Downton Abbey Season 4 to Jump Ahead, Explore "Rebuilding of Mary"

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It's sad but true: Downton Abbey Season 3 is in the books... and Matthew Crawley is dead.

As previously reported, actor Dan Stevens had only been signed for three seasons and had made it clear early on that he planned to pursue other avenues once Season 3 was complete.

Therefore, creator Julian Fellowes has said he had no choice but to kill off the character, believing it would have been untrue to Matthew and Mary's romance if the two were left "estranged or parted."

Matthew with Mary

So does this mean Season 4 will kick off with Mary and company deep in mourning? Not necessarily.

Fellowes tells The New York Times that the new season will pick up "six months" after the tragic event that concluded Season 3.

Moreover, he teases that an overarching theme will be “the rebuilding of Mary."

"In a society that is changing," Fellowes says. “We would see women’s roles in the ’20s as being very much behind women today. But it was a big advance on what it had been 30 years before. And that’s all explored.”

Along those lines, it won't be long until Mary has a new suitor. He may very well be played by Tom Ellis.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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