Credit: © Copyright ITV plc 2013

Update:

The Telegraph reports that the renewed contracts are for two, not three, years. Downton executives have not confirmed either way. All the same, we're just happy to hear some main characters will be sticking around for awhile! 

Original story:

After last season’s round of sudden and gory exits from Downton Abbey, we have some residual commitment issues. In a show where leading characters like Matthew “Survived A World War But Can’t Drive To Save My Life” Crawley (Dan Stevens) can bite the dust, is anyone safe?

Short answer: No, but don’t despair. The show’s remaining top players recently signed new three-year deals just as the UK premiere of Season 4 draws near.

Although the contracts are no guarantee the characters will avoid the wrath of Julian Fellowes ink and quill, at least they’re some kind of sign that Downton will be in our lives for the foreseeable future. Just the other day executive producer Gareth Neame hinted at the show’s potential longevity.

Credit: © Copyright ITV plc 2013

The cast members we can count on sticking around include Robert (Hugh Bonneville) and his lady Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) as well as Edith (Laura Carmichael), Tom (Allen Leech), and Mary (Michelle Dockery). Thank goodness we won’t be looking at any orphan storylines for little Sybil and Georgie.

Do note, though, that meme muse Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) didn’t make the public list of contracted talent...oh bloody hell.

A three-year contract is the norm for many British shows, and it’s the end of the actors’ first round of contracts that inspired all those departures last season. Dan headed for America while Jessica Brown Findlay, aka Lady Sybil, aimed for the silver screen and Siobhan Finneran, aka Sarah O'Brien, took a much-needed breather from being pure evil.

We’ll miss you, guys, but to be honest starring at new cast member Tom Cullen as Lord Gillingham making us feel much, much better. Just look into his eyes. Everything is going to turn out alright.

SourcesLondon Evening StandardThe Telegraph

Elisabeth Kramer is an Assistant Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Downton Abbey expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!