Why did Dan Stevens leave Downton Abbey as Matthew Crawley?

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Downton Abbey was a major hit for ITV with a global fanbase who were devastated to see it end in 2015. But two years prior, the most shocking exit of the series took place with Matthew Crawley (played by Dan Stevens) killed off. To this day, viewers are still not over him going and leaving Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) without her beloved husband.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Downton Abbey.

Why did Dan Stevens leave Downton Abbey as Matthew Crawley?

After leaving Downton Abbey, actor Dan Stevens ventured off to America to begin his movie career.

He has subsequently been in films such as the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, The Guest, Criminal Activities, Colossal and Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, just to name a few.

It was Downton Abbey though which catapulted his career as the sweet Michael Crawley who was besotted with Lady Mary.

However, it was actor Stevens’ decision to leave the drama for good in order to move forward in his career.

Why did Dan Stevens leave Downton Abbey as Matthew Crawley?

Stevens said last year that he was afraid of being “typecast” to newspaper The Australian.

He explained that he didn’t want to stay in Downton Abbey too long as he was concerned he wouldn’t be able to get a “variety” of parts following the series.

“I try not to be resistant to too many things,” he added.

“I think it’s more about when interesting roles come along, really.”

By the end of season three, Matthew and Mary were happily married with a child on the way.

In his final scenes, Matthew was driving home after meeting his newborn son at the hospital.

Sadly, in a shocking moment that fans weren’t expecting, he was involved in a car crash and died.

This wasn’t the ending that Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes wanted for the couple.

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Fellowes told Express.co.uk in 2013: “Dan would not stay — he was determined to go.

“I tried to persuade him to come back just for one episode of the next series so we could give Matthew and Mary a happy ending, but he wanted to go off to America.”

In the final series, Mary did get her happy ending though with Lady Shackleton’s (Harriet Mary Walter) nephew Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode).

Period drama fans may best recognise him for starring as Anthony Armstrong-Jones in The Crown on Netflix.

Nevertheless, Stevens remains thankful to the drama for helping his acting career take off.

“I’m incredibly grateful for everything that that role and that show gave me,” he told Digital Spy.

Downton Abbey is available to watch on Britbox.

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