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Julian Fellowes Says DOWNTON ABBEY S4 Picks Up 6 Months Later

DOWNTON ABBEY creator and forthcoming Romeo & Juliet film screenwriter Julian Fellowes has revealed much in a new interview with the New York Times - perhaps most importantly that the many of the events of "A Journey To Highclere", the Season 3 finale episode that aired stateside last night, were dictated by the neccessities of the departing cast.

Dan Stevens, recently on Broadway in THE HEIRESS co-starring Jessica Chastain, left the show at the end of the third season without allowing Fellowes and company the opportunity to craft a more acceptable exit for the beloved, central character on the series, Matthew Crawley, who acted as a lynchpin for much of the drama and romance.

SPOILER: Instead of a lovely send-off of some sort, Fellowes killed him off at the tail-end of the episode with a sudden bloody auto wreck coming quite out of the blue.

Fellowes says of the unpleasant writing challenge: "With Dan, I had hoped that we would have one episode of this fourth season that I'm writing now, so we could have ended the Christmas episode on a happy note - the baby, everything lovely. And then kill him in the first episode of the next series. But he didn't want to do that. I didn't want his death to dominate the Christmas special, so that's why we killed him at the very, very end."

Fellowes has made peace with the decision, ultimately, as he reveals the new season, Season Four - which will begin airing this Summer in the UK on ITV - will pick up several months later, on a totally fresh page.

Fellowes concludes, "In a way I think it works quite well because we begin Series 4 six months later. We don't have to do funerals and all that stuff. That's all in the past by then."

For the entire New York Times article click here.

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