Maggie Smith to Exit Downton Abbey?

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Might we now know who is scheduled to die on Downton Abbey?

Earlier this month, producer Rebecca Eaton said someone "pretty key" in the cast won't survive season three, and now reports out of Great Britain state that Maggie Smith has asked off the show.

As Dowager Countess

"Maggie has asked [writer Julian Fellowes) to write her character out," a Downton Abbey source tells The Daily Mail. "She is filming until August and then wants to leave, going out on a high. She thinks that three series is enough and she wants to get back to the stage and big screen."

Before she departs, of course, Smith's Dowager Countess will butt heads with Shirley MacLaine as the mother of Lady Grantham.

Meanwhile, Dan Stevens, who portrays Matthew Crawley, has yet to renew his contract, prompting speculation as to whether he'll return to Downton Abbey for season four.

UPDATE: A rep for Carnival Films has responded to the article and says it's “complete nonsense,” adding, “We never comment on future story lines but it’s not true that she’s leaving.”

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Maggie is a wonderful actress but if her health is a problem
she must do what is good for her. We will miss her as she
has such a wonderful sense of humour. As for Dan Stevens he
should think more about English Theatre and Film. America
is not all what it Appears.

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It would and will be sad to see Maggie Smith leave this truly spectacular show, but she has been in ill health for quite some time now and this may be the reason she is being written out of the show. Maggie Smith is one of the greatest actresses around and has been for many, many years. She is a trooper of the first magnitude and even when ill she believes that the show must go on. Wish her the best in whatever she decides to do.

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Maggie Smith leaving???????? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

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Dan Stevens needs to get over himself. I don't know what his new agents are telling him but, if he thinks he's gonna thrive in Hollywood he needs to think again. He may be handsome enough for a period mini-series in Britain, but Hollywood wants ONE thing in Leading men: Drop-Dead gorgeous looks! Hollywood he is NOT! The usual appeal of the British accent falls on deaf ears when the looks aren't there. For proof, see the failed stateside movie career attempts of Jason Statham, Russell Brand, Daniel Craig, and others. Stevens could end up without Hollywood AND Downton if he doesn't get real. That agency will drop him like a hot potato the moment his first Hollywood project flounders.

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The show would be significantly less amusing if she were to leave.