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Downton Abbey’s fourth season will be without Dan Stevens. The actor, who is currently on Broadway in the new production of The Heiress, confirmed in an interview that he is leaving the international TV hit. A rep for the show has also confirmed the news.
Stevens spoke with The Telegraph last month, before the Christmas episode aired, and confirmed that he will not be back. The episode confirmed that, since his character, Matthew Crawley, died behind the wheel of his car.
“It is very strange to make it official especially since we are talking about it in the future perfect,” he told the Telegraph. “I am not sure exactly what tense it is, but it is something very weird.”
Stevens said that he actually decided that he will not be back when production on season three started back in February. “We were always optioned for three years,” he said. “And when that came up it was a very difficult decision. 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.”
One of those “other things” is starring on Broadway in The Heiress opposite Jessica Chastain, which he will continue until February 2013.
Stevens added that money had nothing to do with the decision. It is just a desire to do something new. “It is a desire for freedom really,” he explained. “I don’t see money or a particular status as an actor as a goal but I want to do the best work I can in as interesting a range of roles as I can. And I think a moment like this is quite unique and presents those opportunities more than ever before.”
A Downton rep confirmed to Deadline that Stevens will not be back for season four, which starts shooting in the UK this winter. Season three doesn’t start in the US on PBS until Jan. 6.
Stevens has also been working on an indie film titled Summer in February and has been rumored to be starring in Deamworks’ WikiLeaks movie.