wanting to find out what's going on, wanting to dictate things, that rivalry with Carson (Jim Carter). He remains a very compelling character."

Sex in the Abbey? Laura Carmichael called Edith the "Carrie Bradshaw of the '20s" because of her new role on the paper. "Edith goes to London a lot and we see a lot of London streets. It will feel like a different era," Carmichael said.

Downton Diddy: Joanna Froggatt said Diddy's Funny or Die video spoof was "quite popular" on the set.

The fourth season of Downton Abbey is set to premiere (in the States) on Jan. 5, 2014.

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