Let’s just say it: Julian Fellowes is mad at Dan Stevens. The creator of Downton Abbey has done a supremely good job at hiding his true feelings (must be the English in him), but we can tell, Jules is pissed. Talk one conversation he had with reporters about how happy he is Cousin Matthew bit the dust at the end of Season 3.
“I’m quite glad of it now because being away from it for six months, we don’t have to do funerals and all that. [Matthew’s wife Lady Mary Crawley] has had six months to go through the first mourning period.”
Read: I don’t need you, Dan Stevens! Go make your big American movies! I’ll be just fine without you!
But really, Jules has reason to be angry at our favorite English muffin. Not only did his leading man decide to up and leave, but he will forever be known as The Man Who Ruined Christmas because when the news broke that Cousin Matthew was D-E-A-D, who got blamed? Not golden boy Dan Stevens. Nope. Stodgy old Julian got the shaft on that one.
“We didn’t see that script” — Julian’s part! — “until the very last minute,” Dan later vented. “So we didn’t know exactly how they were going to do it” — It wasn't my idea to die in a horribly graphic car accident.
We’re not saying there’s a full-on feud between these two, but we also don’t think they should ever be left alone together. Just imagine the last time Dan said he needed to speak with Julian privately:
Setting: A plush writer’s room lined with old books, rich mahogany, and fine leather. A fire crackles in the hearth. The slight smell of pipe smoke wafts through the air. The door opens, revealing a slightly concerned looking Dan Stevens.
Dan: Julian, may I speak with you?
Julian, absorbed in his papers, looks up, startled.
Julian: Why of course, Dan! Please. Come in, come in.
Dan enters, shutting the door behind him. He crosses the room to awkwardly stand before Julian’s desk, a family heirloom passed down through several generations.
Julian: Sit down, old chap! Why the long face?
Dan: I…well, I don’t really know how to say this, Julian.
Julian: This isn’t about Sybil again is it? I really had no choice. The girl wanted off the show! Such foolishness.
Julian: I mean, really! We’ve got such a good thing going here. Hit period dramas! How often do those come around? Even the Americans love us!
Dan: Speaking of America...
Julian: And now that Mary and Matthew can finally have their happy ending, just think of how pleased everyone will be. This will be the best Christmas ever!
Julian lights his pipe (also an heirloom) and begins merrily puffing away, gazing off, dreaming of Season 4. Dan, now flushed and agitated, begins to panic.
Dan: Really, Julian. I have something to tell you.
Julian, detecting a change in Dan’s voice, stops mid-puff. He looks directly into Dan’s steely blue gaze.
Julian: What is it, Dan?
A moment passes.
Dan: I’m leaving you.