'Downton Abbey': Who's in and who's out for Season 4
Season 3 of “Downton Abbey” just ended a few weeks ago (and we’re still in mourning, by the way; RIP, Matthew), but lots of casting changes are already underway for the hit British drama’s much-anticipated fourth season. In fact, the front door of Lord Grantham’s estate might as well be revolving, with all the “Downton” cast members coming and going these days.
With no new episodes arriving here for another year or so (filming on Season 4 just began in the U.K.), we have plenty of time to speculate wildly about what all of these changes mean. So here’s a quick rundown of which “Downton” stars won’t be back next season… and which fresh faces will take their place.
Dan Stevens (Matthew)
Millions of viewers let out a collective gasp when Mary’s loving husband Matthew Crawley was killed at the very end of last month’s Season 3 finale. (The ones who didn’t read online spoilers, anyway.) Stevens has swiftly moved on, though, making his Broadway debut opposite Jessica Chastain in “The Heiress” and co-starring with “Sherlock’s” Benedict Cumberbatch in the upcoming WikiLeaks film, “The Fifth Estate.”
Jessica Brown Findlay (Sybil)
Matthew wasn’t the only Crawley to head up to that big hunting lodge in the sky: Youngest daughter Sybil tragically died during childbirth in a wrenching episode. Like Stevens, Brown Findlay opted not to renew her three-season “Downton” contract, and she’s striking while the iron’s hot with a pair of big film roles. She’ll co-star with Amy Adams and Jennifer Hudson in the family drama “Lullaby” and play Colin Farrell’s love interest in the romantic fantasy “Winter’s Tale.”
Siobhan Finneran (Miss O’Brien)
We can’t exactly say we’ll miss spending time with Miss O’Brien, the perpetually scowling maid played by Finneran. But it’s still sad to see another key cast member exit the show, no matter how evil they are. “Downton” producers say it was Finneran’s choice to leave, and though O’Brien wasn’t killed off, the series did pave the way for her exit, with her cozying up to Rose’s awful mother and Mr. Bates holding “her ladyship’s soap” over her head.