“Downton Abbey” fans rejoice! The stern, judgemental and still incredibly loveable Dowager Countess will be returning to Downton for another season! After a tumultuous summer where there was a lot of guessing going on about whether Maggie Smith would reprise her role, especially considering some recent health concerns she has been having, executive producer Gareth Neame confirmed on Sunday that she would indeed be returning.
During the summer, “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes admitted that even he was not sure whether Smith would be back. “I can’t tell you, ‘Oh, yes, she’s definitely contracted [for Season 4] — because she isn’t,” he said. “It’s entirely up to her when she stays and when she goes.” Unlike the other actors on the show, Smith is not under a contract and is free to come and go as she pleases. “With Maggie, you never know,” Fellowes said. “Other actors sign on for the next series and they sign for this and they sign for that, but she doesn’t. She stays her own person. But as far as I’m concerned, I hope she stays with the show until Downton falls down.”
Warning: If you haven’t watched Season 3 yet, tread lightly from here on in.
Smith’s decision to stick with the show for another season means that “Downton” will retain almost all of its cast members with the exclusion of those who were killed off in Season 3 (Jessica Brown Findlay and Dan Stevens). After the heartbreaking loss of both these beloved characters in Season 3 (why oh why did they have to take them BOTH away?!) I am just glad that the sassy Dowager Countess will be around in Season 4 to cheer me up a bit – she always gives such good advice and support at Downton.