God dammit, you guys. Could we not have left 2012 on a good note? This year has been a bit of a sad mess (elections, hurricanes Cloud Atlas) and it's only getting messier: Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley (better known as Handsome Wheelchair Husky Eyes) on Downton Abbey, has officially announced that he will not be returning to the show's fourth season. Booooooooo.
Having now shot the Downton season 3 Christmas special (which has yet to, along with the rest of the third season, air in the U.S.), Stevens confirmed his departure with the Telegraph, saying, "It is very strange to make it official especially since we are talking about it in the future perfect. I am not sure exactly what tense it is, but it is something very weird."
Rumors of Stevens' plans to leave the series have been floating around for months and, as it turns out, he had already decided to leave before they even began shooting the third series. He says:
"We were always optioned for three years 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...It is a very monopolizing job so there is a strange sense of liberation at the same time as great sadness because I am very, very fond of the show and always will be. 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."
Ah, Matthew, so many hearts lay broken in your wake. First Lavina's, then (assumably) Mary's and now ours.