SPOILER ALERT - We'll be discussing the Downton Abbey Season Three Christmas Special, which aired in England last night, but has yet to begin airing in America, so if you want to stay spoiler free, click here!
Rumors of a major cast member exiting Downton Abbey during its third season have been swirling for months; although much of the early speculation was aimed at Dame Maggie Smith. Last night, the world learned that The Grimm Reaper was in fact coming to Downton and which fan favorite it was taking too soon.
Sadly, Matthew Crawley (played by Dan Stevens) died behind the wheel of his car in the closing moments of last night's Downton Abbey Christmas Special, capping off a particularly tumultuous season for the honorable chap.
Speaking with The Telegraph's Sarah Crompton, Stevens called the entire situation "very odd," but it turns out Stevens was the one who asked Downton creator Julian Fellowes to kill off this much-beloved character.
"We were always optioned for three years," he explains. "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."
Luckily Americans still have 8 episodes to spend with Mr. Crawley, and Mr. Stevens, as Downton Abbey kicks off its third season on PBS Masterpiece on January 6. And if you want to watch the first 10 minutes from the season premiere, you're in luck because PBS just released it for your viewing enjoyment! Click here to check it out!