Julian Fellowes Hints That Downton Abbey Might End After Season Five

Just ahead of the fourth season of Downton Abbey, creator Julian Fellowes has dropped a small (and probably not unexpected) surprise on the show's fans: the next Downton series could be its last.

In an interview earlier this week with the Wall Street Journal, Fellowes hinted that the show may be winding up after the fifth season because nothing gold can stay. Fellowes will be writing a new American drama called The Gilded Age, but he won't start working on the show until Downton is finished.

From the WSJ:

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I haven't written it yet, but it's about the old aristocracy, the Winthrops and the Stuyvesants and the new money of oil and gas and shipping in the 1870s. It will all be fiction – it won't be real people – but when those families descended on New York, they took over...

I don't know yet if there is a season six [of Downton Abbey], but it's not going to go on for ever. It won't be Perry Mason.

Depending on your capacity for optimism, Fellowes is either preparing fans for an impending finale, or offering hope that the series could indeed have a sixth season in its future. It would be fun, though, if Downton actually did develop Perry Mason stamina and just keep going through the present age all the way into the future until it stopped being a period piece and turned into a science fiction series called Firefly that everyone loved, causing it to stay on the air forever.