Dan Stevens: Out of Downton Abbey Season 4?

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Downton Abbey Season 4 is a go, according to ITV. It will begin production in February and be comprised of eight episodes, including the show's annual Christmas special.

But before fans of this British smash celebrate too much, consider the following report: Dan Stevens will NOT return to the series next year in the key role of Matthew.

Mary and Matthew

While the network is yet to confirm this news, a source tells The Daily Mail that Stevens will "probably do the first episode of the fourth series, but that will be it."

The reasons behind Stevens' departure are unclear at the moment, but it's safe to presume this is the actor's decision and that the series would not want to lose one half of its main couple.

Matthew and Mary, of course, are scheduled to be married on Downton Abbey Season 3, which kicks off in the U.S. on January 6.

The season has already aired in Great Britain, however, so American viewers should not expect Matthew to be written out over the course of these next few episodes.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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What the heck is going on with the casting situation on this show????Like WTF?Does'nt Dan Stevens realize that he one part of the story,I mean come on man at least do it for the fans.

Tfv168

I'm a US viewer who couldn't wait until Jan 6th, so I found the episodes online. I think it's the dumbest decision for Dan Stevens to kill the goose laying his golden egg. Most actors only dream about being in something as successful as Downton, and he's willing to walk away at its' peak??? That doesn't speak too highly of him IMHO, and I'd be hesitant to hire him.

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On season 3 Sybil will die beacause of the baby. Espiode 5 of 8 it will happen. I wanted to tell becasue than you can be ready for whats happening.

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too bad if Dan Stevens leaves the TV drama, both for Dan himself and the show

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Finished here in the Uk. Really enjoyed it.Wont give anything away to our Us friends.Will have the christmas special to look forward to.Like dan stevens in the show.Great series